Thai massage is an ancient healing technique that has been practised for over 2500 years. It was developed as a therapeutic method of healing to treat illness and maintain health and wellbeing.

It focuses on achieving a state of deep relaxation of mind and body by using rhythmic rocking, stretching and pressure point techniques. These techniques are used throughout the treatment to restore energy while producing an experience of profound calmness. It is the combination of energetic and physical techniques that makes Thai Massage unique and so effective. Thai Massage is a full-body treatment, starting from the feet and progressing up to the head.

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Improved mental wellbeing – Thai Massage can improve mental energy and reduce muscle pain. A study showed significant improvement in the three outcome measures: self-rated health, mental energy and muscle pain only in the Thai Massage group compared to a group that only did relaxation techniques. Massage is said to increase delta wave frequency and decrease alpha and beta waves in our brains. This suggests a relaxation response, as the delta wave frequency is associated with deep rest and sleep.

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Decreased stress levels – Thai Massage can calm the mind and body, therefore minimising the production of cortisol, the stress hormone, and reducing muscle tension. A recent study concluded that Traditional Thai Massage decreases psychological stress, boosting serotonin levels and reducing cortisol.

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Decrease in muscle tension and pain  especially upper back pain – Traditional Thai Massage can benefit people with back pain. A study showed that Traditional Thai Massage produced decreases in EMG, muscle tension and pain intensity after the end of treatment session (p<0.05), thus concluding Thai Massage can increase physical relaxation and reduce pain in patients with upper back pain.

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As a behavioural treatment for autistic children – The findings of a 2009 study has shown that Traditional Thai massage provides some degree of improvement to stereotypical behaviours in autistic children. Research in this area has noted that massage will result in fewer displays of self-stimulating behaviours, better sleep patterns, improved receptivity to touch and less aggressive behaviour thus making the child more self-aware and relaxed.

Traditional Thai Massage stimulates blood circulation, improving oxygen and nutrient supply to all body tissues. It also promotes the elimination waste products via the lymphatic system. The increased circulation to the brain reportedly decreases the frequency of migraines and headaches. Thai massage is often applied as a complementary therapy in the treatment of foot sensation in diabetic patients with peripheral neuropathy. It is also known to improve balance performance in athletes. All round, this traditional therapy has a proven record for optimising general health.

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Kirsten Sweeney

Author Kirsten Sweeney

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