Traditional Thai massage, commonly known by its native name, Nuad Bo-Rarn, has been around for over 2,500 years.
The Thai massage offers a unique experience, particularly to people familiar with the Swedish massage.
Nevertheless, this massage system is highly similar to traditional Chinese medicine, especially considering its focus on improving the flow of energy through the body along the energy lines, called sen in Thai.
What to Expect from a Traditional Thai Massage
- Yoga-Like Movements and Direct Pressure
Unlike its Swedish alternative, traditional Thai massage involves movement, stretching, and application of direct pressure. This form of massage involves you going through yoga-like movements with the assistance of your massage therapist.
Meanwhile the massage therapist applies direct or rhythmic pressure on the muscles.
- Padded Mat Instead of a Massage Table
With the traditional Thai massage, you will lie down on a padded mat on the floor while wearing loose clothing. This differs from some other versions of massage where you lie on a table with barely any clothes on.
Still, it is not out of the ordinary to see a traditional Thai massage therapist choose to use a table. In such cases, you will remain clothed, and the massage therapist will climb on to the table with you.
- No Lotion or Oil Used
The Thai traditional massage does not involve the use of oil or lotion, as is the case with some massage forms. Under this system of massage, the therapists use their hands, forearms, knees, elbows, and even feet to flex the joints and apply pressure to your muscles.
Consequently, this is a considerably more physical form of massage, since it involves the incorporation of yoga poses to open up the joints and promote the flow of energy, sen, through your body to relief tension.
- Many Positions during the Massage Session
Unlike some forms of massage, whereby you assume a few positions throughout the session, the Thai massage will require you to go through several poses.
You will lie on your back, stomach, sides, and even sit on the mat. A truly comprehensive Thai massage will have you go through all these positions to ensure that all muscles are massaged.
This also explains why most Thai massage sessions will last two hours, as opposed to 1-hour massage sessions usually expected with a conventional massage.
- Intensity can be adjusted to Your Physical Abilities
Thai traditional massage is suitable even for people who feel that they may not handle the intensity the massage involves.
Skilled Thai massage therapists are even with people with notable physical limitations. Nevertheless, do not go for a Thai traditional massage if you are recovering from a surgery or have chronic circulatory problems.
The physical intensity of the massage, even at its lowest level, could pose additional health risks to your body.
In general, when you decide to go for a traditional Thai massage, expect to keep your clothes on, go through a more physically demanding form of massage, and spend more time in a single session.
The major difference between the Thai approach and the Swedish approach is that there will be more movement and application of direct pressure on the muscles.
The Swedish version requires more passivity on your part, and involves smooth gliding strokes.
A Thai massage may feel exerting, but once it’s over, you will clearly understand its effectiveness as your body feels gets a refreshing rush of energy. You will definitely be looking forward to your next Thai traditional massage session.