What is known in the West as Thai massage is not massage at all, but rather an ancient energy-based healing system that combines acupressure, reflexology, and assisted yoga postures. Treatment effects are enhanced when the patient is fully relaxed and breathing deeply. This traditional healing practice, called Nuad or Nuad Boran in the Thai language, stands in sharp contrast to western massage therapies.
Traditional Thai massage uses no oils or lotions, and the recipient remains clothed during a treatment. There is constant body contact between the practitioner and client, but rather than rubbing on muscles, the body is compressed, pulled, stretched and rocked in order to clear energy blockages and relieve tension. The practitioner uses thumbs, palms, forearms, elbows, knees and feet to create a dance of movement on the body of the recipient. In this process, joints are opened, muscles and tendons are stretched, internal organs are toned, and energy is balanced. The overall effect is one of deep relaxation, rejuvenation, and physical and mental well being.
Nuad Boran (known in various forms as Thai massage, Thai Yoga Massage, and other terms) began to evolve in Thailand over 2,000 years ago. Based on healing principles similar to those utilized in other non-western healing therapies, the Thai system focuses on circulation of vital energy in major pathways called sen. The major energy lines are manipulated, and important pressure points along these pathways are stimulated to help break down blockages, stimulate energy flow and restore balance and harmony.
Identifying features of traditional Thai massage are integrated yoga postures which are performed on the recipient. Through assisted yoga, the body is stretched in ways that are difficult to attain through individual exercise and yoga practice. The result of a full-body Thai treatment is often an exciting and powerful mind/body healing experience, bringing both the recipient and the practitioner to heightened states of physical and spiritual well-being.
- Excerpt from the Thai Healing Alliance