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The Therapeutic Power of Thai Massage

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Legend has it that the Buddha’s doctor, Shivago Komarpaj, created Thai Massage in ancient India over 2,500 years ago. Today it’s available around the world, including right here in Austin at Alive + Well, and our expert massage therapists want to set the record straight on common questions we receive from our clients.

What is Thai Massage Therapy?

Thai massage is a relaxing session that cultivates balance and harmony and encourages the flow of energy. The receiver’s body is moved and gently stretched and pressure points are stimulated along the body’s meridians, or energy lines. A Thai massage therapist will use her palms, thumbs, fists, elbows and sometimes feet to knead and manipulate the client’s muscles.

Thai massages usually take place on a large floor mat or can be modified to use a massage table. No oils are used in this style of treatment and the receiver remains fully clothed. Wearing loose, comfortable clothing enables the receiver’s body to move around easily.

This style of massage feels incredible thanks to its ability to relieve stress, stiffness, and tension in the joints and muscles. Thai massage helps open the joints, stretch the tendons, release tension from muscles, tone internal organs and balance the body’s overall energy. The effect is deep relaxation, rejuvenation and a feeling of physical and mental well being.

Massages should be scheduled at least once a month, or weekly for maximum effectiveness.

Can Thai Massage Help You Lose Weight?

Unfortunately, there’s no magic potion for weight loss, but receiving a massage can actually boost your body’s natural metabolism. You can’t simply get a massage and expect the extra pounds to fall off, but, paired with proper diet and exercise, massages can assist weight loss by:

* Reducing cortisol hormone levels that contribute to a larger appetite and the accumulation of belly fat

* Supporting the digestive and excretory systems to release excess toxins

* Lowering stress levels by calming the body and mind

* Improving lymphatic circulation to supply the organs and muscles with an abundance of nutrients

* Reducing the appearance of cellulite

Does Thai Massage Help Relieve Back Pain?

Thai massage is a way to deal with chronic pain, and it can offer short-term pain relief in some people, as well. Thai massage has been shown to be an effective alternative intervention for people with scapulocostal syndrome, a painful condition affecting the back of the shoulder blade because it helps reduce pain intensity, pain threshold, and muscular tension.

Studies even suggest that patients suffering from back pain associated with myofascial trigger points (the connective tissue that holds us together) should consider receiving Thai massages as an alternative primary health care treatment.

Should A Thai Massage Hurt?

During the massage, you will be pulled, stretched, and rocked at the hands of your Thai massage therapist. They will their thumbs, elbows, and knees. Some masseuses might even walk on you.

Thai massage therapy may sometimes feel intense or unpleasant. The therapist will adjust the intensity of the session based on each individual’s size, age, and condition. Due to the nature of Thai massages, it’s important to have good rapport and communication with your practitioner so that they will use an appropriate amount of pressure that is tolerable and will not cause lasting pain.

Although Thai Massage offers many benefits for many people, it is not recommended for cancer patients, pregnant women, or anyone with a back injury like a herniated disk.

Want to experience a Thai Massage therapy session for yourself? Make an appointment to start enjoying the benefits of this excellent healing technique!

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Cindy Nilson DOM, LAc

Acupuncturist