Thai Massage and yoga are part of the same family. About 2500 in the past Thai massage was introduced in Thailand by an Indian physician, a contemporary of Buddha. He brought with him his expertise in yoga and yoga therapy. Therefore the term Thai Yoga Massage is quite appropriate, even though this term is not used at all in Thailand only by western practitioners.
First, yoga failed to make it in Thailand. There is certainly even a kind of Thai yoga in Thailand, but it is not well known and hardly practiced by anyone. And so the Thai Massage arrived combined with the yoga, but the Thai Massage Koh Samui flourished and the yoga disappeared into oblivion. Nowadays you will find quite a number of yoga schools in Thailand’s tourist areas, but almost all of them are run by foreigners for foreign students. Only in recent years hold the Thais started to take a desire for the Indian version of yoga, now there are also yoga schools for Thais.
Why don’t the foreigners and Thais add the schools, you may ask? One reason will be the language barrier, and also the other reason would be that the Thais approach yoga along with life generally speaking in a more relaxed, easy going way, whereas westerners place their yoga practice very seriously. The Thais believe that western yoga courses are more competitive rather than relaxed, social events.
Who popularized Thai massage recently? For thousands of years massage and herbal medicine were standard and effective treatments in Thailand until modern medicine appeared on the scene. At that time Thai bodywork became less popular. It had been resurrected by foreigners who had been fascinated by this excellent healing art. They began to write books about it, they produced videos, and started schools.
The decoupling of Thai Yoga Massage from yoga had led to a degeneration of the caliber of this healing art. Originally it was practiced by monks in temples. In recent decades it often was a thinly disguised come-on for sexual services. However at the same time western therapists started to carry it very seriously as being a massage treatment. They reintroduced yoga principles, and created a huge demand by westerners for Thai massage education and treatments in Thailand. There are countless massage schools in Thailand, virtually all catering exclusively to foreigners.
The Thai government has become building a serious effort to raise the conventional of massage education by putting together training facilities for Thais, licensing therapists and schools, issuing official certificates, and promoting higher standards.
Thai Massage and yoga – the ideal combination. In its basic form, Thai massage is simply a sequence of stretches and pressure points, a mechanical bodywork system. But by adding yoga principles for the massage, it ehitye be elevated to some true healing art. Mindfulness, awareness of one’s own body and the client’s body, working from one’s “hara”, the energetic center right behind the navel, knowledge of one’s breath, conscious channeling of healing energy, as well as an increased sensitivity of touch all greatly increase the quality and effectiveness of the treatment.
Thai massage could be much more than a technique. The mixture of yoga principles with Thai bodywork is not only an ideal combination, however it brings Thai massage back to its roots of yoga. In the end, they may be part of the same family.