How is Thai Massage different?
Thai Massage is somewhat like yoga and massage combined. The receiver is put into yoga-like positions and in the northern style there are a lot of stretching movements whereas the southern style emphasis is given to acupressure.
The massage recipient lies on a mat or firm mattress on the floor. (It can be done solo or in a group of a dozen or so patients in the same large room.) The massage giver leans on the recipient’s body using hands and forearms to apply firm rhythmic pressure to almost every part of the receiver’s body. The massage generally follows the Sen Energy lines on the body (the Sen are comparable to Chinese meridians).
In some gestures, the legs and feet of the giver are used to hold the body or limbs of the recipient. In other gestures, hands hold the body, while the feet do the massaging action. Usually no oil is applied, but sometimes a hot herbal compress is used to warm and sooth the receiver’s body.
A full course of Thai massage typically lasts two hours or more, and includes pulling fingers, toes, ears etc., cracking the knuckles, walking on the recipient’s back, arching the recipient’s back in a rolling action etc. There is a standard procedure and rhythm to the massage. Sometimes in a large group massage, the practitioners do the procedures in unison.