Thai Massage and yoga are part of the same family. About 2500 years back Thai massage was introduced in Thailand by an Indian physician, a contemporary of Buddha. He brought with him his knowledge of yoga and yoga therapy. Therefore the term Thai Yoga Massage is very appropriate, even though this term is not used at all in Thailand only by western practitioners.
First, yoga did not make it in Thailand. There is even a form of Thai yoga in Thailand, however it is not well regarded and hardly practiced by anyone. So the Thai Massage arrived combined with the yoga, but the 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 are run by foreigners for foreign students. Only in the recent years have the Thais began to take a desire for the Indian version of yoga, and today in addition there are yoga schools for Thais.
Why don’t the foreigners and Thais add the schools, you may ask? One reason is definitely the language barrier, and also the other reason would be that the Thais approach yoga along with life in general in a more relaxed, easy going way, whereas westerners get their yoga practice very seriously. The Thais feel that western yoga courses are more competitive rather than relaxed, social events.
Who popularized Thai massage recently? For centuries massage and herbal medicine were standard and effective treatments in Thailand until modern medicine appeared on the scene. During that time Thai bodywork became less popular. It absolutely was resurrected by foreigners who had been fascinated with this excellent healing art. They started to write books about it, they produced videos, and started schools.
The decoupling of Thai Yoga Massage from yoga had triggered a degeneration of the standard of this healing art. Originally it was practiced by monks in temples. In recent decades it often became a thinly disguised come-on for sexual services. However at the same time western therapists began to carry it very seriously as being a massage therapy. They reintroduced yoga principles, and developed 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 been making a serious effort to raise the conventional of massage education by establishing training facilities for Thais, licensing therapists and schools, issuing official certificates, and promoting higher standards.
Thai Massage and yoga – the ideal combination. In their basic form, Thai massage is only a sequence of stretches and pressure points, a mechanical bodywork system. But by adding yoga principles towards the massage, it ehitye be elevated to a true healing art. Mindfulness, awareness of one’s own body as well as the client’s body, working from one’s “hara”, the energetic center right behind the navel, understanding 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 combination 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.