As its name suggests, Thai Yoga massage incorporates a variety of therapeutic techniques to balance the patient’s body and mind. It combines components of Yoga, Ayurveda, chiropractic, reflexology, energy healing, meditation, and physiotherapy. Jivaka Kumar Baccha developed this practice over 2500 years ago, during the time of Buddha. A physician to Buddhist nuns and monks, he became known in Thailand as “the Father of Medicine.” Baccha’s massage techniques are often practiced in Buddhist temples, only recently spreading outside that community as an alternative medicinal practice.
The basic principle undergirding Thai Yoga massage is that people have interrelated spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical networks of energy. These networks are always in flux and energy can become blocked due to physical or emotional trauma, which can cause discomfort or illness. Thai Yoga massage works to balance these energy systems, comprised of 10 primary meridians, or “Sen.”
To improve the flow of energy, a Thai Yoga massage therapist works with clients on a mat for between one and two hours. During the session, the practitioner rocks, strokes, twists, and applies pressure to the patient’s body. He or she also assists the client with Yoga stretches. The entire practice is done in a calm, silent, meditative state. As the practitioner leads the session and responds to the patient, the two engage in a sort of slow, graceful dance.
Thai Yoga massage can help any patient who feels unbalanced or wants to experience a more peaceful, rejuvenated life. This practice is mainly preventive, meant to fortify the body against disease and release energy blockages. However, Thai Yoga massage can function as part of a treatment plan for more specific issues, such as headaches, digestive problems, menstruation pain, insomnia, and stress. As a massage therapy, it also benefits patients with back, shoulder, neck, and joint tension or pain.