by Fiana Anderson
Thai massage is an ancient healing art form, and is no doubt a unique experience. It delivers a deeply meditative and relaxing massage through an intelligent
sequencing of palm, thumb and knee presses, stretches, and much, much more. Not to mention that it is unequivocally one of the best therapeutic massages for yoga practitioners.
Thai massage is done on a mat, on the floor, with loose clothes on. A series of deep and rhythmic pressure is applied to the body, along what are called “sen” lines in the body. These lines, especially in the body of a yoga practitioner and particularly one who sits for meditation, tend to accumulate static tension or lactic acid. This stagnation is relieved and largely released through this massage.
Lactic Acid is built up through rigorous exercise. According to WebMD, when you cross the lactate threshold, the activity rapidly becomes much more difficult and unpleasant. Muscles ache, burn, and become fatigued; the heart pounds; and you feel starved for air. These symptoms increase if you continue to exercise above the lactate threshold, and, in a brief time, you may be physically unable to exercise any longer at that intensity.* This is why massage is a great tool for yogis and athletes looking to detox their systems of lactic acid.
The benefits of Thai Massage are simply innumerable, and include improved flexibility, relief from anxiety and emotional tension, detoxification, boosting the immune system, increased blood circulation, lower blood pressure, improved breathing, posture, balance, corrected body alignment, dissolving energy blockages, relieving arthritis and back pain, toning the body, strengthening joints and can even relieve chronic joint pain.
Thai massage actually slows the aging process.
Furthermore, this modality is an awakening and engaging experience. There is no ‘zoning’ out in this massage, and although you may experience euphoric and elated sensations, you are always aware of your surroundings and present in your environment.
Thai massage given by a conscious practitioner or partner is a deep form of meditation for both parties. You feel a deep sense of release and often, a sedative quality overtakes the body. Indian, Chinese and Southeast Asian cultural spheres of medicine have influenced this healing modality.
*[American Thoracic Society. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, May 15, 2003. McPherson, R. Henry’s Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods, 22nd ed., Saunders, 2011. eMedicine: “Lactic Acidosis.”]
Fiana came to work for Namaste Yoga through sheer love and passion for the yoga community. She moved to the East Bay last year to study classical, medical Ayurveda at Vedika Global. She spent two years studying in India and has over 1,500 hours of combined education and training in yoga, massage and Ayurveda.