Thai Massage

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Known in Thailand as นวดแผนโบราณ (Nuat phaen boran, IPA, which
correctly translates only as ancient massage or traditional massage, this form
of massage is also known as Thai ancient massage, traditional Thai massage, Thai
yoga massage, yoga massage, Thai classical massage, Thai bodywork, passive yoga
or assisted yoga. It is usually soothing because of its emphasis on stretching
and loosening the body. Its roots go back far into history, originating in India
based on the Ayurveda, and then becoming popular in ancient Siam, now known as
Thailand.
Originating in India and drawing from Ayurveda, it has inevitably
incorporated modalities like yoga. The receiver is put into many yoga like
positions during the course of the massage. In the northeren style there are a
lot of stretching movements unlike the southern style where pressure is
emphasised. It was believed that the massage art was brought over to Thailand by
Shivago Komarpaj (Jivaka Kumarabhacca), a contemporary of Lord Buddha over 2500
years ago.
The massage recipient changes into loose, comfortable clothes and 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 practitioner leans on the
recipient's body using hands and forearms to apply firm rhythmic pressure to
almost every part of the recipient's body. The massage generally follows the Sen
lines on the body-somewhat analogous to Chinese Meridians and Indian nadis. In
some gestures, legs and feet of the giver are used to fixate the body or limbs
of the recipient. In other gestures, hands fixate the body, while the feet do
the massaging action. Oil is not used in traditional Thai Massage. A full Thai
massage session typically lasts two hours or more, and includes rhythmic
pressing and stretching of the entire body; this may incluce 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.

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