One of the things every visitor to Thailand should try is have a Thai massage. Especially after a long flight being tired and with muscles strained, a good massage will greatly improve feelings of wellbeing and relaxation.
Learning Thai massage by taking a course while visiting Thailand is a great way to give others the benefits of Thai massage or taking up a new profession back home.
A Thai massage covers the whole body from the toes to the head. The person receiving the massage is fully clothed, comfortable and loose clothing to change into will be available at the massage shop.
A good Thai massage will involve a lot of stretching and applying pressure on the body. How much force is used depends on the preferences of the person receiving the massage and on the strength of the muscles. The person giving the massage uses not just the hands, but also feet, legs, elbows and knees to perform the massage.
Health benefits of Thai massage
Thai massage has been practiced for many centuries because of the positive effects it has on both physical and mental health.
Some of the reported benefits include:
- Improves relaxation and reduces stress
- Relaxes the muscles and brings release of muscular pain
- Improves blood circulation
- Improves posture
- Increases flexibility of the muscles
- Increases energy
- Improves mental wellbeing
History of Thai massage
Thai massage is believed to go back as far as 2,500 years. In Thailand medicine as well as massage was practiced and taught in Buddhist temples. It were the monks who documented knowledge about medicine and massage.
A wealth of information about massage and medicine was documented during the era of the Ayutthaya Kingdom. Unfortunately, a lot of it was lost during the destruction of Ayutthaya by the Burmese in 1767.
The knowledge that survived was inscribed on stone tablets by order of King Rama III during the first half of the 19th century. More than 1,400 tablets were inscribed with knowledge in different fields, many of which about medicine, massage and Yoga. The stone tablets are now kept at the Wat Pho temple in Bangkok.
Thai massage classes in Thailand
Today, the centre of traditional Thai massage is the Wat Pho in Bangkok, which is also known as the birth place of traditional Thai massage. Although there are many schools across Thailand, the Thai Traditional Massage School of the Wat Pho with its long history of knowledge of massage and medicine seems the obvious school to choose.
The Thai Traditional Massage classes offered here are open to anyone, including foreign tourists. The basic General Thai Massage course takes 30 hours spread over 5 consecutive days, the fee is 9,500 Thai Baht. A massage style known as the Wat Pho style is taught here, which aims to promote relaxation, reduce muscle pain and tension, promote blood circulation and increase flexibility of the muscles among others.
For those who want to learn more after complete the course, there are several other courses offered like foot massage and facial massage.
If you are staying outside of Bangkok, there are schools in other parts of the country including Chiang Mai, that offer various massage classes and courses at various levels of skill and experience.