Please briefly tell us about the history of Thai massage. How ancient is it? Thai massage was a common practice in the Thai Royal Palace centuries ago. It was a treatment enjoyed by the privileged few such as members of the royal family and the aristocrats. The first evidence of Thai massage was found on a stone inscription which dates back to the 13th century AD. This stone inscription contains drawings of massage techniques and some descriptions on how to do massage. That means Thai massage has been in our history and culture for at least 600 years. It could be as old as our alphabets. Please tell us some benefits of Thai massage. What are the purposes for which Thai massage is performed? The benefits of Thai massage according to the medical research are relieving muscle stiffness, healing body pain, stimulating nervous system, enhancing respiratory system, and increasing blood circulation, and of course relaxation. Thai massage is widely practiced in leading hospitals in Thailand as a part of physiotherapy and therapeutic treatment. For example, if (God forbid) you had a serious car accident and one of your legs was broken, you would be sent to a hospital to undergo a series of medical procedures. And then you will be sent to a patient recovery center where you will receive physiotherapy and Thai massage would be included as a part of this treatment to help your body recover. Apart from the application of Thai massage in the hospital, we also take massage for relaxation in our daily life. For example, after having worked in your office for 8 hours in front of your computer, you would feel pain in your neck and shoulders. You could go to a massage center down the road and take massage for 1½ hours to ease tension in your muscles and relax your mind. Must Thai massage be performed by a specialist or anybody can do it? The ones who perform Thai massage have to be specialists. They have to take Thai massage courses up to 800 hours to study human anatomy, possible causes of pain in specific areas of human body, and how to cure it. After finishing all the courses, they will have to take a 1-year internship where they will be getting hands-on experience from real patients and real cases under strict supervision of medical specialists. And finally after all the hard work, they will be granted a massage license certified by the government of Thailand. This license is recognized worldwide and it’s a key to their career path as professional Thai massage therapists. Are the methods used in Thai massage today the same as those used in the ancient times or Have there been new methods introduced? The Thai traditional massage with all the stretches and pressure point pressing hasn’t changed much throughout the history. However, after a series of medical research, we have come up with new treatments such as sports massage, aromatherapy, hot stone massage, and so on. So I would say that we have kept the good things from the past and have developed the new things as a result of the medical research. Then, we combine them together How frequently should a person take Thai massage? And for how long or how many sessions would it take in order to cure pain and muscle stiffness? Actually, it depends on the person and the symptoms. If your muscles are very stiff or you have persistent body pain, you should do it once or even twice a week. It does no harm to your body. You can do it frequently. But, I would recommend you to take a massage once a month in general to relax your muscles. Your massage therapist will advise you when to come back and how many sessions may be needed. Is there an age restriction on Thai massage? Until what age can a person take a massage? Actually, there is no age restriction on Thai massage. It can be applied to a person of any age. I would say that the older you get, the more often you should take a massage because your muscles tend to get stiff and sore easily. You have brought a lot of herbs to the studio today. So is there any specific purpose of using herbs in Thai massage? We use a lot of herbs in Thai massage. And these herbs have various kinds of medicinal effects to human body. All of these? Yes It smells nice. For example,
Bergamot helps reduce dizziness Turmeric, Lemon grass, and Plai help reduce pain in muscles and tissues and heal bruises and wounds Tamarind leaves help reduce skin allergy Camphor helps enhance respiratory system and blood circulation. In my country, these herbs grow everywhere. So we collect them from the garden. Then we let them dry in the sun for a few days. Then we ground and mix them all together. And put the mixture in an herb ball. Before using it, we heat it up in a steamer to make it warm and moist. Then we compress it onto the areas of pain and bruises in coordination with Thai massage to increase its effectiveness. Apart from the herbs, we do make natural body scrub mixtures. Thai body scrub is similar to Moroccan Hammam. But instead of using soap and sponge, we use a natural scrub mixture made from tamarind, honey, milk, salt, and herbs. We scrub this mixture on our skin to get rid of dead skin cells, dirt, and oil. After a body scrub treatment, you would feel that your skin is soft, smooth, moisturized, and healthy.