Thai massage is often referred to as “applied yoga” due to its incorporation of stretches similar to those found in yoga. While yoga can be practiced independently, Thai massage is done by a therapist to a client. The main difference between the two is that yoga requires education, knowledge, skill and experience to practice, while those who receive Thai massage need not know anything about it and can still experience many of the benefits. The Thai massage experience integrates a physical experience with an energetic one, just like yoga asanas.
During a session, the recipient may be able to adopt positions that exceed their flexibility limits, making it a great option for those who don't have the ability or inclination to practice yoga. The breathing rate is also very important during a Thai massage and can help both the recipient and the massage therapist enter a meditative state of mind. Thai massage benefits from the practice of yoga, because it is an active way of moving the body and includes meditation and pranayama to balance the body, mind and spirit. To help balance the body's energies, the basic principle of Thai massage is to start from the extremities of the body (laterally), go to the center of the body (medially) and then return to the extremities. Regular Thai massage also has great benefits similar to yoga. Yoga and Thai massages complement each other very well, so it's very useful to combine them and take advantage of each other.
There are also highly qualified Thai massage therapists who have a high degree of intuition and remarkable healing powers. Thai massage is usually done on the floor lying on a mat, with a specially trained masseur guiding you through yoga poses and stretches as a couple. The therapist will use their hands, fingers, elbows, feet, and even their entire body weight to manipulate your body during a session. Asian massage therapy focuses on the concept of energy flow, while its Western counterparts tend to be more clinically oriented. Unlike typical Western-style massages, Thai massage is different from lying on a massage table while a massage therapist kneads muscles and attends to pressure points.
The last two of the Asian healing systems mentioned above are the ones that most influenced Thai massage. Combining Thai massage with yoga can be incredibly beneficial for both practices. Yoga can benefit from the benefits of massage and vice versa, although neither can replace the other. It's important to note that while Thai massage incorporates elements of yoga, it doesn't make much sense to use it without taking into account the principles of yoga.