The Difference Between Thai Massage and Thai Yoga Massage

Thai yoga massage is a term that has been coined by Western practitioners to refer to Thai massage. This type of massage is a combination of physical and energetic experience, similar to yoga asanas. It is sometimes referred to as “Lazy Man’s Yoga” because it requires enough stretching for the recipient to experience muscle relaxation and lengthening, without the effort of an hour-long yoga class. The traditional Thai yoga therapy that most people are exposed to is called ráksãa thaang nûat (healing massage treatment).

This type of massage incorporates elements of energy and Prana evaluation, mindfulness, gentle swinging, positional release of Asana, deep stretching, focused breathing or Prana Yama, chakra balance, Prana Nadi or Sen align balance and rhythmic compression. It is becoming increasingly popular among Thais for relaxation and disease prevention. In the West, massage usually refers to systems derived from Swedish massage and massage therapy. However, Thai massage is part of a family of massages and body and energy manipulations for healing from Asia.

During a session, the recipient is guided to adopt passive yoga poses that link breathing with movement to stretch muscles, compress and decompress joints, and increase range of motion. Western yoga practitioners are particularly attracted to Nuat Thai and have even called it “Lazy Man’s Yoga”. In Thailand, it's not uncommon to see Thai massage schools in Buddhist monasteries that offer training in this ancient form of healing. The recorded history of Thai massage dates back to 2,500 years ago in India when it was developed by Jivaka Kumar Bhaccha, Buddha's doctor.

Since then, it has been passed down through generations as a healing practice. Whether you practice yoga asanas or not, you'll appreciate how this “yoga for lazy men” will improve your flexibility and muscle tone due to the various positions in which the Thai masseuse will place you. For example, in some cases, a Thai masseuse stands on the client's back and uses flexible feet instead of stiff forearms to knead the back muscles.

Dora Peckens
Dora Peckens

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