I’m a sucker for a soothing massage to ease aches and pains, increase flexibility, and straighten out body parts that are out of whack. If I could get one every week I would. I especially love traditional Asian massage because their practices have been around for thousands of years and work wonders on the body, especially if you’re over 50.
Thai massage is a particular favorite. It became so popular they moved into a huge building in Echo Park much farther away. The therapists (women) come from Thailand and speak little English. Once you check in, you’re asked to take off your shoes, put on cotton pajamas, and lie down on floor mats.
The therapist typically walks or crawls on your back. She hangs onto fixtures on the ceiling so she won’t fall off the table or step in the wrong place. She’ll ask what degree of pressure you prefer and will gladly accommodate you. Many Thai massage studios also use regular massage tables. I always leave my underwear on because Thai massage is a combination of massage and yoga stretches. Having my legs up in the air with no panties is more than my modesty will allow.
Thai massage is designed to open up your energy lines. The therapist applies pressure to strategic points on your body and frees that energy by stretching you out with yoga moves. You’ll find it reduces stress, improves well-being, increases circulation, and improves flexibility.
History of Thai Massage
Found on the Pho-Siam Thai Spa website: (this is an amazing place in Echo Park, near Downtown Los Angeles if you’re in the area)
Traditional Thai Massage, also called “Thai Yoga Therapy,” Nuad phaen boran or Nuat Thai, is a therapeutic technique that dates back thousands of years. Its precise origins are unknown, but practitioners traditionally trace their lineage to Jivaka Komarabhacca, also known as Shivago, who was a personal physician to the Sangha, a friend, and physician to the Buddha and renowned as a healer in the Buddhist tradition.
Traditional Thai medicine is a natural, holistic approach to health and well-being, developed over thousands of years, which includes proper nutrition, physical exercise, the use of medicinal herbs and therapeutic massage. Traditional Thai medicine is not only concerned with curing diseases and ailments: its primary goal is maintaining health and well-being, as ancient Thais believed that “the absence of illness is the best blessing”. The medical knowledge developed by Thai people through many generations has come to be known as the ancient wisdom of Thailand.
Diagrams inscribed on the walls at the temple of Wat Po in Bangkok illustrate one of the fundamental principles of traditional Thai medicine: that energy flows through the body along ten major channels or sen lines. If an obstruction occurs in any of these channels it is believed that pain or disease results. In this sense, traditional Thai medicine is similar to many other ancient healing systems, that believe illnesses are caused by an imbalance or obstruction within the individual, or by an imbalance between an individual and his environment.”
Massage helps improve your overall health
When your energy is flowing freely, it helps you maintain a healthier weight, lowers blood sugar levels, and reverses the onset of type 2 diabetes. Your circulation will improve and more oxygen will flow to your brain. It also reduces migraine pain and lowers the chance of blood clotting.
Energy centers in the body are invisible and aren’t recognized as viable in traditional Western medicine. However, Asian massage practitioners believe that energy circulates throughout the body. If energy becomes blocked you may experience pain, sickness, and emotional distress.
Other Asian Massage Modalities
Asian massage techniques help your “chi” energy flow more freely. Chinese foot massage focuses on acupressure centers on your feet. It’s become extremely popular here in Los Angeles. It seems as though there’s an inexpensive Chinese foot massage parlor on almost every corner. You have to be careful to choose a reputable place, but so far the ones I’ve been to have been wonderful.
My daughter and I once visited a popular Korean spa in downtown Los Angeles called Wi Spa. I had a foot massage and manicure. My daughter had a regular massage. Koreans bring their entire families to sit in hot saunas, lie on heated floors and receive treatments. Some spend all day there.
I experience culture shock at their women’s spa. All the ladies were prancing around buck naked without a hint of modesty. Nudity isn’t a big deal in Korean culture like it is in America. They were helping each other bath and scrubbing their backs. Most were in the 90 lb range so I wasn’t about to show off my blubber in front of them. We had been given a “uniform” of shorts and a cute tee shirt at reception to wear and we kept them on the entire time.
Massage in any form whether it’s Asian massage, Swedish, other modalities and self-massage is an effective way to keep your blood flowing and stay healthy. Human touch is life-giving and healing if you’re open to receiving it.
Have you had a massage lately? What style do you prefer and why? Please leave a comment below.