If you have never experienced a Traditional Thai Massage, you may not know that it involves a series of stretches. While the traditional ancient technique would involve a rather complex massage sequence lasting three hours or more, modern life requires an efficient way to stretch the body and deliver tangible benefits within an hour’s treatment.
It is important to note that each therapist will tailor a Thai massage treatment according to the client’s individual needs: this means that it is very likely that no two treatments will be exactly the same.
Here are a few types of stretches that feature in a Traditional Thai Massage treatment, alongside pressure points and tissue manipulation. Before the treatment starts, the therapist assesses the client’s levels of fitness, flexibility and general health. This ensures that the treatment is perfectly suited to the client. The treatment is done on a futon on the floor and the aim is to work on the client’s back, shoulders, arms and legs to release tension. The movements are fluid, slow and controlled, putting the client in a pleasant meditative, relaxed state.
In Traditional Thai Massage, the therapist will work with the client to increase muscle flexibility and achieve a sense of relaxation and well-being. The spine and leg stretch will start with the client laying on her back and with her legs up at 90 degrees, keeping the knees slightly bent. The client will support the back of her knees with her hands. The therapist, facing the client, will stretch the client’s legs first by holding her ankles and slowly pushing the legs forward, with the feet going in the direction of the client’s face. The stretch then continues to the spine, with the therapist gently pushing the legs forward to release the back away from the floor, working with the client to ensure the stretch feels comfortable and effective.
The client lies on her back with her legs bent at the knees facing upwards and the feet resting on the floor. The therapist sits opposite the client. The therapist sits in a squat position and will ask the client to place her feet on the therapist’s thighs. The client slowly lifts her back off the floor but keeping the shoulders in contact with the floor. The therapist then leans slightly backwards to increase the stretch gradually, encouraging the client to breathe and relax into the stretch.
If you have ever practised yoga, you might be familiar with the spinal twist.
The client lies on her back with her arms on the floor open to the sides at shoulder height. The therapist then asks the client to keep one leg straight and bend the other leg, crossing it over the straight leg. The therapist will place one hand on the client’s bent leg and the other hand on the opposing shoulder (for example, right leg and left shoulder), pressing gently to increase the stretch and range of motion, slowly twisting the spine. The therapist will then proceed with the other leg and shoulder to twist in the opposite direction.
In this type of stretch the aim is to allow the bent knee to touch the floor in the opposite direction of the shoulder being stretched. How far towards the ground the knee will go will depend on the client’s flexibility.
You will probably recognise the full back stretch from pictures in Thai massage brochures.
The client lies face down on the futon, with her arms alongside her body. There will be pillows for extra comfort. The therapist will use her body weight to perform the stretch. In a kneeling position, with her legs resting on top of the client’s legs, the therapist will hold the client’s arms and lean backwards, allowing the client’s torso to peel off the floor and stretch, like a bow.
A Traditional Thai Massage will feature many stretches, with each stretch designed to release tension and increase the range of motion according to the client’s current situation. Our professional therapists at Thai Kosai are experts at choosing the right stretch for each situation, delivering a completely personalised treatment.