Thai massage, or yogassage, is a form of massage in which the therapist manipulates the body into a series of yogalike poses. Unlike many forms of massage, Thai massage is done with the patient fully clothed, usually on an exercise mat on the floor.
The benefits of yoga and massage
Traditional yoga exercise focuses on improving breathing, is gentle on the joints, tones muscles and improves posture. Massage therapy improves circulation and reduces tension. Massage techniques include the gentle touch of a Swedish massage, the deep-tissue massage of Shiatsu, and more vigorous forms of massage, such as sports massage, Thai massage or yogassage.
A Thai massage session is akin to yoga without any of the work. Your therapist will use her hands, feet, knees and other body parts to manipulate your body into yoga poses, so expect some degree of manhandling. Yogassage involves acupressure, muscle compression and joint mobilization. It should be both invigorating and relaxing. If you feel discomfort at any point, let your therapist know immediately.
Thai massage can be used to relax and reduce stress, to center the mind and body and to increase energy. However it is particularly good for improving circulation, for increasing the range of motion in stiff and sore joints, and for improving overall flexibility. You should always ensure that your therapist is suitably trained. If you are considering yogassage while pregnant, check that the therapist is certified for pregnancy massage.
Who should avoid Thai massage?
In addition to pregnant women, anyone who has had recent surgery, chemotherapy or radiation therapy or who has heart disease or a tendency toward blood clotting should always check with his or her doctor before undergoing any form of treatment. All forms of massage should also be avoided if you have any kind of skin rash or infectious skin disease, open or unhealed wounds, bruises, recent fractures or internal injuries of any kind, hernias or tumors. Before your therapist begins your first massage, she should know your full medical history so she can decide whether yogassage is appropriate.