Thai yoga massage is a style of bodywork that originated in India over 5000 years ago. It is an ancient healing modality that combines yoga, Buddhism and Ayurvedic philosophies. Monks trained in this massage technique traveled throughout southeast Asia, practicing their healing craft and spreading the tenets of Buddhism. The people of Thailand, then known as Siam, found the work deeply effective for healing the body. The form resonated with them so much, the people of Thailand carried the original methods and theories of the style through into their modern practice of massage.
Thai yoga massage is traditionally done on the ground atop a thick mat and administered through loose fitting, comfortable clothing. The receiver of the bodywork is carried through three-dimensional space by the practitioner in a series of yoga-inspired, passive stretches. Gentle rocking, partnered with deep stretching, rhythmic compression and soft tissue manipulation, works alongside acupressure techniques to help balance a person’s physical and energetic systems.
Thai massage can be described as though yoga were being done to a person rather than by that person – or “lazy man’s yoga,” as Leah refers to it.
The benefits of this healing modality can include increased flexibility and the release of deeply embedded muscle tension, as well as superficial tension. It also has the potential to release blockages within the Sen lines, also known as meridians, which can increase the body’s natural energy flow and promote a meditative mindset.
There are many elements taken into consideration when practicing Thai bodywork. The many facets of yoga, meditation, acupressure, Ayurvedic principles, spatial awareness and body balance are all co-mingled to form a truly multi-dimensional, healing experience.
As a practitioner of Thai yoga massage, Leah trained both in Thailand and locally in Colorado. She now teaches Thai Yoga Massage at the Colorado Institute of Massage Therapy.