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How Is Thai Massage Holistic?

Thai massage is a holistic therapy that addresses body, mind, emotions, and spirit rather than just targeting specific physical issues.

Holistic is a word often associated with Thai massage therapy. Holistic comes from ‘holos,’ the Greek word for whole, and holistic treatment aims to achieve optimal health and body wellness. A holistic approach to Thai massage targets an individual’s whole being – physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.

Physical – The physical body and its support functions like food, movement/exercise, and air/breath
Emotional – How you react to and feel about what happens to you in life
Mental – Your non-physical functions like intellect, thought patterns, attitudes
Spiritual – Seeing your life as meaningful, connected, permanent, and purposeful

Thai massage combines various techniques such as stretching, acupressure, and energy line work to promote balance and harmony within the body. Thai massage aims to improve overall well-being and create a sense of holistic wellness by working on the body’s energy pathways and releasing tension.

Not all massage sessions are holistic. Some massage practitioners work from the perspective of modern medical science and focus exclusively on physical symptoms. So, if you experience pain and discomfort in a specific body part, they will focus on that, implementing techniques like rubbing and pressing. The treatment eases the discomfort but does not address other aspects that might be causing the pain.

Holistic health and well-being include many elements. Thai massage does more than treat symptoms that manifest through the physical body. It embraces the holistic approach and works on the wellness of the entire system.

Physical

Like any bodywork, Thai Massage techniques work on your physical body. But a Thai massage practitioner also considers how your posture, breathing, nutrition, and exercise habits contribute to your physical well-being. During a treatment, a Thai massage practitioner will ask you questions to help determine the root cause of the problem and inform you that you need to address those issues along with regular massage for long-term relief.

For example, while discussing your lifestyle, if your Thai massage practitioner discovers that you hardly exercise, they will recommend that you follow an exercise routine.

Thai massage practitioners might not be nutritionists, psychologists, or yoga instructors, but they can suggest common-sense solutions to you in all these areas. Without this approach, a practitioner is just working on your symptoms.

Emotional

Traditional Thai Medicine assumes that negative emotions, like hatred, frustration, anger, and dissatisfaction, keep you from reaching your full potential. Sen work in Thai massage stimulates and balances your energy. The combination of acupressure and stretching changes your cell memory and releases tension, old memories, trauma and harmful emotions on a cellular level.

Your Thai massage practitioner can also suggest abdominal massage to release physical and emotional blockages. A congested abdomen blocks your body’s energy and weakens the internal organs, decreasing vitality and energy. An abdominal massage releases both physical and emotional blockages. This treatment can help break up abdominal scar tissue and relieve symptoms of indigestion, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, menstrual cramps, infertility, pent-up emotions, and stress. Thai abdominal massage also assists with the body’s natural detoxification process to promote general health and well-being.

Mental

Traditional Thai Medicine holds that disease can be a reflection and manifestation of underlying thought patterns, attitudes, judgments, rigid ways of thinking, and self-defeating concepts. Through conversation, you can learn what belief may be acting as a roadblock to your health.

During a traditional healing session, a traditional Thai healer would communicate with their client to find the root cause of their problem.
Unfortunately, most Thai massage practitioners do not learn communication skills in basic Thai Massage training, and Western thinking decouples this element from a bodywork treatment. But some practitioners develop these advanced skills through experience.

Spiritual

One of the five branches of Traditional Thai Medicine is Buddhism, but spirituality does not necessarily have to refer to religion or culture. But it is essential to recognize that Thai massage is more than a technical skill. Thai massage comes from a much larger healing system with a wholesome outlook toward life. It is a lifelong pursuit in which an excellent Thai massage practitioner exhibits these qualities and transmits healing energy better.

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