Thai yoga massage suitable for all ages and body types
by D. Daley
People generally get a massage to ease muscle aches and pain. Releasing “knots,” as well as general tension, due to immobility or a buildup of scar tissue, is incredibly relaxing. Beyond the more obvious physical benefits, there are emotional, and energetic gains, to be had as well.
Thai Massage is a modality that is relatively new in the western hemisphere, but its popularity is growing, particularly among an aging population. Unlike Swedish massage, Thai Massage treatments are performed on padded mats on the ground, rather than on a table. Recipients are fully clothed. And, no scents, lotions or oils are used. That means that you don’t have to worry about sensitivity to lubricants, or concerns about climbing, falling or embarrassing slips of the cover. For many, the elimination of these elements eases anxieties associated with traditional massages.
Understood among contemporary Thai Massage practitioners, is the importance of customizing treatments to the needs of the receiver – guaranteeing that no two experiences are the same. The practitioner will note any restrictions, discuss particular injuries or conditions, and tailor the treatment accordingly. Beyond verbal communication, a guiding principle that qualified practitioners follow, is intuition. In addition to an extensive understanding of human physiology and its functional differences from one person to the next, they are attentive to sensing cues – energetic, visual, auditory and tactile.
COMFORT AND EASE
Considering the importance of customization, there are many ways that a Thai Massage treatment can address the changing needs of the mature body. Lying in one position (on your front or back) for an entire massage session, may cause discomfort, and can restrict breathing. Joints and bony protrusions (particularly along the spine and surrounding the mechanics of the hips) cannot withstand certain positions for prolonged lengths of time. With Thai Massage, clients are guided onto their sides, and props like pillows, blankets and bolsters are used to help alleviate discomfort – creating a completely relaxed and pleasurable experience.
BEYOND THE MASSAGE
In addition to massage and muscle manipulation, Thai Massage targets joint stretch and mobility. When you take that big stretch in the morning, it feels so good because muscles and ligaments are parched from inactivity, and need to be rid of their toxins. Thai Massage encourages the lasting effects of stretching. With the practitioner as your guide, your body has the opportunity to settle into deeper stretches, and a greater range of motion, that cannot be attained otherwise. These movements also encourage blood flow and release blockages in the body.
Massage need not be inaccessible to those who are feeling vulnerable. Thai Massage is a more holistic way to receive the benefits of massage, stretch and movement practices, and is suitable for all ages and body types.
|D. Daley of SENse Wellness Thai Yoga Therapy in Toronto, is a licensed Holistic Practitioner, and a member of the International Association of Thai Massage.