Around the World with DAYSPA: Thai Massage

girl receiving thai massage
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Called Thai massage, Thai yoga massage, nuad phaen boran, nuad bo-rarn or nuad Thai, this ancient healing tradition is believed to have been developed in Thailand between 800 and 1200 A.D. An integral aspect of the system known as Traditional Thai Medicine (which addresses energy, body and spirit), Thai massage technique has been used over the centuries to address everything from emotional issues to the common cold to cancer. As an option on a spa menu it not only offers guests rehabilitation and rejuvenation, but a unique experience they are unlikely to forget.

There are several styles of Thai massage but most are performed on a mat on the floor with the recipient remaining clothed. The therapist employs his or her whole body in the treatment, using fingers, palms and feet, and sometimes elbows and knees. “Thai massage began in households,” explains David Roylance, executive director at the Thai Institute of Healing Arts in Arlington, Virginia. “Workers in the fields taught their children how to massage them at night so they could get up and work the next day. Those children taught their children and so on.”

Using a combination of touch styles, point pressure, energy healing, muscle compression and extensive assisted stretching, Thai massage works on the recipient’s entire body. Spas offering the treatment don’t find it hard to sell to clients. “We suggest it to people with pain or stiffness or trouble with range of motion. It can be a little like Pilates and yoga. My male athlete clients love it because they need the stretching, and it’s a way we can do that for them,” says Tracy Whynot, licensed acupuncturist and co-owner of Place 360 Health + Spa in Del Mar, California. “And it’s great for clients who are hesitant to get undressed or who don’t like oils and lotions.”