Experiencing a massage that utilises techniques performed for over 2000 years, is enjoying the result of a tradition that has worked wonders on people’s bodies for as many years. A traditional Thai massage is an experience aimed at allowing the body to achieve harmony, ease aches and pains, stretch the body and provide general wellbeing. It is surprisingly different from any Western type of massage and that adds to the allure of the treatment.
Thai massage therapist Artita at the Grand Hotel Excelsior Malta’s Le Grand Spa
provides first-hand information about it all. She trained at one of the leading schools of Thai massage in her country – the Chetawa Medical Massage School in Nonthaburi, Thailand. “It is believed that the traditional Thai massage could be as old as 2500 years since it is owed to the inventiveness of Bhivogamaraphajj who is considered the father doctor of this type of massage. He lived in the period of time when the Buddhist religion was founded and is credited as having been the physician of Buddhist monks and kings of the period.”
From a regal treatment, it became known throughout Thai civilisation down to becoming a treatment practically everbody learnt how to do hands on. “Family members taught it to each other as it was excellent relief for farmers’ aches and pains. Somebody from the family could relieve the pain by a simple movement and the massage movements remained popular as they were easy to administer once the proper method was known. Moreover, no expensive oils are required – only clean bare hands.”
The general feel of wellbeing provided by this massage is aided by the dimmed lights, the soothing music and the sound of water which is a key element in the room. However, those who expect to just lie down and enjoy it, possibly also dozing away, will soon realise that the therapist will require cooperation and a certain degree of flexibility. The stretching movements carried out by the therapist are coupled by deep tissue treatments and other movements. The treatment is administered on a normal mattress laid out on the floor. The client is propped up when required by normal pillows and the therapist sits and squats next to the client according to the treatment movement or stretch being carried out. Lying face up, face down or on either side, the client is allowed to relax and flex muscles according to the therapist’s motions. One minute she is diligently manipulating a foot muscle, the next she is stretching the whole leg from top to bottom.
Thai massage is all about getting you back in shape as soon as possible, not getting you all soft and soppy and drowsy. The aim is to resuscitate you and your body, restoring the body to its most energetic form.