Updated 04 March 2013

The healing powers of Thai massage

Is there more to a massage than just an hour or two of relaxation? If you suffer from chronic backache, can a massage aid in your health and wellness regime?

Is there more to a massage than just an hour or two of relaxation? If you suffer from chronic backache can a regular massage aid in your health and wellness regime?

Lauren Marais, spa specialist at Ey Spa in the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town, answers suggests that one of the most beneficial massage treatments is the "Nuad Phaen Thai" or traditional Thai massage.

This massage technique, seen as medicinal in Asia, has been practised for centuries and is widely accepted as a tool for maintaining health and preventing illness.  

Traditional Thai massage uses a combination of yoga-like poses, acupressure, reflexology and gentle stretching to manipulate the body to release tension, stimulate the metabolism, increase blood circulation and rid the body of toxins.

"Traditional Thai Massage focuses on your entire body and the major energy lines called Sen," says Marais. "The Thai massage therapist loosens blockages in these Sen lines, easing muscle tension and improving blood and lymphatic circulation, energising you from top to toe."

During the massage your flexibility is boosted and your body’s joints and tendons relax, which helps prevent joint pain and muscle spasms.

Herbal hot compress

A herbal hot compress is often used in conjunction with a Thai massage. This is a muslin cloth ball filled with plai, tumeric, lemongrass, citrus hystrix and camphor, which is steamed to create the hot compress. As the herbs are absorbed through the skin, the compress has a similar effect to acupuncture and is perfect for those suffering from back pain, migraines, tendinitis, muscle spasms and tension.

"A good Thai massage with a herbal hot compress can also prevent or relieve stress, anxiety, exhaustion and insomnia," says Marais.

As Thai massage does have a healing aspect to it and the entire body is manipulated and moved in different directions you want to make sure that the Thai massage therapists know what they are doing. Do your research; find out where they trained and how long they have been practising. Working with the back and whole body can be a delicate process and you want to make sure you are in capable hands.

For more information on the Thai therapies visit

 - (Ey Spa press release)


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