A Thai massage in an experience like no other massage. Many who are quite accustomed to muscle-manipulation or oil-based relaxation massages, and even those who are used to energy work, find Thai massage to be “quite different”. I wonder if I fell in love with this work because it did remind me so much of what I experience when I practice yoga. Through breath and movement, non-judgmental presence and listening, there is an internal space we can occupy where we re-center and remember ourselves.
In it’s physical expression, we use a combination of static compression, dynamic movement and passive stretching to remove stagnation in the body by assisting our vital energy, our prana, to move more freely. We then feel happier, more at peace and accepting of ourselves. But beyond the physical, Thai massage is an exchange of metta, meaning loving-kindness in Pali. With metta, the massage becomes a meditation in movement, where there is awareness and compassion with what is there in the moment. No fixing.
In this way, we work with the physical body to hear and understand the suffering behind our ailments. Or, we become present with the pain behind our suffering. The body reflects what is happening in the other 5 layers of the Self (the koshas). These are our mental, emotional and other energetic states that are more subtle and are not seen. Often, it is our physical pain acting on the material level to ask us to listen and notice what is happening in us in a deeper aspect.
‘May all beings be happy and safe. May they have happy minds.’ – from the Metta Sutta
Thai massage very effectively brings us into a deep state of relaxation with ancient techniques that activate the parasympathetic nervous system. When we’re here, we can with greater ease feel what is going on in those subtle layers. And being in this state also allows for the body to feel safe and secure to activate its own healing process. The body can and will naturally heal itself if we provide the space for it to do so. If we listen and nurture it. Not judging or trying to change what is there, but being present with its expression. This is metta. This is Thai massage.
For more info on Thai massage treatments, click here.
Do you have an experience of metta, or loving-kindness, in any form of bodywork treatment before? Did it make the experience different for you from other massages you have had? I would love to hear your stories and experiences!