Thai Kosai

World Spine Day: Traditional Thai Massage To Help Posture

Posted by Thai Kosai Thai Masseuse Over 1 Year Ago

Sunday 16th October is World Spine Day (no, we’re not making it up, see Running since 2012, the event has done a great deal to raise awareness of spinal health and spinal disorders. Its theme this year is “straighten up and move”, with a focus on improving posture and the importance of exercise. With that in mind, we wanted to take the chance to draw attention to one of the best available treatments to help improve general posture: traditional Thai Massage.

So, first a quick re-cap. When we talk about traditional Thai Massage, we don’t mean the kind of massage where you lie on a table with your face in a hole. No, those are nice, but they aren’t the traditional form. We are talking about the kind you will find in Thailand – performed on thin futons on the floor, with both client and therapist fully dressed, usually with the client in loose fitting cotton ‘pyjamas’ to enable movement.

The technique is sometimes described as Thai Yoga, which is fitting as its roots have much in common with yoga and indeed many of stretches used in traditional Thai Massage have analogies in yoga positions. The treatment itself feels a lot like a yoga session, but without the active effort, and therefore with much greater emphasis on relaxation.

The reason it can be so helpful with posture is the sheer number of movements – rotation and flexion – that can put your back into positions and stretches which you might not usually encounter, especially in typical office or monotonous work. The treatment starts with palm, finger, thumb and forearm presses which work to relax stiff muscles before moving onto a range of stretches.

A full routine can take hours (outside of the Thailand tourist hotspots they can often run to three hours). Here in London, treatments are typically compressed into 60 or 90 minute sessions. A traditional Thai Massage can take some getting used to – best results are often achieved when you ‘know what’s coming’ and you can align your deep breathing to the stretches. But, with lower back pain being one of the biggest causes of missed work days, and the second most common reason for visits to the doctor (behind common cold symptoms), it may well be worth investing in!

By Kanjana Sawangha, Thai Kosai Massage Therapy