Is there a different between Thai Massage and Thai Yoga Massage?
Both of these terms can be used interchangeably, so be sure when you try Thai massage yourself, ask the practitioner’s background — do they have experience with yoga and/or meditation? Do they have more experience with western massage? Where did they learn Thai Massage? Here are definitions by two practitioners, Namtip Gelfand and Leigh Evans.
The ancient art of Thai massage incorporates deep tissue stretching, acupressure, and range of motion along specific meridians called sen lines. The client wears loose fitting, comfortable clothing, and no oil is used. However, warm herbal poultices can be applied, much like in hot stone massage . The therapist places the client’s body in passive asana poses . Practiced on the floor in order to use the best amount of leverage, it is commonly associated with a lot of pressure, although some practitioners use gentle touch to also go deep. Namtip Gelfand, owner of Treat Your Body in Williamsburg, Brooklyn who specializes in Thai massage agrees. She was born in Thailand, and moved to New York to study western massage therapy at the Swedish Institute.
With Thai Yoga, the client also dresses in comfortable clothes and is placed in similar poses. However, the asana (yoga) poses that target the sen lines create a more gentle stretching protocol. As with yoga practice, the stretch is meant to only go as far as your body will allow at that specific moment. The goal is breathe, listen and be present with each move and posture. Its focus is a more meditative, energetic one, encouraging the body to “let go” — much like in the spiritual practice of Yoga. Through this the body and mind become more relaxed and energized. Leigh Evans, a seasoned yoga instructor who practices this type, is traveling to Thailand this month to lead a yoga retreat and further her studies with master Pichet.