When traveling through Thailand, tourists will notice that "Thai Massage" will be offered at a wide variety of spas and small shops. You might ask yourself "what exactly is a Thai Massage, and where does it come from"?
Thai massage is believed to have origins in India, during the time of Buddha, it is said that a young doctor by the name of Shivago used massage to treat his patients. Over the years the monks at Buddhist temples have been teaching and practicing the art of Ayurvedic medicine and massage, spreading east to China, and the rest of Asia.
In Thailand the monks focused on principals of Yoga, herbalism and acupuncture incorporated with massage. Over centuries the knowledge has been passed down to each new generation of monks, and today many temples still teach Thai massage. The most famous of all the temples offering lessons in Thai Massage is Wat Pho, in Bangkok, the nation's capital. Some people believe that Wat Pho is the birthplace of Thai Massage as it is known today. The massage school at Wat Pho is the most prestigious in the country, and many foreigners take the 120 hr course to be certified in the art of Thai Massage.
What Pho Massage School also has an official branch in Chiang Mai, "Chetawan Traditional Thai Masssage School". The school is located opposite the Rajaphat Teacher's college on Chotana Road in downtown Chiang Mai. The school offers a variety of courses for Traditional Thai Massage, Foot Massage and Oil Massage. Courses run for five hours per day and last six days for a total of thirty hours. The school also has accommodation for female students only.
Traditional Thai massage is one of the branches of Traditional Thai Medicine and is recognized by the government of Thailand. You will notice in most massage shops throughout the country, there will be licenses displayed in plaques on the wall of the shop. Most spas and shops only employ licensed masseuses that have earned a certificate from Wat Pho or one of their official branches. It is important that those who perform Traditional Thai Massage know what they are doing, many of the techniques can be dangerous if not executed properly.
When executed properly, Traditional Thai Massage can have many health benefits, including increased circulation and flexibility. Thai massage also makes an excellent treatment for muscle fatigue from physical exercise. By applying pressure to certain points and stretching the muscles and joints, the blood flow is increased throughout the body. It is recommended that those with heart problems consult a physician before having a Thai Massage.
You will find that the cost of a Traditional Thai Massage is quite affordable, as little as three to five dollars per hour. It is well worth your time and your money to experience a Traditional Thai Massage, and for those of you that really enjoy it, you might want to take the course. Learning the art of Traditional Thai Massage will enable you to take home a small part of Thai culture and share it with your friends and family.
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