What is Asian Massage?
Asian Massage is a massage developed in Thailand and influenced mostly by yoga and the traditional medicine systems of India, China, and Southeast Asia. Asian massage is performed through loose and comfortable clothes, so no oil is applied and no shoes and socks are worn. During the massaging, you will lie on a mat on the floor while the practitioner uses thumbs, palms, forearms, elbows, feet, knees and even shins to press and stretch your body. The massage generally starts with the pressing which follows designated lines (Sen) in the body. Every Sen channel is pressed on from every direction. After the pressing, when the practitioner is certain that all soft tissues have been adequately pressed, the process of stretching begins. But, stretching and pressing are not the only elements of a Asian Massage. Muscle compression, joint mobilization, and acupressure are also used during treatment. However, there are no sudden changes of rhythm and speed and every technique melts into the other with total economy of motion. That is why Asian massage is more energizing and rigorous than most classic forms of massage, because it transports people to a world of divine relaxation. It is one of the most popular massages nowadays and to many people it is like doing yoga without any work.
History of Asian Massage
Asian massage has been developed more than 2,500 years ago in India by by Jivaka Kumar Bhaccha, a physician to Buddha. The technique was spread to Thailand along with Buddhism in 2-3 century BC. This new therapeutic massage was greatly accepted, and along with other healing arts has been taught and applied in the monasteries, as well as performed by monks as a component of Asian medicine for centuries to come. The Asian massage technique was orally passed from generation to generation and the treatment partitioned today is a product of a 19th-century synthesis of various healing traditions all over southern Asia.
Benefits and precautions during Asian Massage
The muscles in our body get tensed as a result of a vicious circle of events which lead to the shortening and weakening of our muscles. Asian massage has the possibility to stretch those muscles back to their normal resting length, while at the same time allowing for all tension to disappear and the mobility of the joints to be restored. And the muscles are not the only part of your body that gets a proper therapy, your fibrotic connective tissues and your body’s weak circulation areas are also treated during the massage.
Asian Massage Benefits
Among the many benefits of the Asian massage are: relief from constipation, IBS, headaches, sciatica, as well as back and neck pain, but also a more relaxed organism, reduced stress level, improved circulation, increased energy, flexibility and improved range of motion. The Asian massage is highly recommended for people with reasonably good health regardless their age, weight or lack of flexibility as it can correct both emotional and physical problems. However, it should be avoided by people with certain medical conditions like infectious skin diseases, rashes, or open wounds as well as people prone to blood clots. It is also not recommended for people who have recently had surgery, chemotherapy or radiation, unless recommended otherwise by your doctor. Pregnant women will also need to consult a doctor prior to deciding to get a massage, and if they are allowed a treatment it will have to be done by massage therapists who are certified in pregnancy massages. Furthermore, it is important not to do massage directly over bruises, inflamed skin, unhealed wounds, tumors, abdominal hernia, or areas of recent fractures as well.
All of these different types of therapy may look similar to you but they are in fact very different and you can’t practice them all with just a single course. You would need to find the on that it’s most convenient for you to practice, one that you’ll enjoy the most and dedicate yourself to it. The good thing is that there is no limit on how many types of massages you can practice, as long as you do it one at a time. And once you have mastered a therapy, it will be much easier to master more.
Additional Asian Massage tips
Usually a Asian massage treatment lasts 1-2 hours. It would be better to arrive 5-10 minutes prior, to have time to relax before the start. You need to know that every person reacts differently the first time s/he gets the massage, so don’t be afraid to tell your practitioner if you feel discomfort at any time. But, keep in mind that with time you’ll come to enjoy the deep pressure techniques and spectacular manipulations that this massage offers. Before signing up for Asian massage it is good to tell the practitioner your medical history to be certain that no problems will arise if you had one. It also is not recommended to eat a heavy meal before the massage because of the stretching.
Asian Bodywork Therapy (ABT)
This term emcompasses the varying modalities of bodywork that originate in Japan, China, and Korea. The evolution of ABT(Asian Bodywork Therapy) descends from the ancient roots of Chinese Medicine. In order to understand the functions and benefits of these diverse approaches the client must educate himself some basic philosophy of TCM(Traditional Chinese Medicine) The West approaches medicine in a rather mechanical way.. There are only a few preventative procedures such as taking vitals and testing blood in a laboratory. When a patient becomes ill or unwell that is the only time they visit their doctor aside from once every year! This approach lacks any sort of educational prevention other than what the patient initiates and usually has a minimal amount of visit time dedicated to nutrition, exercise, lifestyle, stress, mental health, etc. Illness is generally when Western insurance pays for you to go to a specialist.
In contrast, Chinese Medicine insists on looking at the entire person and their entire body and mind. The basic principles of ABT are centered around supporting the overall balance of an individual's life force or energy which is called Qi(Chi). The diagrams of the channels connecting these energetic points show the reader the meridians which are akin to a Western therapist's anatomy charts. The concept of yin and yang and the 5 elements(Fire,Earth,Metal,Water,Wood) as well as the body's fundamental substances.(Shen, Jing, Blood, and Jin/Ye) are the other basic concepts to appreciate when receiving any treatment rooted in TCM.
The principles of yin and yang represent opposition, interdependence, intertransformation,and infinite divisibility of the individual.
The interpretation of energetic imbalances as disease rather than scientific testing done after the onset of symptoms and disease is a more practical approach for the human body. I encourage anyone interested in experiencing Asian Bodywork Therapy or any alternative forms of medicine to read about whichever form sounds like the best fit for their life and to schedule an appointment with a licensed and insured practitioner.
- Shiatsu (Zen Shiatsu)
- Jin Shin Do
- Lomi Lomi(Hawaiian)
- Tui Na(traditional chinese medical massage
American Organization for Bodywork Therapies of Asia (AOBTA)
National Certification for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM)
National Certification for Bodywork Therapy and Massage Therapy (NCBTMB)
Department of Public Health State License* (For many traditionally trained massage therapists, the expense and requirements for the National License far exceed their benefits so many therapists in the field have not renewed their national license but are still required to continue their education and practice with only a state license. This is not a reflection on their legitimacy)