Origins of Thai Massage
Thai Massage and yoga are part of the same family. Thai Massage originated in India’s yoga system and made its way to Thailand in a modified version. That’s why western therapists often refer to it as Thai yoga massage. The similarity between yoga stretches and Thai Massage stretches is quite obvious.
The relationship between Thai Massage and Yoga
However there is more that connects yoga and Thai Massage. It’s not just the actual stretches, but also more subtle elements like breathing, energy awareness, correct body mechanics, and the development of higher awareness.
Some of these elements have been neglected by many Thai practitioners and have been revived by western therapists who are much more familiar with the yoga system than their Thai colleagues.
Yoga is not as popular in Thailand as in the western world. It has just recently started to gain limited traction in the larger cities in Thailand.
In contrast, in the western world yoga is very popular, and it is quite common that yoga teachers also learn Thai Massage and combine the two in their practice and their teaching.
Thai Massage and yoga teachers
Yoga and Thai Massage are a natural combination since they are not only using similar techniques, but also similar principles. Yoga practitioners find Thai Massage a good match, and yoga teachers find the touching elements of the ‘yoga massage’ helpful in their teaching.
Many yoga teachers have added Thai Massage as a compatible second career and income stream. At the same time, western Thai Massage practitioners often find that the yoga exercises help them with the positions of the massage.
Similarities and differences
Both of these systems have a lot in common and can be easily combined. They support each other, work with similar principles, and share techniques. The main difference is that Thai Massage is a totally passive experience for the receiver, whereas yoga is a totally active system for the practitioner.
It needs to be mentioned that Thai Massage is not just a system of passive yoga stretches, but an entire healing art method which works on many levels – stretches, range of motion, massage, energy work, and acupressure. So there are many similarities, but also significant differences.
Conclusion and study options
Thai Massage in its traditional form can be made even better by including yoga principles, and yoga can benefit from the Thai Yoga Massage elements. Here at Thai Healing Massage Academy about half of our online students are either yoga practitioners or yoga teachers.
If you want to learn Thai Massage, check out our extensive online course library here:
The author, Shama Kern, is the founder and director of Thai Healing Massage Academy and the author of 20 Thai Massage online training courses. You can reach him at email@example.com