Thailand is quite a traditional place and generally not as open to new ideas and influences as the western world. One example is the massage scene.
Thai Massage, foot massage, and oil massage are for the most part the only modalities on offer, and it has been like that for a long time.
Compare that to the US or Europe where you can find many dozens of healing arts and massage modalities. There are specific reasons for this which I have written about in other places.
However, in the last couple of decades, Thailand has been experiencing a renaissance in the healing arts arena (see the video below). This happened largely due to the influence of western visitors who brought their knowledge with them and applied it in Thailand.
Several major and very successful holistic spas have been opened by westerners who incorporated many different healing modalities into their services.
In order to stay competitive, the Thai-owned spas had to expand their range of services as well. In this way, a healthy and productive cycle was born, and Thailand has become a major player in the wellness arena.
Up until quite recently, Thais had not been infected by the enthusiasm for yoga practice that has been happening in the West for many years. Although western-owned yoga studios have existed in Thailand for quite some time, their clientele almost never included Thais.
But this is changing as well, and now Thais are taking up yoga and opening yoga studios. There are several ‘hot spots’ in Thailand where you can find a high concentration of healing arts services like yoga, meditation, Qigong, Tai Chi, massage, and many others.
One of those places is my hometown of Chiang Mai which is surrounded by scenic mountains and is famous for its colorful festivals and easy-going way of life.
In the last decade, Thais and Westerners have started to put on several major ‘new age’ events that brought together a large variety of practitioners and proponents of healing arts, massage, healthy living, yoga, meditation, sustainable agriculture, and conscious living.
Recently a beautiful holistic spa near Chiang Mai hosted a Yoga Mala festival which was a wonderful and inspiring two-day event. I was the official video person for the event and I produced a short video that highlights some of the many activities that took place.
When you watch it you can just feel the good energy, the joy, and the enthusiasm of the event, and you get to see the beautiful and radiant faces of the participants.
The author, Shama Kern, is the founder and director of Thai Healing Massage Academy. He has been practicing and teaching Thai Massage for over 20 years, and he is the author of 20 Thai Massage online training courses.