Thai Massage and Western Massage differ greatly in more ways than their techniques. In Western countries, there is a continuous effort to prove scientifically how and why massage is beneficial. Most of the massage therapy profession has accepted science as their unofficial regulator. Therapists feel compelled to demonstrate their therapies hold up to the demands of science and comply with scientific standards.
In other words, the effectiveness of massage needs to be proven by scientific procedures to prevent allegations of unproven, unscientific, or unsubstantiated claims in regards to this treatment – what a mouthful! If you believe I am exaggerating, this is the one we used. You may read a few of the disclaimers on massage intake forms that you have to fill out before you receive a session.
Massage therapists at the West go to great lengths to say that they do not mend, cure, diagnose, treat, prescribe, or improve any medical condition and that only physicians can do such things. I am aware of, they need to do that so they don’t get sued.
Let’s use some frequent sense. Before the coming of medical science, people around the world were treated with all sorts of treatments and remedies. Occasionally they worked and they did not. Today we have modern hospitals and occasionally their treatments work and sometimes they don’t. The one major difference is that hospitals and their treatments, drugs, and procedures are among the top causes of death in the united states. In contrast, tell me how many people died on massage tables!
Does anyone actually believe that a well-trained massage therapist who has maybe a decade of experience of working with and immediately touching hundreds or thousands of people cannot ever improve any health condition? Compare this to a typical physician who is forced by the insurance companies to spend as little time as possible with his patients and who runs to the room, spends five minutes without you without hardly touching you at all, and leaves you with a prescription of compounds he understands nothing about except what a pharmaceutical rep told him.
I want to emphasize that I have the best respect for some incredibly useful medical procedures. Modern Physicians can do wonders when they sew victims of horrible accidents or enable amputees to operate again. However, the track record of contemporary medical science for curing most chronic and resistant system-related ailments is very bad.
Now let’s compare this to the Asian model, especially Thai Massage. In Thailand nobody has to complete intake forms, nobody sues massage therapists, no therapist must comply with scientific demands, massage therapists or other natural healers can diagnose conditions to the extent of their knowledge, and they’re able to treat such conditions to the extent of their skills. If what they do isn’t functioning, the clients can of course try their luck elsewhere, such as in a physician’s office. Or they can do both.
No Thai massage therapist must explain scientifically what precisely their therapy is performing. No client expects that. The therapists do not understand anything about the science supporting it because the entire version of Asian natural medication is not based as much on anatomy, physiology, and science as on invisible energy flow and energy lines that cannot be viewed from the eye, a microscope, or detected in a test tube. But the energy could be sensed by experienced therapists, and it can be altered by Thai massage therapies.
From my vantage point of living in Thailand, I know from personal experience that Thai massage does and can enhance many conditions. Some of these cannot be enhanced by medical science. After all, a stiff neck is definitely better handled by massage therapy than by chemical muscle relaxants. And anxiety, a major cause of so many diseases is treated more effectively by massage than by compounds.
Here in Thailand, we all understand that some massage therapists are rather useless while some are incredibly good and effective. So we proceed to the fantastic ones. Massage isn’t a luxury here such as in western countries. The majority of folks can afford massage without costing too much. There’s not any competition here between massage and medical science. They coexist quite peacefully. Read more about Thai Massage history since 1949.
Am I saying that what is best in Thailand? No, that is not my point. I am comparing two quite different systems. It is undoubtedly more relaxing and a lot simpler to deal with the massage program in Thailand. However, I think that the Asian version could benefit from a western input like more anatomical knowledge or exposure to other healing therapies which are more widespread in western countries.
Anyone who has been to Thailand understands the fantastic feeling of being able to get a full body massage or even a quick foot massage almost anywhere and for hardly any cash. It’s possible to get remedies on the shore, on the sidewalk, in open-air massage shops, in temples, in active markets and malls, in airports, in spas, or in your home.