Thai Foot Reflexology and Massage
by Marvin Swartz
Thai Foot Massage, an ancient practice, originated in India as part of the Ayurveda medical tradition, and was influenced by Chinese and other Far Eastern practices. It is still very popular today in Thailand and considered to be one of the treatments within traditional Thai medicine.
Combining aspects of reflexology and massage, this non-invasive holistic modality is performed on the lower legs and feet and can help to support the body’s natural healing mechanisms. Thai massage is thought to balance the body’s energy while reflexology, the application of intermittent pressure to reflex zones, is thought to stimulate the activity of internal organs, skeletal system, and the Sen energy lines.
Sen energy lines, the Thai-based energy meridians, are the theoretical foundation of all Thai bodywork. These invisible channels that allow energy to flow throughout the body can become blocked, which may affect one’s health. Balancing and harmonizing the flow of energy facilitate normal body functioning.
Reflexology, the study of reflex points, involves an examination of the reflex zones followed by a treatment of specific reflex points to rebalance energy within the body and promote healing. Thai Foot Massage incorporates general reflex point stimulation while emphasizing massage techniques to promote general health and well-being. It is the general approach with the reflex points, the combination and sequence of massage techniques, and working with the Sen energy lines that distinguish Thai foot massage from reflexology.
The session can be performed with the client sitting in a chair or lying on a massage table or floor mat, depending on the client’s comfort level with a session lasting 60-90 minutes. Clients should wear clothing that can be taken up comfortably above the knee. Using the hands, thumbs, fingers, knuckles, and a rounded wooden stick, with or without massage cream, the practitioner stretches and massages the client’s lower legs and feet.
Thai Foot Massage is suitable for men, women, and children of all ages. It may be suitable for pregnant women who are past their first trimester and free of medical issues. There are some medical conditions where it may not be possible to carry out the treatment, which is why a full consultation is required beforehand.
Contraindications to receiving a treatment include joint or muscle inflammation, leg or foot injuries, suffering from cold, flu, sore throat, diarrhoea, migraine, recent surgery, high blood pressure, stroke, vascular conditions, diabetes, cancer, oedema, varicose veins, contagious skin diseases, intestinal conditions, drug or alcohol intoxication, and a full or empty stomach. A physician should be consulted if you are unsure about your situation as massage can worsen some existing medical conditions.
Benefits attributed to Thai Foot Massage include improved blood circulation, lymphatic drainage, flexibility, and sleep; this form of massage is said to boost the immune system and relieve stress, and improve concentration, clarity of mind, and calmness, and contribute to general well-being.
If you have tried reflexology, you will also enjoy this fabulous treatment, but will be surprised at how different the techniques are! As with reflexology, you will leave the session feeling relaxed, yet energized and invigorated!
Marvin Swartz, of Saskatoon, is a certified Lotus Palm Thai Yoga Massage Practitioner and member of Natural Health Practitioners of Canada (NHPC). To book an appointment: Tel: 306-249-1073, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, and visit marvinswarts.ca.