There is Thai Massage. But this by itself is not sufficient to clarify what we are talking about. It is somewhat like saying “There is Christianity”. Well – are you talking about Catholics, Protestants, Mormons, Born Agains… It is similar with Thai Massage. There is a northern style, a southern style, a royal style, the strictly traditional style and a whole number of styles that have been mixed with other Asian healing arts or 타이마사지 with yoga therapy or energy work.
Why are there so many different Thai Massage styles? Why not just one? There is the saying “variety is the spice of life”, and this is very true. Imagine if there was only one car, or one mobile phone – wouldn’t you agree that it is much more fun if you have many choices? Just like you can match a car to your preferences, so can you match a massage style to your body and your likes.
Some people like strong massage, some soft, some like stretching, some prefer oil massage, and some love rocking massage. And then some people love foot work, some love abdominal work, others love head massage. I think I made my case why it is an advantage to have many massage styles and variations.
Here is another good reason. Once a therapist becomes seasoned and experienced, he or she does not want to just follow the routine which they learned in massage school. Massage is a creative, intuitive, graceful, flowing art, not a mechanical system of pressing or rubbing on predetermined points. Therefore it is natural that therapists express their creativity by developing their own styles.
This leads to an ever developing evolution of massage techniques. Without that there would be no growth, no spontaneity, no improvement. Of course there are traditionalists who believe that everything should be done like it has been done for hundreds or thousands of years. And that can also be a good thing. In this way a core style can be preserved and maintained as a bench mark against which newer styles can be measured. And some traditional systems are very good the way they are.
At some point every single massage system has been invented and developed by someone. And those persons were innovators. Innovators create, and traditionalists maintain. There is a place for both. The world would be a boring place without innovation, new creative ideas, and new styles and techniques in the massage and healing arts arena or any other field.
Thai Massage is often not practiced the same way in western countries as it is done in Thailand. The reason for that is that western therapists, unlike their Thai counterparts, have much more access and exposure to other massage styles. Therefore there is always a tendency to mix and blend and combine techniques. Therapists in Thailand have generally never been exposed to anything but the traditional way of working, and therefore you don’t find much blending and changing in Thailand.
Also western therapists have often started out learning massage, and mostly Swedish massage, on a table. Therefore many of them have adapted Thai Massage to the table which of course changes it somewhat, and many blend Thai Massage with Swedish massage.
Personally I have studied Thai Massage in Thailand with several excellent and well known teachers. They all had their own style and their own unique techniques. And that is without blending Thai Massage with any other modalities.