Asian massage techniques, including Chinese and Japanese massage, ( Shitatsu and Tui-Na), Indian, Javanese and Thai, have been in existence for more than two thousand years. These techniques, intended to release energy, cleanse the body of impurities, and strengthen the nervous and muscular skeletal system. Many of these techniques are linked to various religious practices, including Buddhism, Shinto, and Hinduism.
Thai massage originated in India more than 2,500 years ago, and spread to what was then known as Siam, during to time of Buddha. The technique is performed while the person assumes many yoga-like positions, and is designed to stretch and flex the skeleton and connecting muscles. It also aids in strengthening the body’s immune system by focusing of more efficient oxidation of the blood. The patient usually lies on either firm mattress or floor mat, and usually wearing loose fitting pajama-like garments. It is not to be confused to be confused with other, often erotic types of massage, which are performed for an entirely different type reason. Hand movements by the practitioner are usually rhythmic and regular, intended to work on the person’s body energy lines. The practitioner will also walk upon the patient’s spine to stimulate the spinal nerves which influence the entire body, including fingers and toes.
Chinese Tui Na massage is a technique more than 5,000 years old and is based on the use of pressure at certain points of the body. The ‘pressure’ is applied using both the fingers, knuckles, and the palms as well as certain devices, including acupuncture needles. Acupuncture and other forms of Chinese medicine such ass herbal therapy are also used together with the hands. The technique of ‘kneading’ the patient’s muscular-skeletal system is said to be very effective in removing blockages in the circulatory system to promote more effective healing. The treatment is claimed to be very effective in improving conditions of the muscular skeletal system. Because the treatment does not involve the use of drugs of chemicals, it has very few side effects.
Japanese Shiahatsu massage is very different than more traditional massage therapy. The practice, also at least two thousand years old, involves the use of distinct pressure applied on parts of the body known as ‘energy points’. The reasoning behind this method is that when a muscle become tense, it stiffens, resulting in pain. By focusing pressure with the thumb, finger tips and palm, the Shiahatsu practitioner loosens stiff muscles, limbers joints, and stimulates blood flow. The resulting loosening of tension and increased blood flow cause body joints to move freely again resulting in easing of pain and other healthful benefits. It is well known that increased blood flow helps prevent blockages in veins and arteries.
Javanese massage, originating on the Island of Java in what was once known as the East Indies, involves the use of the entire hand, including fingers, palms, and knuckles, combined with aromatic oils. The practitioner massages or ‘kneads’ the muscles like a baker kneading dough. This method is said to be very useful in relieving muscle tension and easing back pain. It is also very useful in restoring muscles to their full capacity following the healing of a broken bone or fracture.
Asian massage therapies are still very popular for relieving of body tensions and for overall relaxation. They are often included with hotel vacation tour packages.