There is an interesting study about the effects of Thai massage on the bones. This study is done by the Department of Medicine, at the Ramathibodi Hospital in Mahidol University Bangkok, Thailand.
It is already an established fact that there are two main ways to increase bone mass (which is a good thing: stronger bones). One way is to exercise your body. Another way is to use low amplitude vibration.
The researchers found that traditional Thai massage can help to increase bone mass (so essentially making bones stronger and delaying bone loss). They call this “Thai massage is anabolic to bone”. It is so because of the physical pressure that is applied to the bones.
They took 30 women between the ages of 20-40 years. Each of these women received a two hour traditional Thai massage. They used various methods to measure how “strong” the bones of the subject were. (This is of course a rather simplified explanation, and if you want all the medically accurate descriptions, then you will find them in the original study itself, which I will point out in a minute).
The results of this study? Well, they found that “Thai traditional massage induces acute changes in bone formation and resorption markers.”
This is especially interesting when it comes to osteoporosis prevention.
It is interewting to note that there must be a certain rest period between mechanical loads is crucial for the anabolic effect of physical loads on bone – and during a Thai massage, you of course have these rest periods between the application of pressure.
You can find the full study here: Acute Changes in Biochemical Markers of Bone Resorption and Formation after Thai Traditional Massage
(Or directly download the PDF file)