If you have ever had a real Thai foot massage, it’s an experience you’ll probably never forget. It is a strong and powerful kind of massage that involves reflexology and other therapeutic methods to enhance your physical and psychological well being.
During a treatment, not only your feet, but also your legs will be massaged, and many massage practitioners also end the massage with a head, neck and shoulder massage. The reason for this is that when you had an hour of intensive food work, a lot of energy work is done in that area, and your body reacts to this. But since it’s only your feet, it can be “out of balance”, and paying attention to your upper body helps to balance your energies out in a harmonious way.
During most of the treatment, the massage therapist will use their hands and fingers to apply pressure, rub, pull and stretch, sometimes a wooden stick, a forearm or an ellbow is also used.
Foot massage is one part of the traditional Thai medicine system. One of the paradigms of traditional medicine in Thailand is that there are energies that move throughout the body. If the flow of this energies is obstructed, it can causes imbalances which in turn can manifest themselves in the form of diseases or illness if untreated. In this regard, the medical views on the human body that people held in Thailand are similar to those of many other ancient Eastern healing modalities.
Thai foot massage is one method to treat these energy imbalances. In traditional Thai medicine, there are ten main energy lines, called sip sen. All of them end in the feet – that is why the feet are a very effective method of manipulating these energy lines in order to restore a balanced energy state, and thus health.
At times, a Thai foot massage can be uncomfortable or even a bit painful because of the pressure that is applied. Many people also do not particularly enjoy the “toe cracking”, when a massage therapist rapidly pulls on your toes to release bubbled in your joint fluid (this is what causes the cracking sound).
However, after you have received a good treatment, you will quickly forget about all the pains and unpleasantness, because it feels as if you are walking on clouds. In Thailand it is believed that internal organs can be stimulated through the feet, and oftentimes you will indeed feel an immediate change – sometimes in the form of urgent bowel movements. While this might not sound great, it is nonetheless testimony to the effectiveness of this old healing modality.
Sometimes you can find “charts” with acupressure or energy points of the human foot. If you try to massage yourself or somebody else based on these charts, please keep in mind that they are overly simplified in many cases, and you need proper training in order to make effective use of them. It’s not as if there are a bunch of buttons on your body, and just pressing them will suddenly solve all your health problems. You need to know about different massage techniques, how and in which sequence to work on points and a lot more. It takes experience and education to do so. In fact, instead of pushing “points” on your feet based on some chart, I would rather recommend that you instead just give a good and pleasant foot massage, which can have beneficial effects in and of itself.