One of the greatest pleasures / therapies that Thailand offers is the art of a perfect Thai massage. Many contented tourists and locals alike regularly frequent massage clinics, either to relax after a busy day sightseeing or look for some more serious remedial bodywork to aid severe body pain.
The origins of Thai Massage are said to date back over two and a half thousand years, when an Indian physician named Shivago Komarpaj, supposedly the personal doctor of the Buddha, started to develop the therapy.
The healing technique Shivago Komarpaj used was a deep massage, with plenty of stretching which also had the side effect of aiding relaxation. The physical benefits to the muscles and the restoration of proper blood circulation were soon realised by the patients, and the massage was also linked to improvements in energy blockages, aches and pains, flexibility, nerve problems and postural alignments.
Around about the mid 18th Century a more scientific approach came to massage in Europe and the foundations of modern physiotherapy was established. And by 1887 physical therapists (physiotherapists) were given official registration by Sweden‘s National Board of Health and Welfare.
Other countries soon followed Sweden’s lead and soon Great Britain, New Zealand and the USA were all practising the art. The modern day physical therapy was established in Britain towards the end of the 19th century, and orthopedic surgeons began treating children with disabilities and started employing women trained in physical education, massage and remedial exercise.
Today in Thailand you have the choice of excellent traditional massages or the modern science of physiotherapy. Reputable physiotherapy clinics with fully trained physical therapists are now available. Here in Pattaya, Siam International Physiotherapy Clinic located in Naklua, offer professional physiotherapy services that are extensive and used to treat many ailments.
Siam International Physiotherapy can provide beneficial therapies in: orthopedics, stroke / neurological conditions, pediatrics, sports injuries, after surgery treatments, and they can also provide home visits if the problem is so bad that you cannot attend the clinic.
As the art and practice of physiotherapy is continuing to develop the scope of therapy is widening considerably. The profession now addresses orthopaedic, neurological and cardiopulmonary problems among infants, children, adults and geriatric populations.
Today, physiotherapy treatment still retains many of the practices of traditional massage to extend benefits to strength, range of motion, correct postural and muscle imbalance, joint mobilisation, manipulation and soft tissue massage.
The key elements of stretching and trigger point therapy to reduce stiffness and to relieve pain, are just as much a cornerstone of physiotherapy as traditional Thai massage.
The humble massage has certainly come a long way from the early days of Shivago Komarpaj, and I wonder what he would think of how things have developed in the centuries since he first started laying his hands on thankful bodies. It is amazing to think that some of his techniques are still being used today and not just in beachside massage parlours but in highly modern clinics practising physiotherapy.
The population of Pattaya is very fortunate, as they have a plethora of options open to them in both respects. Pattaya hosts some of the best masseurs in the whole of the kingdom of Thailand and sitting alongside them are some of the top, highly-qualified physiotherapists.