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Thai massage does wonders for me
Old 05-09-2011, 02:18 AM   #1
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Thai massage does wonders for me

"Oww" I said, that really hurts. "Muscle hard as stone." she replied, let go of my hand and motioned for me to check. The area between the base of my thumb and forefinger contained what felt like a piece of 1/4" cable. "From motorcycle." she said. I gave her back my hand, she squeezed the right way in the right place, then moved on. An hour after the massage I remembered to check the area for progress - the cable was gone.

It’s rare that I stretch often enough to see significant progress. I used static stretching while on the track team in high school and it barely made a difference. Discovered Active Isolated Stretching in the late 90s and it made a huge difference. Gave up regular stretching when I put away my last sport where it mattered.

Occasionally I find motivation to stretch. It takes 2 – 3 weeks to gain enough additional range that I feel the effort has been worthwhile. One Thai massage causes more progress.

Tukta (my masseuse) worked a new area one day, the lower ends of the Latissimus Dorsi. She didn’t stretch the muscle in any way I’m familiar with, nor did it feel like the muscle was stretched. But the next morning my lats were sore like I’d been lifting weights. Tried a lats stretch that afternoon and discovered I have equaled the maximum range of motion ever achieved on my own. It’s like somebody stuck a key in my back and wound it the wrong way, releasing the tension.

Is most of what we know about stretching wrong? Conventional wisdom on stretching is to stop when it gets tight and certainly don’t go into the pain zone. Thai massage is all about the pain zone – or at least that’s what it seems like. I’m rarely sore after stretching but it sometimes takes two days to recover from a massage. Maybe it’s because the massage seems to emphasize work on the ends of the muscles. Maybe it’s because releasing muscle knots and tightness uses a different physiological mechanism than stretching. Don’t know why or how it works so well, I just go back for more.

Systematic loosening of muscles has improved my posture. I now have less anterior pelvic tilt and it takes less effort to consciously correct the tilt. I also get fewer minor back pains.

I'm certain the gains from Thai massage are mostly due to the skill of the provider. Bad ones just hurt. Good ones hurt too, but there is a payoff. I blogged about how I learned to tolerate Thai massage.

I live in Thailand. One hour Thai massages costs between $6.66 and $10 in resort towns.

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Old 05-09-2011, 02:51 AM   #2
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Good for you. I find that regular massage is beneficial to health. I live in Hong Kong and golf in China and do my massage weekly/bi-weekly either in HK or China golf resorts. Cost roughly USD25 per hour - should cost much less if not done in resorts. Massage type is lympathic massage. The benefits I find is that I sleep better, my toilet habits are improved, body aches are gone. The muscles which I overwork when I golf are relaxed. I just love massages which is one of the things I try whenever I visit a foreign country. They do differ from one country to another. When I budgeted for retirement, I did allocate a budget for regular massage - that's how important it is to me for the moment.

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Old 05-09-2011, 09:57 AM   #3
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I think there should be a Thai massage business next to every martial arts studio. For extra convenience they could share a common shower/changing room... walk directly from the mats through the shower to the massage.

A friend of ours was born in Thailand but raised in America. She barely speaks Thai but looks "local". When we visit Thai massage places in Bangkok or Chiang Mai, spouse and I get a nice relaxing deep-tissue massage. Our friend gets bruises. I guess they figure she merits the full treatment.

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