For those who love massage, Thailand is without doubt the place to be. On the other hand, the number of massage offerings, the various types of treatments, and the differences in quality, to name some aspects, can make it a daunting exercise to choose what to take where, when, how long, and with whom.
In any case, we have already written a few articles about that, such as the Thai Massage Treatment Reference List, the 5 Most Popular Thai Massage Treatments, and Where to Get the Best Thai Massage in Thailand, so please be our guest and indulge yourself getting more knowledgeable about the topic.
An Introduction: Lanna Folk Healing Arts
In this article, however, we are going to give you an overview of the more exclusive, unusual and extraordinary Thai Massage treatment modalities in the country. Most of the unique modalities mentioned later on are almost exclusively to be found in the Chiang Mai area, Northern Thailand, in the region that covers the ancient Lanna Kingdom, which was a Thai Kingdom between the 13th and 18th century.
The Thai Lanna Folk Healing Arts are well-known for its herbal heritage, as well as its healing practices through various forms of extraordinary massage and bodywork techniques. The Lanna region was – apart from significant Indian Ayurvedic influences – heavily touched by many different ethnic and cultural groups, peoples coming from a variety of regions and countries in Asia, such as Myanmar, Tibet, Nepal, Laos, and China.
Apart from a strong herbal tradition, the Thai Lanna Healing Arts distinguish themselves from mainstream Thai Medicine by being much more involved with ancient beliefs in animism, and the idea that spirit, mind, energies, or spirits reside in all things. This is clearly seen in many authentic Lanna treatments where both religious ceremonies and spiritual ripeness of the healing practitioner still play an important role.
The List: 7 Most Extraordinary Thai Massages
1. Thai Amatarot Massage
Amatarot or Amata Rot is a relatively new Lanna therapy – supposedly about a hundred years old – that uses a wooden stick or rod with various appliances stuck to the end of the rod, with which the patient is treated. Much depending on the specific therapeutic goal of the Amatarot treatment the appliances used may differ.
2. Chi Nei Tsang Abdominal Detox Massage
Chi Nei Tsang or Thai Abdominal Chi and Internal Organs Massage is a therapeutic healing massage modality combining traditional Chinese, Thai Massage and meditation techniques while focusing primarily on the abdominal region. Usually, hands, palms, fingers, knuckles, and elbows are used to apply the massage, and sometimes the feet, often also using massage oils. In addition, hot herbal compresses are used to prepare and/or soothe the area worked on.
3. Thai Fire Therapy (Yam Khang)
Thai Yam Khang, Thai Fire Therapy or Thai Fire Barefoot Massage is an ancient Northern Lanna style Thai healing modality that uses heat, oils, and solely the feet to massage the body of the patient. With the hot foot dipped in oils the therapist treats the patient, meanwhile using a wooden stick to keep his or her balance. When the foot gets cold, the process of dipping and heating is repeated.
4. Karsai Nei Tsang Genital Detox Massage
Karsai Nei Tsang – a specialization of Chi Nei Tsang Abdominal massage – is a traditional form of therapeutic genital healing and sexual organs detox massage originating and exercised mostly in Chiang Mai, and applied for both men and women.
5. Lanna Detox Massage (Ched Haek)
Ched Haek or Ched Hak Massage is an ancient Lanna detox technique that uses claws of animals during the treatment. The instrument used is blessed and considered of spiritual power and is wiped on the receiver’s body. The therapist recites prayers and chants of empowerment while purifying and cleaning the receiver and bringing vitality and universal forces.
6. Tok Sen
Tok Sen is an ancient Northern Lanna Thai healing practice that uses a short-handled hammer and a wedge of wood, bone or ivory to rhythmically tap along the Thai Sen energy lines of the body. Typically, the tools used – made from selected hard woods – are obtained during a special ceremony making them full of spiritual power.
7. Thai Womblifting
Traditional Thai Womb Lifting is an ancient Lanna Thai healing modality that involves applying – as a compress – hot sea salt crystals in a clay pot, wrapped in medicinal leaves. It also involves acupressure on the abdomen, legs, buttocks and back. The uterus is manipulated directly externally with the hands on the abdomen. The practice addresses sexual and genital issues that can arise before, during, or after the pregnancy period.