The deep tissue, full body Vietnamese Tam Quat Massage is primarily influenced by Traditional Chinese Medicine concepts and Chinese massages, but also incorporates Thai, Japanese, and even Swedish massage techniques. Oils and lotions may be used during a session.
The focus of Tam Quat is on heating up the body and stimulating blood circulation by using plenty clapping and punching techniques (percussions) on the body (“tam quat”), which make the typical sounds a Tam Quat session produces. Other techniques applied are broad sustained hand-palm pressure, acupressure on Qi acupoints (using thumbs, fingers, and knuckles), and a variety of stretches.
Although most massages in Southeast Asia start with the feet and legs, in Vietnam the practitioners usually begin with the back of the receiver to induce immediate relaxation. After working rather intensively on the back muscles and spinal region, the legs and feet will be treated, followed by the arms, hands, abdominal region and chest, and finally the head.
A Tam Quat Massage relaxes, refreshes, and invigorates, relieves from muscle and tendon tensions and general pains, and stimulates both the digestive and lymphatic expulsion of the body’s waste products (detoxification).
In Vietnamese massage parlors and other massage or spa establishments, you will often also find other modalities used, stand-alone, or in combination with Tam Quat Massage, such as Cupping (called Giac Hoi in Vietnam), hot stones, and hot herbal compresses.
During a Vietnamese Tam Quat session the receiver would typically lie down on a massage table or massage mat. A session takes about sixty to ninety minutes, where ninety minutes is the preferred treatment time.
Two good examples of this massage type can be found on YouTube at Highway Massage in Ho Chi Minh Vietnam and Vietnam Massage Techniques or Tam Quat.