20 May 2020
Most commonly associated with Traditional Thai Medicine, the hot compress or herbal ball massage has been practised in Thailand for hundreds, if not thousands of years. The unique combination of specific herbs and heat work to relax and invigorate the body and mind, soothing sore and overworked muscles while boosting energy and reducing inflammation.
Herbal compress massage is believed to have originated from India, when ayurvedic healers travelled over to Thailand and shared their wisdom. When combined with the teachings of Traditional Chinese Medicine, a new era of regional, Thai Traditional Medicine was born – a combination of the holistic principles of Ayurveda and TCM.
In Thailand, many TTM treatments have evolved and are used for both therapeutic and rehabilitative purposes, with the hot compress massage approved and added to the National List of Essential Medicines.
Usually performed on a traditional Thai mattress on the floor or in a mixed-use Asian treatment room, the treatment usually starts with a traditional massage that involves deep acupressure and stretches, before being followed by hot herbal compressions. Packed with various health-boosting herbs, the compression balls are warmed (usually steamed) and applied to the body, allowing moist heat to radiate down through the skin and tissue, melting away tension and soreness.
As the steam opens up the pores, the various healing benefits of the herbs inside can be fully absorbed. When professionally administered, the herbs in the compress will be tailored to different parts of the body and different ailments. Herbs such as lemongrass and kaffir lime boost the immune system, turmeric works as an anti-inflammatory and tamarind is used to improve skin complexion.
White camphor is one of the most important ingredients of the Hot Herbal Compress and is a fundamental herb in the TTM and Ayurveda traditions. Safe for treating ailments, white camphor helps to simulate the brain and heart while improving circulation and relieving emotional stress, anxiety and insomnia.
Research into the clinical effects of Thai herbal compress proved that the treatment was more efficacious than standard therapy in patients with osteoarthritis and muscle pain, and may also be used as a treatment to induce lactation in postpartum mothers with low or no natural milk secretion.
At GOCO Hospitality, we do extensive market research to determine the best treatments and therapies for the spas we conceptualise for our clients. With Thai treatment still growing in popularity across the world, traditional Thai treatments are often a popular choice among spa owners and their customers alike.