08 Oct 2012 Thai Herb Compress Massage: a feast for your body
Aromatherapy, Thermal Therapy and Herbal Therapy – all in one!
A feast for your body: a mix of ground herbs, wrapped tightly inside a natural porous cloth, steamed and applied to the body in gentle pressing, circular and rolling movements. In Thailand, the herbal compress is called luk pra kob, translated as ‘herbal pressing sphere’. Steaming releases the aroma and medicinal properties of the herbs, the skin’s pores open with the warmth and allow the herbs to take effect.
Thai Herb Compress Massage was designed in ancient times to relieve pain and inflammation. It also has a ‘detox’ effect and can help stretch muscles and improve blood flow. And it’s obviously warming. Its effects are based on technique, warmth due to steaming and the properties of the herbs. One of Akana’s clients, who loves the herbal compresses, recently asked me about the herbs inside the compresses. They can differ depending on the desired effects. Some of the most common ingredients I learned about when I first trained and some of their known properties:
- Ginger is warming, stimulates circulation and calms digestion.
- Turmeric is warming, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antioxidant and antibiotic.
- Lemongrass calms muscle spasms, digestion and nerves, stimulates circulation and acts as a respiratory decongestant.
- Kaffir lime is antiseptic, benefits the skin and is emotionally uplifting.
- Tamarind is astringent, antiseptic and exfoliant.
- Acacia benefits the skin and helps heal bruises.
- Myrtle is a known respiratory decongestant.
- Camphor calms muscle and joint pain and benefits the skin.
- Citronella is antiseptic, bactericidal and a deodorant.
- Galangalal soothes digestion.
Some of these ingredients will remind you of a wonderful Thai feast! And it gets even better: you’ll get to take your compresses home with you – for a nice fragranced bath to release more of those essences, or open them up to make your own Thai potpourri.