What is a herbal compress massage?

Herbal compress massage, which originated in Thailand, is the type of alternative therapy treatment which is applied on your soft tissues such as muscles and fascia to help you to relieve the stress, improve your sleep, improve general well-being, promotes blood circulation, stimulate the lymphatic system which helps to remove the waste products from your body and manage pain including non-specific lower back pain and neck and shoulder pains and aches. 

How do you use a herbal compress?

The application of the herbal compress is usually incorporated in the traditional Thai massage. A therapist will be using a muslin cloth which is packed with a combination of different herbs, rolled up and steamed until piping hot. Then, using the cloth with the combination of herbs, a therapist will be pressing or pounding the cloth directly on your skin. The area treated will depend on the type of massage booked, for instance, if you ordered a full body massage, full body will be treated but if you booked neck and shoulders, then expect a therapist to focus on these areas only.

How do you make a compress?

There are many herbs and herb combinations which can be used during the massage. The selection of an appropriate mix or herb depends on your goals.

  • Place herbal mixture into the centre of your cloth, folding the edges up and over the herbs making a firm, round ball.
  • Tie the top close to the mixture with yarn or thread to create a handle. Keep the herbal compress ball tight so that it won’t become loose when in use.
  • Using a steamer, boil water and drop in the poultice until steamed, about 30-to-45 minutes.
  •  Check the temperature of the herbal compress ball on your  inner forearm prior to use. 
  • You can use your  compress up to four or five times each before making a new one.

 What are the benefits of herbal compress massage?

Herbal compress massage can benefit anyone. It can help relieve muscular pain, tension, aches, it can stimulate the lymphatic system and help to increase blood flow and circulation.  Other benefits includes: 

  • Kaffir lime (Markut) – helps to detoxify blood, promote oral health, improve digestion, reduce stress and lower the inflammation.
  • Plai (Zingiber cassumar) – helps to relax muscles and muscle associated aches and pains.
  • Zedoary (Khamin oi) – helps with loss of appetite, indigestion, reduce the anxiety and stress.
  • Lemongrass (Takhrai) – helps to reduce the growth of some bacteria and yeast. It also helps to relieve pain, inflammation, fever and help to balance blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
  • Turmeric (Khamin chan) – helps with detoxication of the body, inflammation and detoxication. It also has properties which reduce development of some cancers.
  • Camphor tree (Naat) – helps to treat some skin conditions, improve breathing, relieve pain. It also has some anti- inflammatory properties.
  • Tamarind (Makham) – can be beneficial if you have cancer, diabetes or heart conditions. It also helps to detoxicate body and has some anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Cumin (Khamin) – helps with diarrhoea, fights bacteria and parasites, may help to control blood sugar and cholesterol and has some anti-cancer properties.

What does the research say?

Research conducted into the effect of  Thai herb compress concluded that the treatment was more beneficial than standard therapy in patients with osteoarthritis muscle pain . Also it proved that Thai herb compress was more beneficial to induce milk production in postpartum mothers with problems to secrete milk. 

So, as you can see the benefits of herbs used are almost limitless. If you are looking for something different to help you cope with stress, anxiety, pains and aches or some more serious systemic conditions, consider trying the compress herbal massage.

If you have any questions about our treatments, please contact us. You can find us in Mill Hill Broadway and Islington. We are always happy to help.

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