The healing practice of Thai herbal compress balls dates back nearly thousands of years. This practice was originally applied to Thai royalty via elaborate treatments and to soldiers for aches and pains after returning from battle. Its popularity grew with rural folk medicine during a time when the knowledge of plants and herbs, including their effects on ingestion or application on the body, were greatly studied, researched and incorporated into Thai medicinal healing practices used by healers and herbalists. In turn, these people passed on this knowledge and their techniques from one generation to the next.
Herbal compress therapy retains its popularity in Thailand and is offered throughout the country—from storefront massage establishments to high-end spas to the Traditional Thai Massage School in the temple of Wat Pho in Bangkok.
A selection of herbs, including Plai, Ginger, Turmeric, Kaffir Lime, Lemongrass, etc. is wrapped in 100% natural cotton cloth (which is also free from any chemicals), is soaked, steamed and then applied to the body using relaxing and soothing movements to invigorate the effect on the body and mind, while simultaneously soothing sore and over-worked muscles and giving a boost to the body’s energy levels. During the Thai herbal compress massage, the heated herbal ball is applied to all the major muscle groups, along with following the traditional Thai energy meridians called “Sen Sib.” Blockages and imbalance of the energy flowing along these lines are believed to cause an unhealthy state in the body. By massaging these lines, it stimulates the channels to open and therefore allows the energy to flow freely. This increases a state of good health and reduces pain, creating more balance in the body and a deeper sense of well-being, which leads to whole body rejuvenation.
In Thailand, the typical compress is created using traditional herbs commonly grown in Thailand. These herbs have both medicinal and aesthetic uses and are absorbed into the body through the skin and nose. Of course, the herbs themselves can be ingested as well, but when used in a compress there is no need for ingestion. Herbs can also be used alone or compounded into many types of liniments, poultices, smoke exhalation, herbal lozenges and herbal compress balls. During the application of the herbal balls, the rich enticing aromatic oils from the herbs create a therapeutic effect. And together with the unique techniques of Thai massage, the herbs relieve muscle stiffness, by softening and relaxing the muscles. The stresses of everyday living are alleviated with the deep moist heat and gentle pressure of herbal massage techniques to stimulate blood circulation. All three methods allow the medicinal properties of the herbs to have profound effects on the body. The herbal compress is also suitable for mothers after labor, elderly people, business men and women, and athletes.
Sprinkle water over two of the herbal balls to dampen them lightly. Steam the balls for approximately 20 minutes until the herbs become soft and hot. Once the ball is warm or heated to the desired temperature, remove one at a time and cover with a bath towel to maintain an even temperature and prevent excessive heat. Place a ball on the desired area and rotate. The herbal balls are for external use only and avoid using them directly on the face or delicate skin. Place the compressed ball back in the steamer when it is cool and use the second ball. The ball is reusable until its aroma fades away.
Positioning the compress
The herbal ball can be used on almost any part of the body, for example, the legs, knees, feet, back, waist, hip, shoulder, neck, arms, stomach and side of the body.
You will be either lying on their back (supine position), lying in a prone position, on their side, or in a sitting position, depending on the area to be compressed. Before applying the herbal ball it will be tested on a sensitive area of the skin such as the back of the hand or forearm. The first compress will be applied quickly and not left on the skin of the client for too long. This will protect you from getting burned.Leave a reply