Thai Herbal Compresses

Thai Herbal Compresses known as ‘lukprakob’ in Thai translated as ‘herbal pressing sphere’, date back 5,000yrs in Thai healing therapy. Thai herbalism, plant medicine is intrinsically infused in Thai culture, with plant, bark and flower properties, their benefits and effects through ingestion and external application, studied meticulously and passed down from one generation to another quite often verbally. Thai Compress Therapy was designed to alleviate inflammation, muscular aches and relieve pain, often used on soldiers returning from war and by Thai royalty in elaborate treatments.

The compresses can be steamed in a vegetable steamer or microwave and applied to an area of muscular tightness to soften the tissue and enable deeper acupressure and fascial release.Compresses can also be applied cold, firstly heating them 10 to 15 minutes to release the beneficial alkaloids in the herbs then frozen in the freezer and applied on the site of recent muscle, ligament or tendon sprains, bruising, hematomas and other more servere injuries requiring cold therapy. The hot and the cold compresses when applied alternatively can also be a very effective way to reduce swelling, aches and pains, left in these areas of injury or muscular tightness, whilst working on another part of the body. Coconut compresses are known to be helpful in eliminating facial lines, leaving the face glowing and younger looking.

Some scholars believe herbal compress massage was brought over to Thailand by Buddhist monks from India around 200 BC along with Thai Yoga Massage. Others believe compresses originated from Thai rural villagers and their medicine. Traditionally Thai compresses comprise of a mixture of herbs primarily lemongrass,prai or plai a type of ginger, turmeric, kaffir lime, camphor and tamarind as a base, which possess properies that are anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, astringent and antioxidant.Adding eucalyptus, peppermint, cloves or camphor help relieve sinuses as well as releasing their wonderful aromas. One heated compress can be applied whilst the other is steaming or both together, covered with flannels at first to prevent burning, until they cool enough to be left on certain areas or padded along the Sen energy body lines. Heat is primal. It gives a sense of safety and security. It helps take your nervous system out of the flight, fight or freeze response, enabling the release of tightly held tension, endorphins ‘our happy hormones’ and thus encourages deeper relaxation, emotional and physical wellbeing and better sleep.

Herbal Compress Therapy also:
relieves stress, anxiety and fatigue,
improves circulation of blood and lymph,
stimulates internal organs,
alleviates pain,
soothes stiff sore strained muscles and ligaments,
eases arthritis, migraines,
heals skin conditions and promotes cell growth,
soothes and clears the upper respiratory ailments such as the common cold and bronchitis,
invigorating and refreshing mind and body.

I will be teaching a workshop at Triyoga Camden later on in the year dates TBC, of how to make herbal compresses and how to apply them in a simple neck and shoulder routine. Bring a friend to partner up with or just come along by yourselves and enjoy an evening of aromas and massage.