‘ve been going to yoga classes for around 40 years, but I’d never realised until now there is something called yoga massage. Having just had my first ever treatment, I can say it’s quite extraordinary to have experienced a completely passive form of yoga.

Instead of stepping, twisting and bending through a series of yoga postures, or asanas, all I had to do was lie down on a futon, close my eyes, and let the practitioner do the rest. I could even keep all my clothes on.

It was quite blissful, and left me feeling thoroughly relaxed, a bit as if I’d followed an active yoga class with massage and meditation.

 Thai Yoga Massage is a centuries old form of treatment that has its roots in the Ayurvedic and yoga traditions of India, as well as Buddhism, combining elements of both. Practised widely in Thailand, where traditional Thai foot massage is also common, it is now becoming increasingly popular here.

 In ‘normal’ massage the practitioner works directly on the muscles of the body with their hands. In contrast, in ThaiYoga Massage, also called Nuad Boran, the therapist moves the client through a series of yoga postures as they lie on the floor, while palming and thumbing along the body’s energy (‘Sen’) lines and pressure points. This holistic therapy aims to balance the body’s energy system by working on ten main meridians, or lines, that run throughout the body, known as the Ten Sen. The practitioner uses thumbs, palms, elbows, and feet to apply a combination of acupressure, gentle twisting, and assisted yoga stretches.

 It’s benefits are similar to yoga, including improving flexibility and circulation, and helping to relieve stress and anxiety.