Thai Massage and Blood Stops
One technique usend in traditional Thai massage is called a Blood Stop, which, in Thai, is called Opening the Wind Gate. The Thai massage practitioner applies direct pressure with their palms or feet to the femoral artery, located in the groin, or to the axillary artery, located in the armpit, to slow the blood flow into the legs and arms respectively. The length of the compression varies, usually 15-45 seconds, and is only done on healthy individuals – never on anyone with heart disease, high blood pressure or varicose veins.
One benefit of a Blood Stop is that it builds a stronger circulatory system. By slowing the blood flow through the limb’s primary artery and routing it to deeper, less frequently used arteries, the body is encouraged the body to build strength in secondary arteries.
Another benefit to stopping the blood involves detoxification and removal of stagnant blood. Although arterial blood flow decreases during a blood stop, venous return continues unimpeded. The suction of venous blood back towards the heart increases in the vessels of the limbs affected by the blood stop. Stagnant blood, which would ordinarily pool at the far ends of the limbs, is returned back into circulation. When the pressure on the artery is released, a rush of fresh oxygenated blood courses through the arteries, capillaries and veins, further removing stagnant blood and toxins that accumulate on the walls of the blood vessels.