Herbal Ball Compress

Herbal Ball Compress

What is an herbal ball compress?

Herbal Ball Compress

What is an Herbal Ball Compress?

The healing practice of the Thai herbal compress therapy dates nearly 5,000 years, to a time when the knowledge of plants, including their effects through ingestion or application to the body, were painstakingly researched and then passed down from one generation to the next. This herbal therapy was designed to relieve pain and inflammation. A selection of therapeutic herbs, including plai, ginger, turmeric and lemongrass, are wrapped in a muslin compress, steamed and then applied to the body in gentle pressing, circular and rolling movements.

In Thailand, the herbal compress is called luk pra kob, translated as “herbal pressing sphere.” While in Thailand I was taught how to make and use these compresses. A combination of healing herbs is bundled together in accordance with ancient recipes, steamed and placed directly on the skin to soothe muscular aches and swelling.

Some scholars believe that herbal compress massage was first introduced to Thailand by monks from India, who established the first Buddhist monasteries in Thailand around 200 B.C. Others believe it originated from rural folk medicine and was passed on by word of mouth through an unbroken chain of masters, or through secret manuscripts that changed hands from teacher to student. 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.

The Technique Moves West
Thai medicine experts say that knowledge of herbal compresses made its way to the West by practitioners who traveled to schools, such as the Old Medicine Hospital in Chang Mai and Wat Po in Bangkok, and studied the art directly from Thai masters. In the US, where an herbal compress is sometimes referred to as an herbal stem or herbal ball, and increasing number of spas and individual therapists are offering the treatment to their clients.

Worlds Collide
The herbal ball allows you to provide aromatherapy, thermal therapy (hot stone treatments) and herbal therapy all in one modality that is new and unique. It is believed that once herbal compress is widely available and direct experience has grown, herbal ball therapy will become a highly requested treatment, much like hot stone therapy is now.

Benefits of Herbal Ball Compress
The Thai herbal compress technique offers several potential health benefits:

  • Induces relaxation
  • Relieves stress and fatigue
  • Boosts both emotional and physical well-being
  • Assists alignment and postural integrity of the body
  • Improves circulation of blood
  • Stimulates the internal organs

The hot compresses are ideal for alleviating:

  • Pain
  • Stiff, sore or pulled muscles and ligaments
  • Chronic back aches
  • Arthritis
  • Migraines
  • Chronic stress
  • Anxiety

Herbal Ball Ingredients

Herbal Ball Compress Ingredients

Raw herbal ball compress ingredients

The compress traditionally consists of a mixture of several herbs, most containing the six basic herbs as a base:

  • Lemongrass
  • Prai
  • Turmeric
  • Kaffir lime
  • Camphor
  • Tamarind

These herbs posses properties that are anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, astringent and antioxidant. They are typically used to address sprains, bruises and sore muscles, cleanse and heal the skin by promoting cell growth, and aid upper respiratory aliments such as bronchitis, asthma and the common cold.

I have had people ask me for more information about the ingredients of the Herbal Ball so I created a complete list of what goes inside one of the herbal ball.

The Application

A typical session using herbal compress application is an integral part of the Thai discipline of hot therapy.

During your session your therapist will have two compresses available for use. They will both be headed using a steamer. Only one will be used at a time. Your therapist will have one placed on the heat source, while the other is applied to you. As one compress starts to cool, your therapist will trade it for the hot one. If the compress is to hot, let your therapist know and they will place it to the side to cool. It can also be used over your clothing to give an additional layer of protection from the heat.

If you are interested in learning more about the herbal compress treatment, send an email to massage@terrhabanakas.com, or call 865-964-5215 and we can discuss if this treatment is right for you.