The origin of Thai Massage traces back to the time of Yogic and Ayurvedic medicine existing 2500 years ago, at the time of the historical Buddha. The credit for the development of Thai Massage as a medical practice goes to a well renowned Indian doctor named Dr. Jivaka Komarpaj, who was the personal physician of the Buddha and the monks in the monasteries of the time. His name is mentioned in the traditional writings of Theravada Buddism which views him as “the father of medicine”.
Through the centuries the monks, who were the practitioners of medicine, transmitted to Thailand both Buddhist practices and Ayurvedic medicine which eventually became an integral part of Thai culture. The generations of experience and knowledge learnt and passed down, through feeling and intuition, has made Thai Massage one of the four principal components of traditional thai medicine, along with nutrition, herbal medicine and spiritual practice.
In 1836, King Rama III made a royal decree that inscriptions of ancient arts and sciences should be collected at Wat Po, as a sort of university of Medical Science. Wat Po has been teaching these methods to practioners since 1962.
The theoretical foundation of Thai Massage is based on the concept that a life force (also known as prana, chi or energy flow) circulates throughout the body maintaining health and vitality. This life force – invisible currents that can be felt and experienced – is believed to run along approximately 7,200 energy lines or Sens, roughly equivalent to the meridians of Chinese acupuncture and to the Ayurvedic channels. When this energy flow is blocked or restricted, it creates sickness or disease.
To clear these blockages Thai Massage combines the application of pressure (produced with hands, thumbs, elbows, forearms, feet and knees) with manipulation, adjustment and muscle stretching in a full bodywork which improves overall health and well-being. Energy pathways are cleared, muscles are elongated, joints are freed, internal organs and all bodily functions are stimulated into moving towards a more balanced state.