The history of Thai Massage is an enduring story that goes back thousands of years. Thai massage is one of the most desired physical art forms on the planet, not only for the alluring quality of its practitioners but also for the deeply relaxing trance-like state acquired by those who fall under its hypnotic spell. The methods and techniques employed by those who would claim an ability in Thai massage are passed down from generation to generation in a sacred cycle known only to a select few.
Since its inception over 2,500 years ago, Thai massage has migrated around the globe, much to the enjoyment of thousands of patrons who adore the art on a regular basis. To better appreciate this magnificent art form, an understanding of history is encouraged. Read on to discover just what makes Thai massage one of the most well-known and well-regarded bodywork art forms in the world.
Thai Massage History and Origin
Over 2,500 years ago, monks in Thai monasteries practiced the careful art of meditation. This practice wore down their minds and bodies relentlessly, leading to many complications and issues. For years and years, they lived in pain from this fatigue until one Shivago Komarpaj, a real, live Buddha, invented a method of bodily stretches and muscle tension releases meant to soothe the monks recovering from deep, involving meditation and to help cure the ailments they suffered as a result of this meditation.
Nuns and Monks learned and carried on Shivago’s teachings, distilling them into a format which became known as Traditional Thai Medical Massage, pronounced in the Thai language as ‘nuat phaen boran thai’, directly meaning ‘the old Thai way of healing with the hands. The monks, with support from Thai royalty, preserved the knowledge, and as a result, Thai massage has become more and more prevalent today.
Over time, this all-encompassing system has changed naturally into a uniquely Eastern Thai art which includes stretches borrowed from yoga, deep muscle compressions, acupressure, herbal and scented treatments, deep meditation, and Buddhist philosophies. The knowledge of this practice remained in place and in use through history in the verbal form but was not officially recognized until the 1830′s when King Rama III established the venerable Wat Po.
The Wat Po was a series of statues and stone carvings that depicted, visually, the hallowed techniques of Thai Massage. In the 1870s, King Rama V ordered the making of a textbook of Thai Massage, finished at the start of the twentieth century. During the early 1900s, Thai massage became a recognized profession within the practice of traditional Thai medicine.
Thai Massage History
Today, Thai massage continues going strong in our communities through knowledgeable practitioners and eager customers wanting to know just what all the buzz was about. Thai massage is fun, enjoyable, and safe to practice — the way it was 2,500 years ago!
The modern discipline of Clinical Thai Bodywork was established during the 20th century, continuing the work of the whole Thai Massage Community (TMC) and informing practitioners on new learning regarding the musculature of the human body, keeping the entire practice safe from legal recourse and any possible injury.
The origin of the Traditional Medical Massage of Thailand is found within the story of its people. Throughout the course of its history, Thailand has seen an influx of different cultures. The history of traditional Thai medicine is interwoven within the cultural imprint left by these people.
With this, came Ayurvedic principles, Hatha Yoga poses, and Buddhist spiritual practice. Mixing with indigenous Thai medicine, this Indian influence forms a significant basis of what is now Thai bodywork. The Indian Doctor Shivaka Komarpaj, a friend and personal physician to the living Buddha is credited as the founder of Thai medicine and the Father of traditional Thai Massage. A prayer chant to “the Father Doctor” is still recited each day by practitioners of massage in Thailand.
What is a Traditional Thai Massage
At that time, none of the Thai Massage procedures were written down but passed down through the generations orally. Eventually, however, medical texts were recorded including descriptions of the massage techniques. These were held as sacred religious texts in the old Siamese capital city of Ayutthaya until the 18th-century Burmese invasion. Most of the ancient medical texts were destroyed in 1776 during the invasion of Ayutthaya by the Burmese.
In 1832 King Rama III ordered all surviving texts inscribed in stone and set them into the walls at Wat Pho, the largest temple in Bangkok, to preserve the valuable records that were left. The epigraphs consist of 60 stone plagues, 30 depicting the front of the body and 30 of the back, each demonstrating the energy lines (sen lines) and pressure points along these lines.
These stone carvings are all that remain of the theoretical foundations of Thai Massage as we know it today. Therefore, much of the history and tradition is obscured in time and somewhat mysterious. The epigraphs can still be seen on a visit to Wat Pho, the national center for the teaching and preservation of traditional Thai medicine.
Thai Foot Massage
A Thai foot massage is a massage of the lower legs and feet. It involves a variety of massage techniques using the thumbs, knuckle, and hands as well as a small wooden stick. This specifically designed stick is used to stimulate the reflex points on the feet that match up to the internal organs of the body.
A lot of practitioners have used therapeutic foot massage for a very long time in order to treat various diseases and alleviate pain. Its origin can be traced back to about 500 B.C. These methods were brought to Thailand where they have been practiced through generations of practitioners.
Often overlooked, a Thai foot massage is a powerful form of healing frequently leaving clients feeling refreshed and light. Targeting reflex points in the feet can help improve various ailments throughout the body and help to bring balance promoting general health and wellbeing. It helps to open up the energy lines in the body known as Sen lines, similar to Meridian lines in Chinese Medicine.
Thai foot massage is thought to help eliminate toxins in the body. Practitioners massage the portion between the ankle and the heel on both sides of the foot. This might stimulate the lymphatic system, which helps remove toxins and bacteria from the body. Strategic massaging of the feet is also thought to ease eyestrain and helps enhance the clarity of vision.
These benefits are considered to be formed through slowly massaging the muscles between the third and fourth toes, which might ease pressure on nerves related to the eyes.
The nerve in the base of the fourth toe is thought to be joined to the heart. Practitioners think that pain in this part shows a heart problem. Long massage is considered to alleviate the pain in the joint and boost up the health of the heart. The nerves between the second and third toes of the foot are considered to be associated with the head. Practitioners put pressure on the nerves between those toes in an effort to ease headaches.
To find out more about this delightful therapy, proceed to your local Thai massage parlor and experience complete relaxation and its several benefits.
History Of Thai Massage
The development of Thai massage is often credited to the spread of Buddhism from India to the rest of Asia. In India, Buddhist monks commonly practiced Ayurvedic medicine and used healing techniques as a way to manifest their fundamental belief of loving-kindness.
It is thought that as the monks brought their teachings to Thailand, they combined their practice of healing and spirituality with the treatment styles of the Thai people and of traditional Chinese medicine. Eventually, Thai massage evolved into a unique form of bodywork consisting of reflexology, muscular compression, acupressure, joint manipulation, and stretching.
Often described as “lazy man’s yoga,” this 2,500-year-old modality is still commonly practiced throughout Thailand today. Resembling a cross between Shiatsu and yoga, the massage is performed on a mat placed on the floor with both the recipient and therapist wearing loose comfortable clothing.
The recipient is completely passive as the practitioner applies rhythmic pressure and stretches along the body’s energy lines and guides them through assisted yoga postures. The various techniques utilized throughout the massage aid in rejuvenating the body and centering the mind, leaving the receiver both deeply relaxed and highly energized.
Traditional Thai Massage is the most effective Therapeutic technique to energize and strengthen the body. The six key aspects of Traditional Thai Massage are yoga (stretching), exercise, meditation, reflexology, acupressure, and healing power.
Combined together, the full benefits of having Thai Massage are attained, plus the use of Thai ancient remedies and herbs penetrate deeper and reach troubled areas far beneath the surface.
Stress, stiffness, chronic pain, insomnia, loss of flexibility, free radicals, or sickness causes an imbalance in body energy. Traditional Thai Massage not only aids in body development and performance, but also helps rejuvenate and improve the pituitary, thyroid, adrenal, and sex glands.
It stabilizes the nervous system to release endorphins, enhances the flow of blood and oxygen inside the body, increases muscular tone, joint movement, flexibility, and elasticity of the spine, creating better posture which leads to more energy and positive life force. Traditional Thai Massage also promotes more restful sleep.
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