HISTORY OF TRADITIONAL THAI MASSAGE
Over the course of many centuries, people living in the villages and temples of Thailand developed a unique type of interactive body-work called Nuad Phaen Boran ("traditional style massage") or Nuat Thai or ('Thai Massage"). It is based on the principles if compassion and healing, and it is an amazing synthesis of many different techniques, among them acupressure, stretching, reflexology, herbal medicine, prayer, and meditation. Traditional Thai Massage tones the muscles, increases the joints range of motion and balances the flow of energy throughout the body. The lineage is traced to Jivaka Komalaboat, also known as Shivago, the personal physician to the Sangha, a friend and physician to the Buddha and renowned as a healer in Buddhist tradition.
Based on a combination of influences from India, China and indigenous Thai traditions, Traditional Thai Medical arts have been handed down through generations, mostly through oral tradition and is practiced across Thailand in various forms today.
Traditional Thai Medicine (TTM) was taught orally from masters to pupils over centuries in Thai temples, or Wats. Additionally, the royal court kept medical texts written on leaves of coconuts, authoritative books and bodies of knowledge of buddhist sutras in Ayutthaya Thailand.
Most medical records, texts and government's records were lost when Burmese invaders destroyed the old capital of Ayutthaya in 1767. The remaining fragments were commissioned and drawn on stone etchings by King Rama III in 1832. Over sixty epigraphs displaying treatment points, herbal remedies and energy lines are on public display at the famous Wat Po temple complex in Bangkok.
The basis for Traditional Thai healing is rooted in the belief that all forms of life are sustained by a vital force (lom) that is carried along invisible pathways (sen) that run through our bodies. This force is extracted from air, water and food, and it is believed that disease and dysfunction come about when blockages occur along these pathways. Accordingly, Thai Massage’s intent is to free this trapped energy, stimulate the natural flow of life-force, and maintain a general balance of wellness.
Through assisted yoga, the body is able to be moved in ways that are difficult to attain through normal exercise and individual practice. Relaxed, deep breathing helps to bring about proper balance and a peaceful state of mind. Thai Massage is also a spiritual discipline since it incorporates the Buddhist principles of mindfulness (breath awareness) and loving kindness (focused compassion). The benefits of all these techniques, when shared by practitioner and client, help to bring the treatment session to a focused and profound level. The result of a full-body Thai session is often an exciting and powerful mind/body experience, bringing both the recipient and the practitioner to greater states of physical and mental well-being.
Over the past fifteen years, traditional Thai Massage has begun to spread outside of Thailand. Thai Massage is extremely popular in the West and is among the fastest growing massage modalities in America over the last decade. At Champaka Thai Massage and Spa, our goal is to bring Traditional Thai Massage to America in order to share these amazing ancient healing arts in their authentic form.