Thai massage history
Thailand’s history is a fusion of different cultures and influences, of many ethnic groups, the principal ones being: Tai, Khmer Mon and Lowa.
For many centuries Thailand has been mainly influenced by China and India.
Indian influence can be noticed in the language, literature and religion while that of China can be felt in the food, art, architecture and medicine.
However Buddism remains the direct contact point between these three cultures, introduced to Thailand under the wishes
of Indian King Ashoka who sent monks to spread Buddha’s teachings and to build temples dedicated to him.
Concerning Thai massage the Buddist movement acted as a go between for it’s expansion by Indian doctor Jivaka Kumar Bhacca who based
his technique on Ayuevedic and Yoga traditions.
Today these close connections are still visible and one can note certain postures come from yoga,
from many words used in Sasnkrit and Pali and from close spiritual links, in fact a massage often begins with a prayer dedicated to Jivaka asking for help to heal the person.
Jivaka’s fame as doctor was extraordinary, Buddha publicly proclaimed him 3 times “the king of doctors”. He was an expert pediatric
doctor and an excellent surgeon. Today, he is even still considered “the father of medicine” by many Thai people.
The theory of Thai massage has been handed down and transmitted from teacher to student for a long time until it was written on palm
leaves in Pali language using Khmer scripture. These writings were worshipped for many years.
Today, after the Burmese invasion in 1776 only a small part remains. They were saved and gathered by King Rama 3 in 1832 which not
only helped in the creation of 60 stone slabs on which the human body was engraved, 30 front and 30 back positions. On these figures,
the therapeutic points are illustrated on the energy lines which run all over the body and which are called Sen.
These stone slabs were then put into use with explanations attached on the walls of Phra Chetaphon temple more well-known as Wat po in Bangkok,
the first thai massage public education centre. Today Wat Po remains one of the most important traditional Thai massage study centres.
Chiang Mai, the second largest city is the other main massage hub. Lessons can be had in both cities as well as lots of other centres.
More and more people have begun to appreciate this massage style, both for its harmonious technique and for the physical, emotional and energetic benefits.