Thai Massage History
What is "Thai Massage"?
Thai Massage, "the
practical expression of loving kindness", can be traced through
Thailand's history, more than 1000 years to the Ayurvedic teachings of
Atreya and the Vasrayana or Diamond Healing lineage of Tibet.
He is credited with
spreading the practice of Thai Yoga Bodywork to the Thai Sangha or
monastic community as a way to soothe the muscles and ease body pain
experienced by Theravadin monks after long hours of practicing
meditation (Vipassana and Samatha bhavana).
The monks and nuns cherished the
teachings of Shivago which came to be known as Traditional Thai Medical
Massage, called 'nuat phaen boran thai', literally means 'the old Thai
way of healing with the hands'. The monks, supported by Thai royalty,
preserved the teachings. They passed them down from one generation to
the next in the form of an oral tradition. Each master in turn would
personally transmit and pass on the lineage and knowledge to the next
generation in a solemn ceremony. Years of intense, disciplined, practice
and meditation were required in all of the healing methods.
In addition, this healing system was utilized by the sangha as a way to aid sick and injured people within the community.
Over time, this comprehensive
practice has evolved into a uniquely Thai art incorporating yogic
stretches, deep compressions, acupressure, herbal and spa treatments,
meditation, and Buddhist philosophies.
In 1985, the Thai Massage
Revival Project was established to inform people of the benefits of Thai
bodywork and to educate therapists on the safe practice of this therapy.
The project continues to work on developing curriculums, codes of
practice, licensing regulations, and materials on the history and
practice of Thai traditional medicine.