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Thai Massage, Explanation of the Art

Often referred to as Thai Yoga massage, this style of bodywork is different from what most western people think of as massage. It is practiced fully clothed on a floor mat without oils or lotions. Thai massage techniques, using the thumbs, elbows, palms, forearms, feet, and knees include: rocking, rhythmic muscle compression, assisted yoga positions and stretching, working along energy meridians called Sen lines. Three of the Sen lines run along the same areas as the yogic nadis, the Indian version of energy lines, affecting certain chakras (energy centres) in treatment. A session is practiced very slowly (sometimes for more than two hours), in a choreographed "dance" as the practitioner moves the receiver around the mat, creating a relaxed, meditative state for both.


The purpose of Thai massage is to bring the body, mind, and spirit into a state of balance and harmony, providing an opportunity for self-healing. The practitioner always begins the session with "Puja", a moment of centering and connection, paying attention to Promwihan Sii, the Four States of Mind: loving kindness, compassion, vicarious joy, and equanimity. This practice helps therapist and receiver to enter a state of meditation, to be mindful of prana (energy and breathing), creating an empty vessel to receive healing energy and to achieve freedom from attachment. During Puja, the practitioner recognizes and asks for assistance from the lineage of teachers (God, Buddha, Dr. Jivaka, her own personal teacher). The practitioner checks in with herself to make sure she is okay with doing the session and with working with the person on her mat. She asks for healing for the receiver, herself, anyone else she knows who needs healing, the world and the earth.

Thai massage & Ayurvedic healing: Patricia Kilpatrick explains the art of dosha-specific bodywork - Brief Article

New Life Journal, Feb-March, 2002 by Patricia Kilpatrick


COPYRIGHT 2002 Natural Arts

COPYRIGHT 2003 Gale Group

 In Fifth Century BC India, the Buddha befriended Dr. Jivaka Kumarbhaccha, a famous Ayurvedic healer. Dr. Jivaka became the head physician for the original Sangha community of Buddhist monks and followers. This man is known as "The Father Doctor" of Traditional Thai Medicine. Dr. Jivaka travelled to Thailand, the crossroads for merchant trade between India and the Far East. Recognizing the value of China's ancient medicine, he combined it with his Ayurvedic knowledge and created the four branches of Traditional Thai Medicine: herbal remedies, nutritional medicines, spiritual practices and Nuad Bo'Rarn or Thai Massage.


The word "Nuad" means "to touch with purpose of healing" and the "Bo'Rarn" is Sanskrit for something that is ancient and revered. An integral part of Thai Massage includes the practices of yoga and meditation. The knowledge and training of Thai massage has been handed down through centuries by the monks of the Buddhist monasteries, or Wats. One of the most famous learning institutions for Thai medicine is Wat Pho in Bangkok where Thai massage is still taught today.



Thai Massage Page 1, All about Thai Massage
Thai Massage Page 3,  The Benefits