There is no better way to take time off from the adventures, sights and shopping of Thailand than to be taken to a state of total relaxation with a Traditional Thai Massage.
On every street corner, in every hotel, in every spa, you can experience the wonderful touch of a Traditional Thai masseur. How much you pay will depend on where you go, but they range from $5 Australian dollars on the street to about $100 at a five-star spa – and if you are too tired to go to them, they will come to you!
History of Thai Massage
Massage has a long history of therapeutic healing in Thailand. The roots of Thai Massage are traced back to India. The fonder of the practice was Jivaka Komarabhacca, a doctor friend and contemporary of Buddha, about 2,500 years ago.
Much of what is known in Thailand about traditional massage was handed down from one generation to the next, teacher to student and often, parent to child.
Most of the ancient medical texts were destroyed in 1776 with the destruction of Ayutthaya by the Burmese. What was left was literally carved in stone in 1832, when king Rama 3, in hopes of preserving the tradition of massage, had stone inscriptions set into the walls at the Wat Poh temple in Bangkok.
Therapeutic massage for treatment of specific conditions and diseases is also practiced by only a small number of very skilled people. It takes several years of study and a good working knowledge of the language.
The Chinese and Indians are thought to have had an influence in the therapies and treatments developed in Thailand.
The theoretical basis of Thai Massage lies in the theory of energy lines running through the body. Out of the 72,000 energy lines said to be in existence, the focus is on the 10 major lines, called “Sen”.
Important acupressure points are found on these lines. Treatments for the whole body, different organs and diseases are often done using the System of the Ten Sen.
Working on these energy lines helps to remove any blockages and allow free flow of energy through the body.
Benefits of Traditional Thai Massage
In modern day Thailand, many of the Thais include traditional Thai massage as an essential part of their monthly routine. This is because Thai massage is used as a form of maintenance to prevent pain, rather than as a means of curing it. Although expert Thai practitioners are able to treat chronic pain of all kinds when it occurs also.
The Thais claim that regular Thai massage, as a result of the improved circulation it induces, can slow down the ageing process especially the wrinkling of skin on different parts of the body.
Receivers of Thai massage experience relaxation throughout the body and absolute tranquillity of the mind.
Other benefits include:
- Improved blood and lymph circulation
- The mind can be stimulated to a naturally mild euphoric state
- The body receives more oxygen and nutrients and the immune system becomes more efficient in fending off disease
- Muscles are helped to rid themselves of toxins
- Stiffness and pain is prevented
- Good muscle tone is preserved
- Flexibility is improved
- Internal organs are stimulated to function to best capacity
- Improvement occurs in digestion, absorption of nutrients and elimination of waste.
The Wat Po temple is the Thai National Centre for teaching and preservation of traditional Thai medicine.
Author: Kris Abbey
Images thanks to Kamalya, Koh Samui, Thailand
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