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What is Thai massage
Traditional Thai massage has it roots in India , in the Indian yoga tradition and in Buddhism. The practices that grew into Thai massage travelled to what we now call Thailand from India over 2,000 years ago. They were brought by Indian Buddhist monks and Ayurvedic practitioners who had been invited to northern Thailand by the Mon rulers of that region. Thai massage has been a part of traditional Thai medicine ever since.
PAST AND PRESENT PRACTICES
In most parts of Thailand , the practice and developing knowledge of Thai medicine and Thai massage was and still is passed directly from teacher to student, leading to a wonderfully broad and eclectic approach to this ancient art. Traditionally, Thai massage was practiced within temple compounds-not by monks, but by ordinary people who happily offered their healing arts to the community.
In modern-day Thailand, temples continue to function as the center of the community, as a place where people come together and enjoy all kinds of social gatherings. Among Thai people, massage is still seen as a form of hands-on healing and therapeutic touch that is an everyday part of a normal and healthy life.
THE ENERGY SYSTEM
Thai massage is based on the concept of a human being consisting of more than just their physical body, According to Indian Yoga tradition, we are made up of five different bodies or koshas. These are the physical body, the prana or energy body, the memory body, the subconscious body, and the all-encompassing cosmic body, within which all the koshas are interconnected. This concept can be useful to embrace as a physical, mental and emotional experience within us.
It is the pranamaya kosha,the energy body, that we work with primarily in Thai massage and yoga. In the pranamaya kosha, yoga philosophy perceives many thousands of nadis, or energy lines. Thai massage has selected ten of these lines, called sen, which are all worked on during a treatment to rebalance the energy flow within the whole body.
THAI MASSAGE AND YOGA
Other healing practices, such as Chinese medicine and Japanese shiatsu, also view the body as a map of energy lines, which are known as meridians. There are many crossover points and areas of common ground among the Eastern systems, but Thai massage is more closely linked to the Indian yoga tradition. We can see quite strongly the links between yoga and Thai massage as it is practiced today, It is often referred to as Thai yoga massage, highlighting the use of applied and passive hatha yoga stretches that give the massage its dynamic flow.
People often ask why Thai massage involves such as a physically dynamic workout if it is a form of energy. Rebalancing, on way of looking at this is to understand that we manifest energy physically in the form of bones, muscle, skin and so on. So, the physical body can be seen as a point of access through which we are able to contact the more subtle aspects of the self. When we open the body with passive yoga stretches, we feel it physically but as in a yoga practice, the intention is ultimately to stimulate the energy flow within the body. This principle is important to remember-it is a reminder that Thai massage is not based upon the anatomical system that is understood in the West. But has its own logic and methodology.
Thai Massage step-by-step
This edition is published by Southwater, an imprint of Anness Publishing Ltd, Blaby Road , Wigston, Leicestershire LE18