Traditional Thai Massage (TTM) has a long history of over 2,500 years. It originated as a distillation of Indian Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese healing arts into a yoga-based method based on lines, points and remedies. The Thai system, to the present day, is based on these primary energy lines (meridians) and wind gates (chakras). TTM system of Ayurvedic medicine owes much of its early systematization, preservation, and subsequent propagation to ascetic Buddhists and their monastic institution. Throughout the ages, the practitioners of this medicine were Therevada Buddhist monks, practicing their healing at the monasteries.
As Thailand is located along the trade routes between India and China and Buddhism spreads out from India, this healing medicine spread along with it. It found its way to Southeast Asia where, for centuries, it was practiced by monks as one element of indigenous Thai medicine. Thai people, believing illness results from an imbalance in the body, mind and spirit would then seek healing at their local temples.
Evolution of Thai Massage
The evolution of Thai massage is shrouded in the mystery of time caused by the destruction of written records during the Burmese invasion of the Siamese capital of Ayutthaya in 1767. However,the influenced of yoga, ayurvedic medicine, and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is obvious, as the movements are based on the asanas of yoga, and the attention to pressure points is similar to the nadis of Ayurveda and the meridians of Chinese medicine. Buddhist monks and nuns would later integrate any beneficial medical system to the one brought from India.
The influence from China, India and other surrounding countries has played an important role in enriching the existing Thai Traditional Massage System. As a result of modernization and western influences, traditional Thai massage which earlier was practiced in Buddhist temples by monks and nuns is no longer limited to the temples and its vicinities.
Benefits of Traditional Thai Massage
TTM is beneficial for both the young or old, active or inactive, healthy or not so healthy. TTM has been used for countless generations to treat degenerative conditions and promote wellness. However, each person will respond in terms of their own experience and present state of health. TTM builds upon the body’s natural desire for complete health and a sense of ease and well-being.
The benefits of Thai Traditional Massage include pain relief, reduced anxiety, depression, reduced blood pressure and heart rate. Other benefits of TTM include blocking pain signals to the brain (gate control theory), activating the parasympathetic nervous system to stimulate the release of endorphins and serotonin, preventing fibrosis or scar tissue, increasing the flow of lymph, and improving sleep but these benefits have not been supported by extensive clinical studies.