A touch can create miracles
To touch and to be touched…Traditional Thai Yoga massage has an effect on one, as if hundreds of waves are touching the body. It is a privilege, in our day-to day lives, a gift to our selves. It reminds us that the healing touch is precious, while we become aware of our neglected or forgotten body parts, it offers an invitation to be at present. Thai Massage creates miracles, through magical touches on the energy pathways called the ‘SEN lines’ of the body and the acupressure points, using practitioner’s body weight rather than muscular force, for the transmission of soft but deep pressure and energy. It is a unique body theraphy and life-support system, which activates all parts of the body, invigorating, energizing and bringing longterm effects of relaxation.
The mainland of Thai massage is India, but the heart is in Thailand. With its 2500- yearlong past, it was brought to Thailand together with Buddism. It is a healing art, which incorporates 5000 years of ancient wisdom of Yoga poses, Indian Ayurvedic practices, acupressure points and reflexology (face, ears, feet and hands). It was developed by Dr. Shivago, who is also said to be Budha’s doctor. Thai massage has ancient roots, but is also affective on the ailments of our modern day. It used to be practiced by the monks in the temples for medical purposes. Thai Massage also has similarities with Chinese Medicine, where the meridiens affect specific organs, whereas in Thai massage, the ‘SEN lines’ follow the form of the body. Both teachings were developed on the basis of life’s elements and the energy channels, just like Yoga’s foundation of energy centers that are called chakras and the 72,000 nadis (energy lines running through body).
Thai Massage is practiced using palms, thumbs, feet and elbows. Thai Massage is powerful thanks to the deep stretches that the person by himself cannot do. Besides these stretches, soft tissue manipulation is also part of the Thai Massage. Using pressure appropriately, Thai massage affects the whole muscular system and the joints, it has positive effects on the skeletal system. It can also reach the connective tissues and mend parts of the body that cannot be seen with eyes. It is especially effective on the lymphatic system, with specific techniques pumping fresh blood towards lymphatic areas of the body. It helps eliminate the lactic acid out of the body. Thai massage opens and balances energy blockages, which help the body’s natural energy flow more freely. It opens the body and also maximizes the body’s potential. Thai massage movements stimulate the internal organs as well. Traditional Thai Massage is for all age groups and has therapatic effects on everyone. It is practiced with soft, comfortable clothes on a thick mat, on the floor. When it is practiced in a quiet, relaxed atmosphere with a good rhytm, it stimulates the parasympathic nerve system, soothes the body, reduces stress and lowers the blood pressure. It creates a meditative state for both the client and giver. It is a holistic practice, which helps overall well being. It is believed that all parts of the body are interconnected and there is a relationship between the body, mind and soul. After a Thai massage practice, just like in yoga, one is left with a feeling of lightness and unity of the whole being.
Impressions on Thai Massage in Thailand
Like a magnet, my feet pulled me to the Wat Pho Temple’s garden, where the Wat Pho Medical Center is situated towards the back… This center and the Thai Massages I received here, were so special and different from all the other Thai Massage centers, which can be found at every corner just like the hairdressers in the Far East. The temple is considered to be the first public university of Thailand. In 1962, a school of traditional medicine and Thai massage was founded. The temple is home to one of the earliest Thai massage schools. For Thai massage therapists, the medical inscription inside the temple acts as a basis for treatment. There are 60 plaques inscribed, 30 each for the front and back of human body. Therapeutic points and energy pathways known as SEN lines are engraved and the explanations are carved on the walls next to the plaques. Full research on the diagrams is still not completed.
In Bangkok, the Wat Pho-Bangkok style of Thai Massage is taught aiming at medical and therapatic effects to cure ailments, with direct and stronger pressures. Whereas in the North of Thailand, because of the ‘Lena culture’ which is more welcoming and softer, the traditional Northern style Nuad Bo-Rarn (meaning, body manipulation) Thai Massage is practiced and taught. One of the 5 main schools in Thailand to learn Traditional Thai Massage is ITM (International Training Massage School), located in Chiang Mai, where people from all over the world come and stay even for months here. The school is like United Nations! As I came here from a very cold climate, my body really enjoyed the 40-degree weather… During the Thai Massage trainings, my bones, joints and muscles were very happy, always stretching easily… Even 8 hours of daily practice did not physically make me tired. As Thai Massage is rooted on the Buddist culture, it also has a spiritual side. The opening mantra for the Thai Massage practice is called ‘Wai Khru’. It is used to focus on the intention of the practice to be effective, fruitful and beneficial both for the giver and the client. It is also to thank Dr. Shivago for developing this invaluable teaching. Every morning after the opening ceremony, we had a warm up session, which was a combination of Tai Chi, Qigong and Thai dance. It was a kind of soft warm up and energy practice, the movements and the accompanying music of which we found a little amusing in the beginning, but our bodies started demanding and enjoying it some time later… The music stayed in my mind for sometime and the words in my ears: ‘Sheee’… ‘poohhh’…Breathe in, breathe out…
During the Thai Massage learning process, using Western anatomical information helped me a lot. But ‘thinking Thai’, which means learning and feeling the energy lines of the body by touching and also by following the reactions of the client -which is not always easy- is the correct way to practice. Giving love, showing compassion and healing with Thai Massage is an energy medicine. Combined with the value given to all living creatures and human life in the Thai Culture, Thai Massage turns into a healing art. Leaving 120 hours of theoretical and practical knowledge of this ancient and noble teaching behind this year, has opened up brand new doors for me for the future…
Divya Beste Dolanay