Thousands of years ago, a dynamic therapy based on a combination of yoga and Ayurveda practices, came to be known in the temples of Thailand. This therapeutic art was rooted in the Indian healing traditions of Ayurvedic medicine. Jivaka Kumarbhacca, the founder of Thai Yoga Massage, was a well-known doctor and yogi who gave treatments to the Buddha, among others. After the Buddha passed away, Buddhist monks travelled to Southeastern Asia while accompanied by Ayurvedic doctors. These Ayurvedic doctos practiced a healing art, which would evolve and be known as Thai Massage.
During the practice of Thai Yoga Massage, which is also known as Nuad Boran, the practitioner guides the client through a series of yoga poses, while simultaneously palming and thumbing along the body’s pressure points and energy lines. The client’s body is also compressed, pulled, stretched and rocked during the practice. The combination of the yoga postures with the palming and thumbing actions, the body is given an all encompassing treatment that releases muscular tension, improves circulation, gives a boost to the immune system, and encourages balance of energy throughout the body.
Thai Yoga Massage is typically practiced on a mat on the floor and both the practitioner and the client are dressed in comfortable clothing, which allows for ease of movement and flexibility, as it typical for other yoga practices. Traditional Thai Massage uses no oils or lotions. A full Thai Massage may last two hours and includes rhythmic pressing and stretching of the entire body.
It is not required for a practitioner to become a Buddhist to practice this healing art, though it is helpful to understand principles of Buddhism. The traditional name for this healing art is “ancient, anachronistic or Old Thai Way of Healing with the Hands,” but it has come to be called “Thai Massage” over the years.