Thai Traditional massage is a valuable and indigenous body of wisdom from our Thai ancestors. It was seen that Thai massage had an important role in treatment from the past until now. It was believed that Thai massage was originated to cure themselves within the family, for example, husband giving massage to his wife, children giving massage to their parents and grandparents. They gave a massage by using parts of the body such as elbows, knees, and feet to self-massage,
In addition, Thai-style exercise (Rue See Dad Ton) was used to adjust anatomy by oneself easily. Due to the fact that they had the knowledge of massage within the family, they could give a massage to neighbors. Finally, the clients or patients trusted that Thai massage was a popular, efficient and respectable way of curing, and it became one of the most famous occupations.
From the historical evidence on stone inscriptions, it was found that Thai massage was used to treat some illnesses from Sukhothai period in the reign of King Ramkamheang. However, Thai traditional medicine, especially Thai massage, was most prosperous in Ayutthaya period in the reign of King Narai. The evidence of Lalubaire’s dispatch indicated that the Siamese used Thai massage to cure some illnesses, to relieve pain or to give birth easily.
Rattanakosin period, Thai traditional medicine was descended from Ayutthaya period. During the war some document and
textbooks vanished, however, a lot of folk healers still existed in the rural area.
In the reign of King Rama I, 80 statues of hermits, Thai-style exercising and the inscription of Thai traditional massage were created at Wat Po (Medical School).
In the reign of King Rama IV, the textbooks of Thai traditional massage and traditional medicine were reviewed and revised. After western medicine came into Thai society in the reign of King Rama VI, Thai traditional massage had been neglected from the royal palace. But folk massage had still an important role for villagers. Thai traditional massage was continuously evolved and developed. Currently, Thai traditional massage is divided into two patterns; royal Thai massage and folk massage.
Royal Thai massage
Royal Thai massage refers to massage which applying to the King, his royal family, and his aristocracy. It’s considered that royal Thai massage is very nice because it uses only hands and fingers to control the weight of massage, directly pressed on the pain point. It is said that its characteristic is special unique and the masseur must be expertise and know the theory of 10 Sen, the concept of invisible energy lines running through the body.
Royal Thai massage consists of basic massage, arms basic massage (outer and inner arms), shoulders basic massage, massage to trapezius, head massage (front and back head), massage to rectus abdominis.
Folk massage refers to massage which is applying to the family or general public. It is said that its characteristic depends on local culture. It is suitable for villagers to massage each other by using hands, elbows, knees , forehands and the edge of feet. So, folk massage is well know and widespread in Thai society for a long time.