The History Of Thai Massage


Do you know that Thai Yoga massage practice is over a thousand years old?

As a result of its healing properties (both physical and emotional level), Thai massage still occupies an essential place in the medical system of Thailand.

In this article, we will discuss the history of Thai massage. So let’s get started now! 

Also Read: History Of Massage Therapy In The United States

The Origin of Thai Massage

Where does Thai massage originate from?

Many historians trace the origin of Thai Massage to India. Besides, its yoga philosophy is evidence that supports the origin of Thai massage in Ancient India.

Chiwaka Komaraphat (ชีวกโกมารภัจจ์ Jīvaka Komarabhācca) is assumed by many to have founded Thai massage and medicine. In the Pāli Buddhist Canon, it was said that Chiwaka was the Buddha’s physician over 2,500 years ago.

According to ancient documents, Chiwaka had extraordinary medical skills and profound knowledge of herbal medicine. He also treated many important people of his era, including the great Buddha himself.

Nevertheless, getting to know the actual history of Thai massage goes beyond knowing the legend of Chiwaka Komaraphat.

Thai massage involves influences from Chinese, Indian, Southeast Asian cultural spheres as well as medicine traditions. The art as it’s practiced in recent years involves combining different healing traditions from all over Thailand.

However, there are significant differences in Thailand from region to region and not a single routine or theoretical framework that is generally accepted by healers.

What Techniques Are Used With Thai massage?

Traditional Thai massage practitioners use their elbows, forearms, thumbs, hands, and even feet to alleviate muscle tension in their clients.

Thai massage is based on the principle that energy travels through your body along the Sens. (Sens are predictable lines or pathways). 

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So the Thai practitioner moves their client’s body into yoga-like poses and pulls and rocks their body in different ways. That increases the flow of energy along with the Sens.

Thai massage is distinct from other massage types due to the combination of stretches, movement, and pressure. 

Therefore, Thai massage can be an alternative for you if you want a more active massage, where you move and engage rather than lie down for the duration of the massage.

Thai Massage Vs. Classic Western Styles 

The lack of equipment is probably the first difference you will notice between a Thai massage and the classic western styles. 

For instance, a Swedish massage and deep tissue massage take place on a massage table, whereas a Thai massage takes place on a floor mat. 

This gives the client a wider range of motion – which is convenient. In contrast to western massage styles, you don’t just lie on your back or stomach with a Thai massage.

Also, your therapist has an even greater advantage because he will be on the floor instead of bent over a table.

During a Thai massage session, the practitioner moves around and over the client to reach a wide range of angles over each area of the body. It doesn’t matter if the client is much taller than the Thai therapist.

Instead of just using the standard tools(like elbows, fists, hands, and forearms) for the Swedish massage- the Thai massage therapist can use legs and feet. They often combine both to create leverage when starting deep stretches of the client’s arms, shoulders, hips, and legs.

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Benefits Of Thai Massage

Mentioned below are some benefits of Thai massage:

  • It helps to lower stress and anxiety. 
  • It can boost energy levels.
  • It can alleviate body pains and headaches 
  • It stimulates blood circulation 
  • It Improves range of motion and flexibility

Risks And safety

Studies show that Thai massage can have a significant effect on the circulatory system of an individual. Hence you should consult your doctor before you schedule a Thai massage session. 

This is essential, especially if you have the below:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease or coronary artery disease
  • Recent surgery
  • Conditions that affect your spine, like neurological diseases and osteoporosis
  • Diabetes, open wounds, and cancer
  • Burns and bleeding disorders
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Thrombocytopenia

Also, medical professionals recommend that pregnant women avoid Thai massage.

Which Is Better: Thai or Swedish massage?

After conducting in-depth research on both Massage types, I concluded that both Massage types offer numerous benefits. And deciding which one is better is dependent on the needs of the client.

For example, research shows that Thai massage is much more dynamic than Swedish massage, and it’s based on the smooth flow of energy along predictable lines through the body. 

The Thai Massage is known to have a better healing effect than the Swedish massage which aims to induce relaxation, combining various rubbing techniques and long strokes to ease pain and stress.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Thai massage based on?

Thai massage is based on the notion that energy moves through the body along predictable pathways or sens lines.

Who invented Thai massage?

Chiwaka Komaraphat is said to have invented the Thai massage.

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How do I prepare for a Thai massage?

One can prepare for a Thai Massage session by eating at least one hour before the massage. Also, drink water or tea. But avoid alcohol and coffee before the Thai massage session.

How often should you go for a Thai massage?

I recommend getting a Thai Massage two or three times each month. This will allow the body to get the maximum benefit from Thai massage therapy.

Final Words

Because of its long history and healing background, Thai massage has become an essential part of many spas in this decade. Moreover, since most people are well aware of the existence of massage and its endless benefits, offering this technique adds a great deal of prestige and sophistication to a spa. 

Therefore knowing about Thai massage origins and the details of its development can only help to enhance the healing and relaxing effects of this therapy.

Lastly, If you feel that visiting a Thai Massage practitioner may be well above your budget, then I suggest you try the Opove M3 Pro Massage Gun. 

This device is affordable, effective, and provides all the benefits of receiving a traditional Thai. Click here to read my review of the Opove M3.

Disclaimer:The information contained in this article is a result of in-depth research on the subject matter. This article is only for informational and educational purposes, and it’s not intended as medical or health advice. Hence, I suggest you always ensure to seek the opinion of your doctor or other qualified health personnel regarding any questions that relate to health objectives or medical conditions.


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History of Thai Massage

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