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The Encyclopedia Of Thai Massage



Thai massage, also known as Nuad Bo-Rarn in its traditional form, is a type of Oriental bodywork therapy that is based on the treatment of the human body, mind, and spirit. The therapy includes treating the electromagnetic or energetic field which surrounds, infuses and brings the body to life through pressure and/or manipulative massage.




The Encyclopedia of Thai Massage



The origins of traditional Thai massage reportedly began over 2,000 years ago along with the introduction of Buddhism. It is one of four branches of traditional medicine in Thailand, the others being herbs, nutrition , and spiritual practice. The legendary historical creator of Thai medicine is Dr. Jivaka Kumar Bhaccha, known as Shivago Komarpaj in Thailand. Bhaccha was from the north of India and said to be a close associate of the Buddha and chief to the original community gathered around the Buddha. The movement of medicine into Thailand accompanied migration of monks from India to Thailand, possibly around the second century b.c.e. Thai medicine developed within the context of Buddhist monasteries and temples, where Thai have traditionally sought relief from all kinds of suffering.


While the recorded history of Thai massage was lost during the Burmese attack on the royal capital of Ayutthia in 1767, the surviving records are now inscribed in stone and can be found at the Sala Moh Nuat (massage pavilion) within the temple of Pra Chetuphon in Bangkok, known as Wat Po, the temple of the reclining Buddha. Its spiritual aspect also remains as teachers of the therapy begin classes with the practice of waikru, a series of prayers and recitations dedicated to Shivago Komarpaj, the father of Thai massage and the Goddess of Healing, and teachers of the tradition through the centuries.


The benefits of Thai massage are numerous, with the most predominant being the maintenance of good health and the ability to treat a wide spectrum of health concerns. Traditional Thai massage is known for its ability to clear the energy pathways.


Thai massage looks like a cross between acupressure, yoga , and zen shiatsu and is inspired by Buddhist teachings. The actual massage consists of slow, rhythmic compressions and stretches along the body's energy lines, also called sen in Thai. Over 70,000 sen are said to exist within the body, and Thai massage concentrates on applying pressure along 10 of the most important sen, using the palms of the hands, thumbs, elbows, and feet. The effort from the practitioner works to free tension within the body. Practitioners also position the body into yoga-like poses and gently rock the body to open the joints and facilitate limbering.


prepares the client for the next step in the massage. The practitioner is always aware of his position so that an uninterrupted slow rhythm is maintained. Deep, sustained pressure ensures that the myofascia, or the muscle's connective tissue, soften and relax in order to release the flow of energy along the sen, and to prepare the client for the large-scale stretches that follow.


The preparation needed before receiving a Thai massage is minimal. A Thai massage is typically performed on a floor mat-enabling practitioners to use their body weight and to incorporate the many movements that would not be possible with a massage table. Normally, the client remains fully clothed, and lubricant for the skin is rarely used. A Thai massage usually lasts one to two hours, but may be three hours or more if needed.


While some of the pressure techniques used in Thai massage may seem too penetrating to many, most can adjust to it quickly. For those who are frail or stiff, a skilled practitioner will be able to adjust all of the soft tissue and manipulation work to their level of comfort.


The practice of Thai massage is multinational. While a unique modality, Thai massage is slowly spreading into the western world. Knowledge of therapeutic benefits comes from anecdotal evidence rather than research in the Western scientific mode.


Thai massage can be strenuous for the practitioner. To become a Thai master, it is said that the best place to learn is where the therapy originates. The well known school at Wat Po in Bangkok and in Chiang Mai, The Institute of Thai Massage, both in Thailand, are famous for their teaching of the ancient art. It is also possible to receive instruction in the United States from teachers who studied in Thailand, as well as from Thai instructors who came over to offer classes in American massage schools.


Drawing from Thai history, cultural studies, Buddhist religion, and yogic practices, as well as a modern understanding of anatomy and physiology, this guidebook bridges the gap between theory and practice while presenting bodywork as it is understood in Thailand--as a therapeutic medical science. Presenting detailed analysis of each step in a Thai massage routine, the history, spiritual traditions, and ethical codes are offered in an engaging, informal style. Numerous photographs and diagrams illustrate the variety of techniques used, and examples of routines for treating specific disorders are discussed. Updated with new layout, photos, and expanded text, this exhaustive handbook is complete with a section on the main energy meridians and diagrams of acupressure points, making it the perfect tool to accompany anyone studying this popular healing modality.


C. Pierce Salguero, PhD, is the founder of Tao Mountain, a nonprofit association of Thai massage and herbal medicine instructors who support academic research and clinical trials to build bridges between Thai and modern Western medicine. He is the author of Encyclopedia of Thai Massage, The Spiritual Healing of Traditional Thailand, and Thai Massage Workbook. He lives in Doylestown, Pennsylvania.


Bridging the gap between the theory and practice of Thai massage, The Encyclopaedia of Thai Massage explores the history, spiritual traditional and ethical codes of Thai medicine, alongside a detailed analysis of Thai massage therapy. The book uses full colour photographs and diagrams to illustrate the variety of techniques, as well as examples of routines for treating specific disorders. This second edition is updated with a new layout, photos and expanded text, providing an exhaustive handbook, complete with a section on the main energy meridians and acupressure points, making it the perfect tool to accompany anyone studying this modality.


This is an excellent book for anybody interested in Thai massage. The authors of this book have both studied at the Thai Massage School Shivagakomarpaj known as the "Old Medicine Hospital". I studied privately with two of the principal teachers, Pramost and Song who also taught the authors of this book.


Searching for a book that bridges the gap between the theory and practice of Thai massage? Your search is over, in the Encyclopedia of Thai Massage: A Complete Guide to Traditional Thai Massage Therapy and Acupressure 2nd Ed. (Findhorn Press; $24.95), authors Pierce Salaguero and David Roylance share the history, spiritual traditions and ethical codes of Thai medicine alongside the most detailed analysis of Thai massage therapy ever written. Where other books have only scratched the surface, this work will satisfy even the most advanced practitioners of Thai massage, while being written in an engaging and informal style which will speak to those with no prior exposure to the art form.


Presenting detailed analysis of each step in a Thai massage routine, the history, spiritual traditions and ethical codes are offered in an engaging, informal style. Numerous full colour photographs and diagrams illustrate the variety of techniques used, and examples of routines for treating specific disorders are discussed. Updated with new layout, photos and expanded text, this exhaustive handbook is complete with a section on the main energy meridians and diagrams of acupressure points, making it the perfect tool to accompany anyone studying this popular healing modality.


A native of the Shenandoah Valley and 1988 graduate of the College of William & Mary, Sarah Handley has worked over thirty years in the healthcare industry, most recently in a private massage therapy practice in Charlottesville, Virginia.


An active interest and practice of yoga led Sarah to the study of traditional Thai massage, a branch of traditional Thai medicine that blends yoga and massage. She studied with Pierce Salguero (author of The Encyclopedia of Thai Massage and director of Tao Mountain, a not-for-profit organization that serves as a resource on Thai massage and traditional Thai medicine) and Nephyr Jacobsen (founder of the Naga Center in Portland, OR, and author of Seven Peppercorns: Traditional Thai Medical Theory For Bodyworkers).


Dr. C. Pierce Salguero is a researcher of Asian medical traditions, specializing in Buddhist healing and Traditional Thai Medicine. He studied Thai massage and herbal traditions in Thailand from 1997 to 2001, and since that time has been one of the most active authors and teachers in introducing these traditions to the West. He has a Ph.D. from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and teaches history of Asian religion and medicine at the college level. His books on Thai healing arts have been published in Spanish, Chinese, Czech, and English-Thai bilingual editions.


In Siam (premodern Thailand), indigenous medical practices, including massage, intermingled with Chinese and Indian influences and developed into a complex medical tradition encompassing therapy for the mind, body, and vital energies. Long preserved in Buddhist temples, which served as community centers and cultural libraries, Thai medical wisdom was transmitted from teacher to student through oral and written tradition, resulting in the fascinating amalgam of mythology, medicine, and spirituality that is still practiced today across the country.


I should say at the outset that any of my teachers would say it is impossible to learn from a book without hands-on guidance, and I would agree. The oral tradition is still honored in Thailand to this day, and most massage teachers operate by verbally explaining and physically demonstrating each movement while their students listen and watch. Even in the massage schools that offered textbooks for their courses, the books are seldom more than a series of crude drawings. To this day, there has not been very much written on the subject of Thai medical theory, either by Thais or by Western practitioners, and a systematic explanation of the theory of Thai Massage is virtually impossible to come by. Massage teachers in Thailand are unlikely to give direct answers to theoretical questions, and will expect the students instead to learn these answers through their own diligence, practice, and patience. Western aficionados of Thai massage impatient for deeper understanding often mistakenly apply Chinese, Indian, or biomedical theory to the practice, sometimes grossly distorting Thai tradition in the process. 041b061a72


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