Thai massage is included among the four branches of traditional medicine in Thailand. The rest are are: herbs, nutrition, spiritual practices. A native of India, Jivaka Kumar Bhaccha, was the main physician to Buddha more than 2,500 years ago and probably developed Thai manual medicine, or massage. Traditional Thai medicine represents an interweaving of ancient Indian and Chinese medical practices and philosophies. Practitioners of the traditional Thai medicine utilize slow, rhythmic presses and deep compression designed to tonify the body and mind, and eliminate metabolic waste. Slow, Yoga-like, controlled assisted stretching helps to maximize the body’s response and move energy effectively through the body. Because of these techniques, Thai medicine is generally performed on a massage table or on the floor, but cannot be accomplished effectively using a massage chair.
Very recently, there has been much more interest and acceptance by the Thai people of their traditional indigenous medicine, partly because of the increased awareness of traditional Thai medicine by other countries, but especially here in the USA. Thai massage is an excellent way to become familiar with traditional medical therapies in general because of its low impact and many varied techniques.