The Traditional Thai Massage was an integral part of the Buddhist religion. Its precise origins are unknown, but practitioners link their art of massage to Jivaka Komarabhacca, also known as Shivago (Thai people call him “father doctor Shivago”). He which techniques of Thai massage are derived. Jivaka was Indian by birth, and the foremost doctor in India during the time of the Buddha. He studied Ayurvedic medicine for 7 years under the tutelage of the master Atreya in the north of India and then returned to Rajagaha, where the Buddha and his followers rested during the monsoon season. He became a prominent physician and was known to be an expert surgeon and herbologist.
When the expansion of Buddhism moved from northern India into southeast Asia, the spread of the healing art accompanied the new way of life; first, to the southern region of India, then to Sri Lanka, and finally on to Thailand and Burma (Myanmar). When the massage first arrived in Thailand, its techniques were passed down from generation to generation, through word-of-mouth within families, as most people of that time were unable to read. Because there were no formal writings instructing performance of the massage, the monks of the time saw the importance of writing detailed medical texts that included the description of Thai massage and made great efforts to record them.
The recorded writings, originally written in Pali, became sacred religious texts and were kept in the ancient capital of Thailand, Ayutthaya. In 1767, Burmese invaders eventually destroyed the city and many of these historical texts were demolished. But, in 1832, to make certain that all the surviving texts were was a founder and original source of the medicine and the system of Sen lines (energy lines), from preserved, King Rama III had them carved into stone as descriptive epigraphs at the Bangkok temple popularly known as Wat Pho. There are sixty carved epigraphs in all, thirty showing the front of the body and thirty showing the back.
On these figures, therapy points are shown along the different energy lines referred to as Sen in Thai. These lines form the basic principles of Thai massage. Of these lines, ten are very prominent in Thai massage and are known as Sib Sen. If these points on the body are correctly massaged, it is believed that diseases are cured and pain is released from the individual.
The energy from these lines energizes all physical, mental and emotional processes in the body, which only functions properly when energy supply and demand is balanced. Consequently, any form of imbalance in the energy causes pain and disease. When the system is working well and the energy is flowing properly, the person is pain-free, relaxed, happy, and enjoys life.