History of Thai Medical Massage (Acupressure)
Acupressure, like acupuncture, is based on the theory of a vital force which travels invisibly through energy lines, or meridians, in the body. This theory originated in four countries – China, India, Japan, and Thailand. Thai medical massage seems to be a synthesis of Indian energy lines and yoga combined with the acupressure points and the body measuring system developed in China. If a blockage is present in the lines, illness or pain occurs.
Legend has it that Buddha, when he left his kingdom as a prince, chose to take with him the royal family doctor Jivaka Komarapatr. Jivaka analyzed bodies that were brought to the temple and documented over 72,000 energy lines called “Sen”. 2,500 years ago Buddhist temples were centers for medical training and monks were the earliest practitioners of this form of massage. Learning was primarily by word of mouth from master to pupil. However, over time, war destroyed many temples and took the lives of many endowed with this knowledge. It was feared that this knowledge would be lost. In 1832 King Rama III organized the best practicing Buddhist monks and had them carve their learning onto the walls surrounding Wat Pho, a temple in Bangkok. On these walls, the ten main energy lines were inscribed with their accompanying pressure points. These ten lines form the basis for administering a Thai massage.
Even today, students come to the Wat Pho temple and study under the tutelage of monks to continue to learn and pass on this healing art. My teacher, Supron Mukomla, was one of these students who studied at Wat Pho.