Traditional Thai Massage

Traditional Thai massage – A healing art with strong influences from Indian Ayurvedic medicine

In the past 10-15 years, traditional bodywork from Thailand has spread to many other countries in the world. It has become quite popular in the West, where it has been covered in magazine and newspaper articles, and adopted in various forms by spas, yoga studios and alternative health practitioners. 

Although Thai massage is often summarily described as a mixture of Chinese and Indian healing traditions, there is no overwhelming evidence that supports the theory that Chinese medicinal practices directly contributed to the early development of Thai herbal medicine or traditional Thai massage therapies.


One of the most common misrepresentations is to equate the Thai sen line system with the Chinese meridian system. While the two systems are similar, they do not match up precisely, and treatment points vary along the major energy pathways. On the other hand, there is a definite similarity between the Thai sen line network and the Indian Ayurvedic prana nadi system. Traditional Thai healing theory is based on a series of pathways and points which bear similarity in form and function to the nadis and marmans that form the basis of Indian Ayurvedic medicine. Even the names of several principal Thai sen lines (Itha, Pingala, and Sumana) are obvious linguistic derivativations from the Sanskrit words ida, pingala and sushumna. Indian texts from the Medieval period delineate a network of over 72,000 channels in the human body which connect vital treatment points that can be treated through manipulation or meditation in order to bring about healing. Thai massage theory also speaks of 72,000 channels, 10 of which are the principal conduits manipulated and balanced during the course of a typical treatment session.


Finally, the most apparent connection between Thai massage and the Indian subcontinent lies in the physical format and presentation of Thai massage – that of assisted hatha yoga postures. Thai healing techniques embody alternating and concurrent pressure plus yoga as a way to ease tension, bring about relief, calm the mind, and balance energy.

This article (c) 2006 Thai Healing Alliance International. For more information, visit

<= Back Print This PagePrint This Page |