Thai Massage, often called Thai Yoga Massage in North America, is called Nuad Bo Rarn or Ancient Massage in Thailand. It is indeed an ancient form of manual therapy whose origin can be traced back two thousand years to Dr Kumar Jivaka, the personal physician of the Guatama Buddha.
Traditionally in Thailand, health care, including manual therapy and therapeutic massage, was provided by Buddhist monks. Nuad Bo Rarn was for them a form of meditation and an expression of cultivated compassion. The beginnings and development of Thai massage rooted as it was in Buddhist practice has infused it with a calm and meditative method that is powerful and effective, providing benefits for practitioner and patient alike.
In the late 1990s the North American Tang Shou Tao became aware that the techniques of Thai massage were very similar to the techniques of our Jin Shou Tuina method. As the Thais say, “same, same, but different.” Since then, our members have been traveling to Thailand to research massage and we have cultivated relationships with teachers at Wat Po Massage School in Bangkok and at ITM in Chiang Mai. A growing group of practitioners have been certified to teach by ITM and Thai Massage has become a regular part of our curriculum.
We have found many benefits to cross training Thai Massage along with our Tuina. Thai Massage is easier to learn than Tuina. The quality of soft yet forceful touch developed by practice of Thai Massage is very effective. The stretches and manipulations are useful in allowing smaller people to find ways to work with larger bodies. The many passive stretches performed in Thai Massage teach the practitioner a lot about the relationship of energy, soft tissues and bone structure. We also find that some conditions that do not respond well to Tuina treatment respond beautifully to Thai Massage.
The North American Tang Shou Tao Thai Massage program is evolving. Groups continue to travel to Thailand to study and research new techniques on a regular basis.