Thai Traditional Massage Wat Po
For Over a century, the word “Thai Traditional Massage” has always been synonymous with “Wat Po” or the “Temple of the Reclining Buddha” Being Thailand’ s first open university, home of the exquisite reclining Buddha image and headquarters of teaching and preserving Thai traditional medicine and massage. Wat Po is always popular among Thai and foreign tourists all year round.
Adjacent to the Grand Palace, Wat Po or Wat Phra Chetupon was remodelled and enlarged by King Rama I with later additions and restorations made by succeeding monarchs. Previously, Thai massage had been passed down from generation to generation. Massage students had to learn everything by heart so some of the difficult lessons were lost. To preserve ancient arts and knowledge, King Rama III, during his reign in 1836, initiated the collection of these arts and sciences to be kept at Wat Po for the benefit of public health. Included in the collection are medical science, pharmacopoeia and massage.
There are 60 pictures depicting lines and points in the human body and also including specific massage therapy for various symptoms and ailments.
Later, in 1906, King Rama V instructed court doctors to revise and translate ancient medical texts from Pali and Sanskrit into Thai and recorded it in handwriting as the royal medical textbook which included the massage procedures, lines and points called Tam Ra Nuad Chabab Luang or “Hand Therapy” In fact, massage is a method of treating illness that has been used successfully for more than two thousand years, new technological breakthroughs and modern inventions have never posed a threat to the survival of this ancient art, thus treatment of physical ailments through massage is always in demand and has become increase-ingly popular among foreign visitors from all over the world. Some of them even enrol in the courses offered and return to teach in their home countries.
To Serve the never ending demand and preserve the ancient arts, Wat Po Thai Traditional Medical School offers two courses, namely; The General Thai Massage Course and The Therapeutic and Healing Massage Course. The school teaches Thai traditional massage from the fundamentals of stone inscription massage texts and Yoga models, which were collected during the reign of King Rama III. The expert instructors teach the fine art and good ethics, of Thai massage in the two courses offered. However, while the first course deals with the teaching of the right position for massager, ethics, client’s position, cautions and rules of massaging etc., the second one emphasises the teaching of the Thai fundamental massage points for the cure of morn than 80 simple ailments such as the healing of muscle pain, muscle sprain and muscle cramping and so on. Each course takes 30 hours to complete.
A few years ago, the school opened a new course on Foot Massage which has proved to be equally popular with people of all ages, sex and nationalities. It is said that Foot Massage is an ancient Chinese massage. It has been used for more than 3,000 years to prevent and cure many diseases such as headache, tension, asthma and constipation etc. Though modern medicine is the best remedy to cure most diseases, traditional medicine is an alternative that should certainly not be overlooked by the new generation.