“The body is precious. It is our vehicle for awakening. Treat it with care”. As quoted by one of the greatest people of all time, Gautama the Buddha.
The Buddha has, in his own way, been a part of how Thai Yoga Massage was developed and evolved over the centuries.
But before we explore the different styles of Thai Massage, let’s look a little more deeply into its origin.
Thai Yoga Massage’s roots lie in India and the flower bloomed in Thailand. Jivaka Kumar Bhacca is the founding father, and is now known in Thailand as the Father of Medicine. An Ayurvedic doctor renowned for his knowledge of herbal medicine, his exceptional medical skills and for providing medical care to important people during his day, including the Buddha himself.
While Thai Yoga massage’s principles came from the Buddhist schools, its basic practices and techniques evolved in India, China, Thailand and South East Asia and have since spread throughout the West over the past 20 years or so.
Within Thailand two distinct forms evolved, giving us its two main styles, Southern and Northern Thai massage.
For us to be able to fully appreciate these two styles, we’ll first look at their similarities and then their differences.
First, Southern and Northern styles both recognise Jivaka Kumar Bhacca as its founding father, originated in India along with Buddhism, some 2500 years ago.
Second, both styles came from two elements. The ‘Royal Style’ and ‘Common Style’ of Ancient Thai massage.
The Royal style is called ‘Nuat Rajchasumnak’, meaning; providing the receiver with great respect and courtesy by the practitioner.
The other, which is the Common Style is called ‘Nuat Chaloeyseuk’, meaning; manipulate tense and tight muscles due to intense labour occupations.
And last, they both include combinations of stretches and muscle manipulation as well as giving pressure to the 72,000 Thai Sen lines and energy points of the body.
Now for the differences between the Northern and Southern styles of Thai Yoga Massage
The Southern style is known as “Folk Thai Massage”, it is taught in Wat Pho temple in Bangkok and its has been largely influenced by Chinese medicine. As a result it’s more focused on the powerful work on energy lines and pathways, opening energy channels and giving deep Chinese acupressure. A good invigorating choice for someone who wants to feel strong and be full of energy.
While the Northern style is known as “Royal Thai Massage”, mainly taught in Chiang Mai and has a greater Indian influence. Unlike the Southern style, it has more of a focus on slow, yogic stretching techniques and done in a gentle rhythm way found in Ayurveda and Yoga. Perfect for those who want to unwind and relax after a long day of hard work, or to release tension from tight muscles.
Depending on the receiver’s needs and personality, both styles have their own unique and special way of conditioning the body and providing relief for muscular tensions, stress and body pains due to overactivity.
Simon studied the Northern style of Thai Yoga Massage at Muditha Thai Yoga school, but the southern style shares some similarities with Japanese Shiatsu Massage.
If you’ve enjoyed this blog post please see our two other posts on Thai Yoga massage, specifically the benefits for Office Workers and for Sports People.
Please comment below and share you’re experience a if Thai Yoga Massage. Perhaps you’ve visited Wat Pho temple or received Thai Yoga massage yourself.
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