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The Ancient Bodywork Technique developed by the Buddha’s Doctor

By: Adam Katzen
January 5, 2018

Traditional Thai Yoga Massage is a therapeutic bodywork technique that was developed over 2,500 years ago by Jivaka Komarabhacca, a friend and personal physician to the Buddha.

This ancient therapy has been shown to:

  • Reduce soreness and pain
  • Boost energy levels
  • Support the immune system and detoxify the body
  • Reduce stress and help you sleep better
  • Improve mental clarity and cognition

Jivaka was a renowned healer in Buddhist tradition. His story has become legend. It’s said that immediately after his birth, Jivaka was placed in a wooden box and thrown away by his mother on a rubbish heap beside the road.

That morning Prince Abhaya, son of King Bimbisara, happened to pass by the dump on his way to the palace. When the prince discovered that the baby was still alive, he was moved by compassion and adopted Jivaka.

As he grew up, Jivaka studied medicine. It didn’t take long before his unusual skill as a physician and a surgeon became known.

He was called upon to treat kings and princes, including King Bimbisara himself. But of all the distinguished people Jivaka treated, his greatest pleasure was to attend to the Buddha, which he did three times a day.

Drawing on his experience as a physician, Jivaka developed what we now know as Thai yoga massage. He taught the new, breakthrough therapy to Buddhist monks and nuns who migrated from India throughout Southeast Asia, bringing the knowledge of Thai massage and medicine with them.

Those early teachers taught that there are three main components to Vedic Thai Bodywork:  Thai medicine, massage and yoga.

From Thai medicine, Vedic Thai Bodywork takes a natural, holistic approach to health and well-being which includes proper nutrition, physical exercise, the use of medicinal herbs.

Building on this foundation, the modality incorporates traditional massage techniques. And finally, Vedic Thai Bodywork integrates Yogic philosophy which is based on life energy called Prana.

Prana (also known as Chi or Qi) is your energetic life force. It is absorbed through the air you breathe and food you consume. This energy flows to your cells through channels in the body called “nadis”.

As diagrams on the walls at Wat Po temple in Bangkok illustrate, one of the fundamental principles of traditional Thai medicine is that energy flows through the body along ten major channels, or “sen” lines. If an obstruction occurs in any of these channels it can result in pain, fatigue, anxiety or disease.

Thai massage focuses on these lines, and acupressure points throughout the body. The technique frees blockages in the flow of energy and life force through the body. That can help to relieve pain, boost energy, improve digestion, lower the risk of disease and enhance overall wellbeing.

Contrary to western massage approaches, Thai massage is concerned with the flow of energy through the body rather than the physical body itself. Instead of kneading muscles, the technique focuses on:

  • Energy points
  • Stretching
  • Yoga exercises
  • Emotional awareness

Vedic Thai Bodywork sessions last about two hours, during which there is a surrendering release which stimulates the mental and physical flow of energy.

The technique uses rhythmic compressions on the feet, knees, palms, elbows, forearms and fingers, blended with exotic stretching positions known as asanas and disciplined breath control techniques known as pranayama.

This unique combination produces balance not only in the physical body but also improves mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. It’s a powerful, integrative, full body treatment that combines rhythmic massage, breathwork, stretching, gentle twisting, energy work and meditation.

Thai Yoga Massage stimulates the flow of healing energy within the body, opening areas which are blocked. This leads to balance, happiness, connection and peace.

The system also creates a powerful release of stress and tension, and an increase in vitality as it deepens the connection between mind, body and spirit in both the giver and receiver.

Vedic Thai Bodywork is usually performed on a large comfortable floor mat which is comfortable for the receiver and provides full-body support. Working on the floor also allows the therapist to move freely around the client and leverage a variety of positions including prone, supine, side, and seated.

In a Vedic Thai Bodywork session the recipient remains clothed, wearing loose-fitting or stretchy clothes to allow the body to move freely. No oils are needed.. The techniques used work beneath the surface of the body, effecting deeper layers of the muscles and skeleton

Treatments are highly individualized and routinely modified to create a unique and personal experience for each client based on medical history, conditions and goals.

Thai-Yoga practitioners don’t just use the power of their hands and fingers. They use hands, fingers, palms, arms, knees and feet… along with the client’s body weight and resistance to provide a deeply moving and cathartic experience.

Many Thai-Yoga Therapists actually enter into a meditative awareness state during a session, intuitively adapting every asana stretch and technique to the client’s specific needs.

Vedic Thai Yoga Massage is one of the best therapeutic massage/bodywork treatments available for chronic pain and sports injuries. It is an outstanding way to help promote total relaxation, reduce recovery times, lower stress levels, boost energy and improve mood.

Vedic Thai Yoga massage has been shown to increase flexibility, relieve muscle soreness, improve circulation, boost the immune system, increase energy and promotes inner peace and serenity.

Initially affecting the physical body, Vedic Thai massage has the power to transcend our physical being and affect the more subtle life forces – emotions, thoughts, spirit and senses.

It is common for recipients to go into a Yoga Nidra state where time and space fade away like warm breath on a cold winter night.

Vedic Thai Bodywork is love. It is a sacred offering, a conscious contribution to self-realization and soul revelation, the goal and purpose of life.  With deliberate and skillful intentions of joyful communication, Thai-Yoga bodywork produces profound pleasure and inspires tranquility physically and psychologically by replacing old, restricted energy patterns within the body/spirit. Socially revered as a medical folk art, it is commonly reported to revitalize and balance cerebral (emotional) and somatic (physical) ailments instantly. Thai-Yoga Bodywork enhances the quality of living by opening congested chakrs and clearing nadis. Nuad Borarn is one of the Original Matriarchs of healing. Its distinction is true in its value of producing dynamic well-being and serenity.”  -Mukti Michael Buck

Vedic Thai Massage is an incredible tool that every therapist, healer, guide, energy worker and yoga teacher should have in their toolbox. But you don’t have to be a professional to learn and practice this ancient healing art.

In fact, no experience in massage or yoga is needed. All that’s needed is enthusiasm, a loving and caring spirit and desire to help others.

Vedic Conservatory offers courses designed for everyone – from the seasoned professional healer to the husband that wants to help his wife reduce pain and stiffness.

All VC Courses are internationally recognized, acclaimed as top level instructional experiences and are authorized and recommended for professional as well as personal empowerment.

If you are a healing or medical professional, teacher, spiritual seeker or just interested in learning how to transform yourself and others, Vedic Thai bodywork is for you.

Learning this ancient art will deepen your experience, understanding and knowledge of healing. You’ll learn how to clear meridians, marmani and chakra energy pathways. Through experiential training we will teach you to incorporate breathwork techniques, stretching, yoga, massage, meditation, acupressure and much more so that you can practice Vedic Thai Bodywork and help to heal others.

Want to learn Vedic Thai Yoga Bodywork so you can better help others? Contact Us