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Thai massage

Nuat phaen boran or ancient massage is known in Thailand as นวดแผนโบราณ (Nuat phaen boran, IPA [nuɑt pʰɛn boraːn]). It is a type of Thai massage that involves stretching and deep massage.

Other Translations

"Nuat phaen boran" is the Thai name for a type of body work native to Thailand (nuat=massage, phaen=manner, boran=ancient). It short for the longer form "Phaen Boran Ráksãa Thaang Nûat Thai". This may be loosely translated as "the traditional methods of hands-on healing of the Thai people". Thai massage is also known as northern-style Thai massage, Buntautuk style, Old Medicine Hospital Style, traditional Thai massage, Traditional Thai Medical Massage, Thai Yoga, Thai Yoga Massage, yoga massage, Thai classical massage, Thai bodywork, passive yoga, or assisted yoga.


Although, Thai Ayurveda and traditional medicine originates in Tibet, China and in India, nuat phaen boran is primarily local to the northern Chiangmai area. Virtually every practitioner using this term is either trained in Chiangmai or trained with someone who was. The original and oldest running school for Nuat Boran is "The Old Medicine School" or Shivago Komarpai School and Buntautuk Hospital Massage Program. This program was a popular site for tourists learning massage in Chiangmai primarily beginning in the late 80's and 90's. The founder was the famous Grand Master of Traditional Thai Ayurvedic Medicine, Aachan Sintorn Chaichgun. Aacharn Sintorn presided over daily classes for over 30 years until his death in 2005. His family and elder sons Suthat and Wasson carry on to the present day. Aacharn Sintorn was a product of the Wat Po System in the 50's. The Old Medicine school was a pioneer in teaching non-Thais a short form and ten-day program called "Nuad Boran" which was easy for the non-Thai speakers to learn. The course was primarily technique with little acknowledgement to theory, as a result of the language difficulty. Unfortunately, many non-Thai obtained the mistaken impression that the 10-day program was the sum total of traditional Thai Medicine... not true! The hands-on portion for traditional expert or doctor of massage is about two years full time. However, the basic form of Nuad Boran can be said to be representitive and a fair introduction to the hands on healing as a distinctive modality.

There are as many as 7 to 10 regional variations of Thai massage. Many of these traditions claim exclusivity and compete with the others for students and notoriety, although today the Royal Thai Gov't is seeking to establish parity and common standards between all of the various schools.

The receiver is put into yoga-like positions during the course of the massage. In the northern style there are a lot of stretching movements whereas the southern style emphasis is given to acupressure. It was believed that the massage art was brought over to Thailand by Jivaka Kumar Baccha, known in Thailand as Dr Shivago, a contemporary of Buddha some 2500 years ago.

The massage recipient changes into pajamas and lies on a mat or firm mattress on the floor. (It can be done solo or in a group of a dozen or so patients in the same large room.) The massage giver leans on the recipient's body using hands and forearms to apply firm rhythmic pressure to almost every part of the receiver's body. The massage generally follows the Sen Energy lines on the body (the Sen are comparable to Chinese meridians). In some gestures, the legs and feet of the giver are used to fixate the body or limbs of the recipient. In other gestures, hands fixate the body, while the feet do the massaging action. Usually no oil is applied, but sometimes a hot herbal compress is used to warm and sooth the receiver's body. A full course of Thai massage typically lasts two hours or more, and includes pulling fingers, toes, ears etc., cracking the knuckles, walking on the recipient's back, arching the recipient's back in a rolling action etc. There is a standard procedure and rhythm to the massage. Sometimes in a large group massage, the practitioners do the procedures in unison.

A full massage in Thailand of typically two hours costs around 300-500 Thai Baht (8.5-14 USD in 2007) depending on location (it may cost 5 times more in a five star hotel).

See also

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Thai_massage". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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