PREPARATION & PRAYER
There are many defferent ways you can prepure youself for performing this “sacred medicine,” Traditional Thai Massage. One suggestions is to take enough time before each session to quiet the mind. You might do this by relaxing on the Earth, sitting or walking meditation, mindful movement and stretches or chanting. Always wash your hands and arms before and after each session. You might light a candle and/or have a fresh bowl of salt water in the treatment room. The flame and salt transform unwanted energies. Remember to pour the salt water onto the Earth at the end of the day to keep the energies moving. Create nice lighting in the room, put clean sheets on the mat and pillow, and have soothing music ready if the client prefects music to silence. You may offer to wash the feet of the client, if they have not had time to do so themselves prior to arrival. You may also offer the client loose pants and shirt if they arrive in work clothes that are not appropriate (i.e.,tight or constrictive). Make sure that as the practitioner you are feeling enough energy to perform the massage. It is not good to work on somebody if your physical or emotional condition is less vibrant than theirs. If you do so, it is possible to deplete the client of vitality, which is counteractive to our intention. It is considered ethical to call off a session in such a case. It is also important to clear any unresolved issue you may have with a client before working with them. This may be as simple as: “you forgot to pay me last session,” or as complex as “I’m feeling attraction to or from you.” It is important to clear anything that may get in the way of helping the client. You are now ready to kneel at the foot of the client and center yourself. First deepen and slow your breath, tuning into your own breath as well as the client’s. Ask for the lineage of healers to be present and assist in allowing the highest form of healing, relaxation and transformation to take place. You may pray in whatever way you please. Another way of looking at prayer is as setting an intention for the session. You may cater this intention to the client’s specific needs. In the Temples. Hospitals and Schools where Tracitional Massage is still performed they begin and end each day with a ceremony know as “Wai Khru.” In this Ceremony flowers, incence, and other gifts are offered as an honoring of the Father Doctor, the Buddha and various symbolic deities that represent unconditional love and healing to its present day practitioners. During this ceremony, the prayer that has been passed down from the ancient Pali and Sanskrit texts is recited by everyone present. In this course we will begin and end each day with this prayer:
PRAYER TO SHIVAGO
“I pray to you, Dr. Shivago, who established the rules and precepts. I pray that kindness, wealth, medicine – everything comes to you. I pray to you who brings light to everyone just like the sun and moon do, who has perfect wisdom and who knows everything. We all love you who are without defilement, who are near to enlightenment – having entered the stream three times. We all come to pray to you. I pray to the Buddha. I pray, I pray that with your help all sickness and disease will be releasede from whom I touch”
Jivaka Kumar Bhaccha commonly known as Dr. Shivago
The prayer is chanted as follows:
Om Namo Shivago Silasa Ahang Karuniko
Sapasatanag Osatha Tipa-Mantang Papaso
Suriya-Jantang Gomalapato Paka-Sesi Wantami
Bantito Sumethasso A lokha
Sumana Homi (3 times)
Piyo-Nakha Supananang Pinisiang Nama-Mihang
Namo-Puttaya Navon-Navien Nasatit-Nasatien
Ehi-Mama Navien-Nawe Napai-Tang-Vien Navien-Makaku Ehi-Mama piyong – Mama Namo-Puttaya (1 times)Na-A Na-Wa Lokha Payati Vina-Santi (3 times) We invite the spirit of our founder, the Father-Doctor Shivago, who comes to us through his saintly life. Please bring ro us the knowledge of all nature, that this prayer will show us the true medicine of the universe. In the name of this mantra, we respect your help and pray that through our bodies you will bring wholeness and health to the body of our client.
The goddess of healing dwells in the Heavens high, while humankiind dwells in the World below. In the name of the founder, may the Heavens be reflected in the World below so this healing medicine may encircle the world.
We pray for the ones we touch, that they will be happy and illness will be released from them.
MINDFULNESS & MEDITATION
The Buddha tought the importance of Meditation. He would give tools for concentration (samadhi) in his teachings, but ultimately he would teach that each individual needs to sit with their own mind and body; with all the thoughts, emotions and sensations that arise and fall away. According to the Buddha, each being needs to work with their own attachments and aversions to these arisings and fallings. With practice we begin to understand the nature of suffering and thus develop loving kindness (metta) and compassion (karuna) toward ourselves and then toward others. These practices also develop insight known as “mindfulnees” practices, which have been popularized by present-day Zen Master, Thich Nhat Hanh. Both Mindfulness and Loving Kingness are important qualities for the practitioner of Thai Massage to develop. The roots of Traditional Massage stemmed from the Buddha’s teachings (Dharma). Practitioners continue to perform massage in order to assist with the alleviation of suffering in others.
When we practice mindfulness, we bring ourseves into the present moment. When we practice Thai Massage, we have an opportunity to be mindful and listen deeply to the needs of our client. This is also an opportunity for both the giver and recipient to be in meditation together. If we are fully present we naturally enter a state of deep listening which nurtures loving kindness and understanding. Don’t we all just want to be understood? What a beautiful way to work: allowing the client to be exactly where they are, with no judgment and no agenda. If we listen and be present with our client (having no need to fix them) transformation, healing and spontaneous joy take place.
ROOTS & REMEMBRANCES
Traditional Thai Massage has come to be known as “Nuad bo Rarn” in Thailand, which often translates as “ancient healing” or sacred medicine.” It has been passed down from generation to generation in the temples. Families and texts for more than 2500 years. Thailand, being so near to China and on the trade route to and from Indea, gained the influences from both cultures. In Thai Massage we can see both the influences of Acupuncture, herbs and Shiatsu/Tui-na from China as well as the relation to Ayurvedic Massage and Yoga asanas (postures) from India. All the techniques used in Thai Massage serve to open and balance the energies in the body. These energies move through pathways called Sen, which overlap with the Chinese Meridians and Indian Nadis.
According to Thai folklore, Thai Massage dates back to the time of the Buddha, in the land of India. A hermit and healer emerged from his cave and became the physician for the Buddha and his Sangha (community of monks and nuns). This Doctor’s name was Jivaka Kumar Bhacca, presently popularized as Dr. Shivago Komparaj. Dr. Shivago would accompany the Buddha and his sangha as they would travel throughout the land delivering dharma (teachings) top the lay people. He performed bodywork on the Buddha to help him to stay healthy on his extended travels. He would teach this form of bodywork, along with would in turn assist lay people in healing from sickness in both mind and body. As Buddhism made its way to Thailand, so did this form of healing. Over the years, the Buddha’s teachings got somewhat lost in India, yet became popular and prevailed in the land of Siam (present day Thailand), and so did Nuad Bo Rarn, now translated as “Traditional Massage” Wat Pho, a famous temple in Bangkok, still posseses some of the epigraphs of documented techniques and Sen that were engraved at the time of the Burmese invasions of 1832. Earlier texts were written on palm leaves and stored in Ayutthia, the old copitol city, and when the Burmese invaded, King Rama III had the surviving texts carved in stone.
Today, one can find Traditional Massage throughout Thailand. It is still practiced in some of the most well known Temples. Thai massage has diversified in interpretation and embellishment between the Temples, Hospitals private homes, Massage schools, Massage clinics and the Red Light District. One can still see the roots of both Yogic stretches and Meridian work in Traditional Thai massage, and with the increasing interest of westerners it continues to evolve.