Thai massage therapists believe that work on the legs is a very important part of the massage. In a typical two or three hour massage at least one hour of the massage is devoted to just the legs. This is again partly to counter act the general downward flow of energy – i.e. to move energy up so that the upper part of the body also has energy. It is also a means of diagnosis and therapy, for problems in the legs indicate problems further up in the body such as in the abdomen, back or shoulders. Ryokyu Endo says. “…treatment on the legs will to a certain extent, soften any since most of the sen lines run through the legs, by working on these lines one can affect the sen in the rest of the body.
Thai people belive that the abdomen is the center of the body – that it is a window which reveals intimately what is happening isside. Since this area contains so many vital organs, great care should be taken when working here. Begin with light contact and gradually increase the pressure. Make sure to work slowly and sensitively.
The back is of crucial importance as it contains the spine through which 95% of the body’s nerves travel. These spinal nerves affect almost every part of the body including its organs and glands. Likewise the condition of the body’s organs is reflected in the back. Ask all of the internal organs are affected by what happens in this area it is very beneficial to spend a lot of time and care when working on the back.
Sen sib, the ten life energy lines, is the heart of Thai massage and basic of therapeutic Thai massage throughout history of Thailand. The actual documentation of when and how Sen sib originated has not been found. The documents discovered occurred during the period of King Rama II (A.D. 1809-1824) written by Phraya Wichayatibbodee, formal governor of Chantaboon Province; the inscription on marble plates at Wat Pho during King Rama III (A.D.1824-1851); the major ancient discription of Sen Sib in the Royal Traditional Thai medicine text complied by the command of King Rama V in A.D.1870.
These three documentations have been the main text of Sen Sib theory. The basic theories of them are the same. There are more than one name on some lines and there are some minor differences on names of each line.
Thai massage in theory has similar philosophy of Ayurvedic based on life energy channels and the belief that one person’s health and well being rely on the balance of life energy. Life energy in Thai massage is called ‘Prana” meaning “the wind of life” or in Thai word “Lom Pran”. The obstruction of Prana flow can cause discomfort or illness to a person. Sen Sib, being the major energy channels throughout the body, needs to be maintained against any blockage.
The ancient Royal Traditional Thai medicine Text indicates there are 72,000 channels twined inside the abdominal cavity. There are ten major channels leading all 72,000 channels spread from the abdominal cavity through the entire body. The ten major life energy channels are called “Sen Sib”.
Thai massage, when applied properly, has an immense effect on Sen Sib result to unblock any obstruction of energy flow, and provide balance to body-mind and spirit. The ancient Thais applied pressure points according to Sen Sib to heal certain illnesses in combination with herbal medicine application. In the present time, some of these presure points are being used in therapeutic massage to relieve common ailments.
Sen Sib indicates the channels of the lines as available from three important sources as follows:
1. the Royal Traditional Thai Medicine Text gathered in King Rama V era.
2. the document in ancient text “Tamla Loke Nitan” (fable medicinal story text) during King Rama II era by Phraya Wichayatibbodee (Klom), former governot of Chantaboon Province.
3. the lines inscribed on marble tablets at Wat Pho
Characteristics of Sen Sib
1. There are ten major lines. “ Sen” means line and “Sib” means ten.
2. The origination of all ten lines are lining underneath the abdominal surface around the navel approximately two finger width deep
3. Each line has different exit throughout the body accordingly.
4. The lines are invisible. They are invisibly connected to send sensation when pressing at the righ presure points to the corresponding directions.
5. There is “wind”, being the energy force, run through the line. If the line is obstructed, the wind can cause illness. Some lines have more than one wind, some have names for the windsa, and others do not have names. However, lines with no wind names mentioned may not mean lack of wind. The ancient people merely did not mention names on some, but still indicate symptoms when there are blockage in the particular lines.
6. The lines have pressure point locations that effect the wind when pressing.
NAME OF SEN SIB
Most learners follow Wat Pho list of Sen Sib with minor variation. For the simplicity to trace direction when mentioning Sen Sib, this text will refer to Sen Sib names follow from Wat Pho.
The direction of Sen Sib mentioned here contain from all three sources mentioned above. Most of the lines have the same direction. However, some lines do not cover certain parts as others. This text will apply all of them and indicate the differences.
For the origination location points from the navel on all lines, only Wat Pho source indicates exact locations of the each line. However, the points on the marble tables are in two difnensions scripture and difficult to interpret. The exact location points were abel to obtain in the finding of actual pressures tracing by several experienced Thai massage teachers during the Thai Massage Revival Project in 1985. Hence, the explanation on the origin related to the navel herein is merely from Wat Pho source only. Measurement of “finger width” is not certain of which finger since there is no exact rule. However, most teachers presume it to be the thumb.
LINE 1 ITHA
On left side of the body: Starts one finger width left side of the navel, passes pubic area to inside left thigh toward the rear, then run upward pass left buttock to along left side of spine, continue to head and curve downward to left side of face and exit via left nostril.