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Thai Massage


Owner: Lanbun, traditional Thai massage therapy, Manop Promsuri

The name of the practice „Lanbun” is a Thai word which can be translated as “a blessed place prone to bring happiness”.

The round logo contains four lotus symbols. These four lotus symbols shall reflect the four Divine states of mind (Promvihan 4) according to Buddhist ethics:

  • Meta (loving kindness): active interest in others, friendship, sympathy, the desire for others to be happy
  • Karuna (compassion): the ability to empathize with others
  • Muthita (joy): Happiness about the well-being of others, free from envy and jealousy
  • Ubekkha (balance): serenity in relations, not holding on, letting go

Moreover, the onion shape shall represent the young lotus flower. The lotus is the symbol of purity, the pure mind, enlightenment and the healing powers of nature. In Buddhism, the lotus is a sacred flower. Likewise, in Thailand the lotus is donated as an offering to Buddha and it is very commonly seen at all Buddhist celebrations.

A short summary of the history of Thai massage

Thai massage developed more than 2,500 years ago in India. The physician Jivaka Kumar Bhaccha is considered the founding father of Thai massage as well as of the entire traditional Thai medicine.

He was a close friend to prince Siddharta Gautama, who later became Buddha, as well as his personal physician. Jivaka Kumar Bhaccha was reckoned the most experienced and best physician of his time. He was also very knowledgeable about Ayurvedic medicine. Ayurvedic medicine consists of yoga exercises, herbal medicine, medical steam baths, healthy diet, spiritual exercises and special massage treatment. Ayurvedic medicine has become an integral part of traditional Thai medicine.

With the spreading of Buddhism in the third century B.C., the knowledge of Ayurvedic massage also reached Thailand and was passed on by monks from one village to the other. Thai massage is not only based on the knowledge from India, but was also heavily influenced by traditional Chinese medicine, which had already spread in early times. It is a mixture of traditional healing methods from three ancient civilizations: Thailand, India and China.

Over the course of the centuries, Thai massage evolved as a unique bodywork therapy, renowned all over the world today. It was practiced and much valued as early as 700 years ago, in the first Thai kingdom of Sukhothai (1249 – 1438).

At that time, knowledge on the art of massage and related medical documents were recorded on palm leaves in Bali language. When the second Thai kingdom of Ayutthaya (1350 – 1767) was conquered by the Burmese in 1767, the entire city went up in flames and the majority of these documents was destroyed. Only very few documents did remain. In total, 62 famous documents and certain other medical illustrations carved in stone are still available to account for the tradition of Thai massage. Today they are kept in the temple Wat Phra Chetupon Winom Mangkhararam Radchawora Mahawihan in Bangkok, known as “Wat Pho” temple.

The documents are accessible to the public, open to be studied and admired by all. In the temple complex of Wat Pho, skilled massage practitioners offer their services to the public today. The world-famous Wat Pho Thai massage school is located opposite to the Wat Pho temple.

Based on the old documents, Thai massage was passed on from one generation to the next in the following centuries. Knowledge on massage techniques and related exercises was mostly not recorded in writing. Yet, the basics of Thai massage are identical over most of Thailand today, even if there are regional differences in the performance of some exercises.

Whether or not a Thai massage can achieve its hoped for effect, essentially depends on the massage therapist, his/her experience, personality and massage skills. The place and atmosphere also have an important influence.