Thai massage has a long and rich history that dates back over 2,500 years. It is believed to have been developed by Jivaka Kumar Bhaccha, a physician to the Buddha and the historical Buddha’s personal physician. He is considered the “father of Thai massage” and is credited with developing the system of massage that is practiced in Thailand today.
Other influential figures in the history of Thai massage include:
- Shivago Komarpaj, also known as “Dr. Shivago,” is credited with spreading the practice of Thai massage throughout Thailand and beyond. He is believed to have been a contemporary of Jivaka Kumar Bhaccha and is revered as a medical saint in Thailand.
- King Rama III (1787-1851) was a Thai king who was a patron of traditional Thai medicine and is credited with promoting the practice of Thai massage throughout the kingdom.
- Ajahn Sintorn Boonyapakdee is a contemporary master of Thai massage who has played a key role in the revival and popularization of traditional Thai massage techniques in recent years.
- Asokananda (Harald Brust) is a German-born Thai massage therapist and teacher who has played a significant role in the development of Thai massage in the Western world. He is the founder of the Sunshine Network, an organization dedicated to the promotion and preservation of traditional Thai massage.
- Pichest Boonthumme is a Thai massage therapist and teacher who has made significant contributions to the development and popularization of Thai massage in the West. He is the founder of the Old Medicine Hospital in Chiang Mai, Thailand, which is a leading center for the study and practice of traditional Thai massage.