TTM is a synthesis of T’ai beliefs, Theravada, Ayurveda, yoga, Chinese and other influences. The Thais were influenced by the Khmer culture. Chinese diagnostics include analysis of irises, tongue and pulse. Ayurveda medicine, which means the science of life, include the doshas (humors) and understand health as a continual struggle to balance internal and external forces: environment, diet, morality, exercise and aspects of our daily regime. Thai Ayurveda is similar to the Indian version and also focuses on the balancing of four proto elements. Etiology can cause the elements to be upset through climatic change, food intake, emotional or psychological factors, heredity, allergic reactions, environmental factors, astrological forces and sorcery, which can be manipulated therapeutically with diet and medicinal herbs.
The four elements are earth, water, air, fire and the fifth is ether or the void and absence of the other four. Qualities are solid for earth, liquid for water, movement for air, heat for fire and emptiness for ether. Imbalance can be caused by excess or depletion. Those born in summer may have an imbalance of fire.
The Thai doshas correspond with the Ayurvedic versions. Di or Piaa represents fire element, lom or vata represents the air element, and salet or slesmas represents the water element. Fire manifests as infection and fever; air as aging and debility; and water as congestion and lethargy.
Thai massage stimulates pressure points (jap sen) along the body’s 72,000 vessels (sen). These are conduits for subtle energies. Lom or an intangible invisible force moves through the sen (non anatomical energic pathways) and animates the body through direct manipulation. The goal of moving or stimulating lom is to offer therapy and maintain health. Thumb pressure is used on important points.
Each school of TTM has a different idea about the sen, but basically there are ten main sen lines treated for different symptoms and diseases, so any disorder can be treated with TTM. TTM is used as a principal treatment or adjunct therapy even if the complaint of the patient is non mechanical, such as cancer, HIV-AIDS, or chronic conditions. Full body treatment of the ten sen on a regular basis is said to promote longevity and well being.
The practice of Nuad Boran resembles closely the therapies of tuina and shiatsu. Nuad Boran focuses on stimulation of the sen similar to Chinese meridian work and is often called Thai acupressure. Acupressure point and reflexology charts based on Chinese concepts are used in Thai medicine.
Where the sen lines terminate:
- Left nostril - Ida
- Right nostril - Pingala
- Left eye - Sahatsarangsi
- Right eye - Tawari
- Left ear - Lawusang
- Right ear - Ulanga
- Urethra - Nantakawat
- Anus - Kitcha
- Right fingers and toes - Kalathari
- Left fingers and toes - Kalathari
- Mouth - Sumana
Every cell in the body is connected to every other cell through an infinite and intricate mesh of energy called Palang sak in Thai and Qi in Chinese and prana in Sanskrit. No one can know all the sen, so there are ten main ones that are always taught.