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About monks and prostitutes: The long way of a millennia old healing tradition from the Buddhist temples of Asia to the houses of pleasure in Bangkok – and its way to the West.

Traditional Thai Massage looks back on a long tradition and has its seeds most likely in India. The physician Jivaka Komarabhacca is considered to be the founder. He was the personal physician of King Bimbasara, who lived in northern India around 2500 years ago in the times of Buddha. In almost all sources, he is mentioned as a prototype healer in the earliest phase of Buddhism and the Pali Vinaya not only describes his life, but also his encounters with patients. His medical advice and support were also extended to the later Buddha and his community of monks.

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In his adolescence, he was a student of the legendary Atreya, a physician that had been well-known for his medicine even beyond the Indian borders. This is how Jivaka Kommarabhacca obtained a deep insight in the old medical traditions of India, as the Ayurveda and the Yoga. His healing ability made him famous in his early ages and even if his medical success was not connected to Traditional Thai Medicine, today he is worshipped as the “Father of Medicine” by many practitioners.

According to the historical sources, it was Jivaka that developed the thai medical system from his rich body of knowledge, which also includes - besides massage – herbal medicine, nutrition and spiritual practices and which was mainly administered by the monks of Buddhist temples in the following time. Regarding Traditional Thai Massage there were developed different traditions and lineages: today they can roughly be divided in a softer northern tradition (Chiang Mai) and a stronger southern style (Wat Po, Bangkok).