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What Is a Wat Pho Thai Massage?

By Lubna Sheikh on 17th August 2020

wat pho thai massage

The Wat Pho massage originates from a temple, Wat Pho, in Bangkok. At this temple, locals and tourists from places around the world come to get Wat Pho massages. People do not always find it to be as comfortable or as relaxing as other massages, but the discomfort ends when the massage ends and benefits begin to set in immediately.

At Wat Pho, there are two types of massages you can get, a traditional massage and a foot massage. These massages are some of the highest quality in Thailand and even the world. [1]

History of the Wat Pho Massage

Wat Pho was a centre for medicine in Bangkok before it was established as a temple in the 7th century and given the name Wat Phodoram. It remained Wat Phodoram until 1801 when King Rama I restored, enlarged, and renamed the temple Wat Chetuphon; informally, it was referred to as Wat Pho.

Under King Rama III, the art of Thai massage was dying out. The king wanted to prevent this from happening, so he established a school, which is now considered to be Thailand’s first university. This school was to teach students the art of Thai massage and traditional medicine. Wat Pho has continued to be the headquarters for this kind of education since then. [2]

How Does Wat Pho Massage Work?

Throughout the massage, the massage therapists move a patient’s body through a variety of different positions that are supposed to rebalance their body, structure, and energy. The therapist may also apply heavy pressure (sometimes even stepping on the person) during the massage process.

Though it varies in length, therapists typically focus on manipulating the hands, elbows, knees, and feet, and they apply aromatic hot compresses. These techniques were used in the past by village healers to help sore workers recovers from strenuous labour.

What Is the Wat Pho School?

Wat Pho is a temple and school in Thailand where students can come and learn the ancient art of Thai massages and medicine. Though these kinds of medicinal practices have been around for a very long time, the techniques and practices are still prevalent to this day, and Wat Pho is one of the best places people can go to learn about it. [3]

Which Courses Can You Study at Wat Pho?

There are a bunch of different courses at the Wat Pho school, with the most popular being the ones for Wat Pho massage. There are professional courses where people can learn all that they need to know to provide proper Wat Pho massage professionally.

Furthermore, there are shorter courses where students can learn many different things from general information about the massage to aromatherapy to self-stretching to nail care. There is also a WATPO experience tour, which is one of the most popular among tourists.

What Can You Expect From a Wat Pho Thai Massage?

During a Wat Pho massage, you will not take your clothes off, so you should wear comfortable and loose clothing. You will probably be happy to remain dressed as the massages at Wat Pho take place in an open, communal pavilion without much privacy, as locals often like to socialize and chat through the process.

The stretches and pressure can be uncomfortable, and some people even find it to be painful. But if you relax and keep your muscles loose, it will be a much better experience. Any discomfort that you do experience should stop with the massage, and you will almost immediately begin to feel the benefits.

The Two Forms of Thai Massage

There are two forms of Thai massage: royal Thai massage and folk Thai massage. Royal Thai massage was initially reserved for palaces and other establishments of royalty. During a royal Thai massage, the healer kept some distance from the patient by using his or her fingertips to apply the massage. Because some distance is maintained, the Ministry of Public Health tells health clinics, centres, and hospitals to use.

Folk Thai massage is practiced in the countryside. During this massage, the therapist uses their hands, elbows, knees, and even feet to apply pressure, massage, and ease aches and pain. Folk Thai massage is much more popular than royal in Thailand and around the world. [4]

What Are Sen lines?

At Wat Pho, there are plaques on the walk with notations representing lines and pressure points: sen lines. These lines are energy paths that crisscross throughout the body that massage practitioners can follow to help restore energy and ‘life force.’

The body is made up of the four elements (wind, fire, water, and earth), and the practitioner works to rebalance these elements and removes energy blockages along these lines.

Is Wat Pho Preformed All Over Thailand?

The temple of Wat Pho is the birthplace of Thai massage, early practitioners started all across Thailand, many deep within the countryside. Villages across the country all had healers that used techniques very similar to those used in the Wat Pho massage to help cure aches and pains. Because of this widespread origin, you can still find Wat Pho massages all over Thailand.

How Much Does a Wat Pho Massage Cost?

Of course, it depends on where you go in Thailand, but at Wat Pho, a 1-hour traditional massage costs 420 Baht, and a 30 minute one costs 260 Baht. You can also opt to get a foot massage, which costs 420 Baht for 1-hour and 280 Baht for 30 minutes. By Thai standards, these are relatively expensive massages, but people pay for the quality, the location, and the prestige.

Risks for Tourists: Beware of Scammers

Wat Pho accreditation in Thailand is a big deal. So many people claim that they have been, even when they have not. Different locations all across the country will try to draw in tourists by offering a Wat Pho massage that they do not have the qualifications to provide. For this reason, it is often a good idea to go to the temple itself where you can know that it is authentic.

Conclusion

Wat Pho massage is one of the most luxurious, eloquent and specialist massage treatments in the world. It’s qualities and healing powers are second to none. If you do undertake treatment from someone trained by Wat Pho specialists, you will know about it.

Want to learn more about Wat Pho massage but you are not a professional? The best idea to reach out to a trained Wat Pho specialist and ask them for advice, safety, and training tips.

Contact us on 07904 786 888 for Thai massage treatments tailored to your specific requirements. Our highly-qualified team of therapists will assess you beforehand to deem the suitability and safety of Thai massage.

We look forward to hearing from you through the phone or through our online form.

References

[1] https://www.bodyworkmovementtherapies.com/article/S1360-8592(05)00021-5/abstract

[2] https://www.hindawi.com/journals/bmri/2014/490512/

[3] http://www.unesco.org/new/en/communication-and-information/flagship-project-activities/memory-of-the-world/register/full-list-of-registered-heritage/registered-heritage-page-3/epigraphic-archives-of-wat-pho/

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5495387/

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