Thai Massage – The History & Culture

By | December 11, 2013

Ayurvedic Medicene – is considered to be a form of complementary and alternative medicine within the Western world, where several of its methods — such as herbs, massage, and Yoga as exercise or alternative medicine — are applied on their own as a form of treatment.

Ayurveda is the ancient Indian philosophy of health and wellbeing. The word Ayurveda literally means “science of life”, which in its simplest form is “the art of living wisely”.

In easy to understand terms, Ayurveda is a holistic system which guides us so that we can live a healthier and more balanced lifestyle. It recognises that we are all unique and focuses on food, lifestyle, massage, yoga and herbal remedies to suit our individual make-up.

Ayurveda is timeless – it has existed for over 4000 years but yet it still applies to modern day life.

The key to its longevity is because Ayurveda is logical. An early description given in the Charaka Samhita (the earliest Ayurvedic literature) written circa 150BCE-100CE says: “It is called Ayurveda because it tells us which substances, qualities and actions are life enhancing, and which are not.”

The wisdom of Ayurveda encourages us to take responsibility for our own health according to the different stages of our lives, the seasons, and the environment we live, work and play in.

These factors all have a big impact on our health and it makes sense to adapt our lifestyle accordingly so we can continue to live in harmony with our body and stay at optimum health.

Ayurveda is all about living life to the full and keeping yourself on top form – whatever life throws at you!

Asanas – literally means to “sit down” and is a body position, typically associated with the practice of Yoga, intended primarily to restore and maintain a practitioner’s well-being, improve the body’s flexibility and vitality, and promote the ability to remain in seated meditation for extended periods.

These are widely known as Yoga postures or Yoga positions, which is currently practiced for exercise and as alternate medicine.

In the context of Yoga practice, Asana refers to two things: the place where a practitioner sits and the manner (posture) in which he/she hold themselves.

In the Yoga sutras, Patanjali suggests that asana is “to be seated in a position that is firm, but relaxed”.

As the repertoire of postures has expanded and moved beyond the simple sitting posture over the centuries, modern usage has come to include variations from lying on the back and standing on the head, to a variety of other positions.

In the Yoga sutras, Patanjali mentions the execution of an asana as the third of the eight limbs of Classical or Raja yoga.

The word asana in Sanskrit does appear in many contexts denoting a static physical position, although, as noted, traditional usage is specific to the practice of yoga.

Traditional usage defines asana as both singular and plural. In English, plural for asana is defined as asanas. In addition, English usage within the context of yoga practice sometimes specifies yogasana or yoga asana, particularly with regard to the system of the Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga.

That said, yogasana is also the name of a particular posture that is not specifically associated with the Vinyasa system, and that while “ashtanga” (small ‘a’) refers to the eight limbs of Yoga delineated below, Ashtanga (capital ‘A’) refers to the specific system of Yoga developed by Sri Krishnamacharya at the Mysore Palace.

Nadi – the word means “tube” or “pipe” which refers to the channels through which, in traditional Indian medicine and spiritual science, the energies of the subtle body are said to flow. They connect at special points of intensity called chakras.

Nadis seems to correspond to the meridians of traditional Chinese medicine.

Just as the negative and positive forces of electricity flow through complex circuits, in the same way, pram shako (vital force) and manas shako (mental force) flow through every part of our body via these nadis.

According to the tantras there are 72,000 or more such channels or networks through which the stimuli flow like an electric current from one point to another.

Meridian – also known as channel, in traditional Chinese medicine, is the path of running qi(energy flow) and blood within all areas of the body.

It is from the techniques and doctrines of Traditional Chinese Medicine, including acupuncture & acupressure.

According to these practices, the body’s vital energy, “qi”, circulates through the body along specific interconnected channels called meridians.

There is no physically verifiable anatomical or histological basis for the existence of acupuncture points or meridians.

In traditional Chinese medicine, patterns of disharmony (ie, bad health and emotional disorders) in the body are thought to be caused by disruptions of the body’s energy flow along a series of acu-tracts.

To correct those disruptions, specific points on the meridians called acupoints are stimulated via needles, moxibustion, applying pressure or other means.

There are about 400 acupuncture points and 20 meridians connecting most of the points, however by the 2nd Century CE, 649 were recognised in China.

Such 20 meridians are usually called the “twelve regular channels” or “twelve regular meridians” , with each meridian corresponding to each organ; nourishing it and extending to an extremity.

There are also “Eight Extraordinary Channels” or “Eight Extraordinary Meridians” , two of which have their own sets of points, and the remaining ones connecting points on other channels.

The twelve standard meridians go along the arms and the legs. They are: Lung, Large Intestine, Stomach, Spleen, Heart, Small Intestine, Urinary Bladder, Kidney, Pericardium, Triple Warmer (aka Triple Heater), Gall Bladder, and Liver.

These terms refer to biological functions and not the structural organ, which is why there are some on the list with no corresponding anatomical structure.

Meridians are divided into Yin and Yang groups.

The Yin meridians of the arm are: Lung, Heart, and Pericardium. The Yang meridians of the arm are: Large Intestine,Small Intestine, and Triple Warmer.

The Yin Meridians of the leg are Spleen, Kidney, and Liver. The Yang meridians of the leg are Stomach, Bladder, and Gall Bladder.