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The Shivago Komarpai Method 
Thai Foot Reflexology

The Special Role Of The Feet And Legs In Asian Healthcare

For centuries, Asian medical tradition has claimed that there are special reflexive spots or zones in the soles of the feet that are closely associated with the well-being of the rest of the body. As the old saying "age starts from the legs" indicates, the legs are considered a barometer of our health. Eastern populations actually believe that the legs act as a second heart. While the heart pumps the blood to each cell and organ of the body it has more power to push the blood to the ends of the capillaries than to pull the blood ack from the extremities. Therefore, the muscle movement of the arms and legs plays the role of the second heart with venous return. When the soles of the feet lack stimulation, circulation of the blood in the feet and the legs tends to lessen.

What Is Thai Reflexology?

Thai foot reflexology has become an integral part of traditional Thai yoga massage, as well as a respected and proven treatment on its own. An art form that has been handed down through an unbroken chain of masters for centuries. Thai foot reflexology is a delightful treatment for the lower legs and feet that originated in Thailand about 2000 years ago. It is the marriage of India and Asia - incorporating elements of Japanese shiatsu, Chinese reflexology, Chinese tuina and Ayurvedic yoga. Utilizing stretching, massage, thumb-walking and the use of a specifically-tooled wooden stick to stimulate the reflex points, Thai foot reflexology seeks to restore balance to the body/mind through the reflexes of the feet and lower legs that are linked to the body's 72,000 energy meridians (sen).

Nuad boran ( traditional Thai massage) played a clear role in the activities of the Buddhist temples, forming part of the social dervices for which the temples took responsibility. Although it is still taught today by Buddhist monks, it is not uncommon to see rows of village people seated in chairs along the sides of the streets exchanging Thai foot reflexology sessions. 


Thai foot reflexology is an enjoyable holistic treatment that restores balance to the mind and body at the same time that it stimulates the internal organs. 
Reported benefits include:


* Improved circulation in legs and hands
* Improved lumphatic drainage
* Increased removal of waste deposits and toxins
* Elevated functioning of the immune system
* Reduced stiffness; improved flexibility
* Accelerated physical healing
* Relief from stress
* Improved sleep
* Mental clarity and stimulation


Thai massage is both a complex theoretical science and an informal art. There are two main lineages in Thai massage, one known as the southern or "rural" tradition and the other the northern or "Royal". The northern discipline is part of a four-year medical university degree program; the southern discipline is practiced by informally trained healers who learned orally without much theoretical background. Despite the differences in these styles, the two lineages are very compatible, and may even appear to be indistinguishable to the untrained.

The Royal tradition was developed in northern Thailand in Chiang Mai at the Shivagokomarpai Institute (affectionately known as the "Old Medicine Hospital). It incorporates both indigenous methods as well as influences from other cultures, and has long retained its well-deserved reputation as the most important center of traditional medicine schools in the country.

Thai foot reflexology and Thai massage are considered energy-wrok rather than bodywork. The traditional therapist is guided, not by anatomical structures or physiological principles, but by the intricate network of sen throughout the body.

The Thai sen resemble the Ayurvedic energy lines (nadis) more than the do the Chinese meridians. The sen do not correlate, for example, with any organ system the was that the Chinese meridians do. The Thai meridians all begin at the navel and end at the extremities of the body and may be used to treat any and all organ sysstems through which they pass along their course. In that way, the sen more resemble the zones of Chinese reflexology rather than acupuncture.


© Julia Bump 2015