The founder of Thai massage and medicine is said to have been Shivago Komarpaj, who is said in the Pāli Buddhist Canon to have been the Buddha's physician over 2,500 years ago. In fact, the history of Thai massage is more complex than this legend of a single founder would suggest. Thai massage is a combination of influences from Indian, Chinese, Southeast Asian cultural spheres and traditions of medicine. Unlike the scooping and continuous strokes of Western massage, the Thai method uses point pressure, muscle stretch compression done in a rhythmic movement of gentle rocking.
In Thai massage it is not just the hands that are used to free tension from the recipient's body, but the therapist’s feet, forearms, knees, and elbows as well. Thai massage is applied on a mat on the floor, the work is done fully clothed and no oils are required. Thai medical massage can move deeper into the mechanical functions of the body, working with deep muscle tension and joint mobility as well as nerve, muscle and ligament balancing.