Thai Massage, and in fact most Eastern Healing Traditions are founded on the Philosophy that all forms of life in the universe have a natural life force or energy flowing through them, giving breath to the body. This life force is known in all cultures by different names such as Taoist Qi, Chi, Ki, Elan Vital, Ka, Orgonne, Shakti. It is absorbed into us from our surrounding, and what we eat, drink and breathe. This energy then follows vital pathways through the body giving us the life force that is essential in the human body. Any Blockages of this energy flow, could lead to either mental, physical, emotional or spiritual imbalances which can cause disease, discomfort and emotional problems.
One of the ancient techniques used in traditional Thai massage is Jap Sen, working the sen lines. The sen lines, also known as Nadis in Yogic Traditions and similar to Meridians in Chinese Medicine, are these vital energy pathways flowing through your body.
The earliest known reference of The Sen lines can be seen on the walls of Wat Po Temple in Thailand, as pictured below.
There are said to be more than 72,000 energy lines running through our bodies. These Sen lines cross over each other and form areas of strong energy, these 7 major concentration points are known as the chakras. There are also less major junctions and these often correspond with the points used in acupuncture and trigger points.
Traditional Thai Yoga Massage concentrates on 10 significant lines called the Sip Sen. The three primary sen lines known as Tri-Se, are Sumana, Ittha, Pingkala develop in the embryo and shortly after all the subtle nerves, chakras and sen lines are formed. These Sen lines move energy into different parts of our body and do this on many levels or 'doshas', as they are known in Ayurveda. They attempt to maintain a balance in the body. A mental, physical, emotional and spiritual balance.
In Traditional Thai Massage, we stretch, palm, thumb, adjust and massage this network of energy, and this will change and move the energy, through different chakras and planes and may unblock areas of tension, not only on a energetic level, but it releases tensions in our muscles and joints, even old traumas embedded into the physical body can be unblocked through Jap Sen ( working the sen lines).
Working on this energy flow as numerous benefits, it can alleviate common ailments such as lower back pain, arthritis, headaches, digestive problems, menstrual pain, and even stress related conditions. It also leaves the recipient feeling centered and in a state of relaxation and well being, whilst feeling more alive, more invigorated and full of this beautiful vital life force.
Above is a diagram of the Thai Sip Sen running through our bodies. I plan to write a post on each of them as there is just too much to say about any particular line in one post. Hopefully you now have a better understanding of what sen lines are though!
Keep a look out, coming your way soon...