My Journey to Understand Sen

One concept that has been difficult to understand in my learning path has been the idea of sen.

The schools in Thailand cater to students from all over the world who do not speak Thai and for whom English might only be their second or third language. And English is the second or third language of the teachers in these classes. So it is only possible to teach basic Thai massage techniques. Any theory taught is elementary.

In my first school, I learned that sen were lines and that our bodies had 72,000 sen lines. The teachers focussed on ten of these lines called Sen Sib. This idea made sense and seemed to correlate well with Indian yogic lines and Chinese acupuncture lines. But the techniques we learned had little to do with the Sen Sib.

Things got much more confusing when I returned to Thailand and attended two more schools. Again, each of these schools taught me about Sen Sib, but the lines were sometimes named differently or ran in a slightly different location. How could sen be so crucial if all three schools disagreed on what or where they were?

Fortunately, to become a Registered Instructor, Thai Healing Alliance International required me to take a Thai culture and Traditional Thai Medicine course. I finally learned the context of how sen work in Thai massage. I began to understand the Traditional Medical System in which Thai massage is one tool to restore balance in the body’s four elements. And I learned how sen are one of five layers in the human body. Sen are physical pathways like veins, nerves, or arteries between the tissues or the tissues and bones in which movement occurs.

My journey to learning Traditional Thai Medicine is only beginning. There are few English resources and far more incorrect information online than helpful. But as I read new things, I try to understand them by working and re-working the knowledge in my existing course material. I then post this content on my school website for anyone to read so that others don’t have to struggle as much as I have on this journey.

What Are The Five Layers Of The Body?

How does Traditional Thai Medicine view the body? What are Sen? What techniques does a Thai massage practitioner use to work each layer of the body?

Traditional Thai Medicine holds that the human body has five distinct layers.
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