The Sen. Sip Sen. Or Sib Sen. The ten main energy channels running through our bodies. We all know them, well — we most probably learned them when we took a Thai Massage training course. We learn their trajectories, we learn how to manipulate them with pressure, rocking, with stretches, and with Yoga poses.
The Sib Sen or Sen Sip are the canals, the channels, the pathways trough which Vital Energy is distributed. Life Energy. Human energy. Bodily fuel. Some call it Prana, others Wind, Chi, Qi, or Universal Energy, and in Thailand it’s called Lom Pran. More important, by opening the channels (or unblocking them if you wish) and by “balancing” the flow of energy, we restore the proper functioning of our body and mind. It’s as simple as that!
Yes! But when we take a closer look and ask some critical questions, the whole thing becomes much less obvious. For instance, we may observe that various schools and every distinct style and lineage of Thai Massage uses another map of the energy lines. This is of course not easy to accept—to say the least.
Harald Brust (aka Asokananda), a Thai Massage teacher who did intensive research with regard to the Sip Sen, clarified this phenomenon by stating that each map historically focused on different therapeutic aspects; he gives us the example of a modern map which either focuses on rivers or streets or maybe only on restaurants and hotels. Depending on the focus, the maps are drawn slightly different. Well, okay! Got that!
Yet another issue is that we cannot anatomically see the Energy Lines. If you would dissect a body you wouldn’t find them. They are invisible. And naturally the question arises how in heavens name can you manipulate invisible things?
But then some say: you just feel them! With practice or intuition one can feel the invisible channels and the invisible energy. Okay! Fine! I’m willing to take that being true.
Then there are these special points located along the Energy Lines. Good for this, and good for that. Therapy points, distribution points, healing points, acupressure points, acupoints. Points which are sometimes quite sensitive and even painful when pressed. But then again, who are we to question thousand years of healing experience?
However things may be, knowledge of the Sen can come very handy. Quite practical. When giving a session it simply helps not to forget to pay attention to all parts of the body. And besides that, talking about the Energy Lines and their purpose with your clients helps to better get health issues to the surface.
Today, it seems rather clear that the Sen have striking parallels with both the Chinese Meridians and the Indian Pranic Yoga Nadis. Especially with the latter. It’s also evident that a bunch of energy lines have a similar built-up as our nervous system, lymphatic system, blood circulation system, and muscle make-up. It’s even suggested that maybe the Sib Sen were just an ancient and traditional way to describe the layout of different body-tissues.
But maybe there’s nothing to understand here. Maybe it’s really only something we can feel. Can sense. Invisible things. Energy things. Well, for now, I’m happy we only need to learn ten Energy Lines and not the full set of 72,000. That would’ve been something, wouldn’t it?