You’ve probably already noticed that many Thai phrases, names and terms may be written in different formats in the Romance alphabet (or Latin alphabet) depending on, well, depending on the way things sound phonetically and who writes it down. Sometimes quite frustrating when being in Thailand, say, especially annoying with street names.
But to give an example, the Thai phrase “ท่าฤาษีดัดตน” (which freely translated stands for the Self-Stretching Exercises of the Hermit) sounds and may be written as Reusi Dat Ton, Rusie Datton, Ruesri Dat Ton, Rishi Dutton, Rue See Dat Ton, or even Lucie Daton or Lucy Dutton, just to give a few common translations.
Or, “นวดแผนโบราณ” (Ancient Thai Style Massage) which sounds and is written as Nuad Phaen Boran, Nuat Phaen Bohran or Nwd Fhan Boraṇ.
The same goes for the Thai Sen Sib Energy Lines (also addressed as Sen Sip, Sib Sen, or Sen Prathan Sib). Sen Ittha, for instance, can be found written as Itha, Itta, Ida, or Eeda, and Sen Kalathari as Kalatari, Kalatharee, or Galadhari. Just to give you the idea.
Origins of Sen Sib Line Names
Liberal phonetic translations can of course give problems with understanding the Thai Traditional Medicine (and thus Thai Massage) heritage, but another additional issue, which is the case with the Sen Energy lines, is that some of the Sen Sib (Ten Sen) actually have totally different names.
The reasons to this are that knowledge of the Sen Sib comes from different Thai scriptural sources and in those sources the Sen Sib are (partly) addressed by different names (leaving Thai accents, dialects and regional differences out of the equation). The most important scriptural records are:
- The Tamla Loke Nitan Text (Tamra Rok Nithan Khamchan 11) from the reign of King Rama II (reign: 1809-1824 CE).
- The marble tablets inscriptions with graphics at the Wat Pho temple in Bangkok recorded during the reign of King Rama III (reign: 1824 – 1851 CE).
- The Royal Traditional Thai Medicine Text (Section Massage Patterns or Phaen Nuad 1 and 2) written in 1870 during the reign of King Rama V (reign: 1868 – 1910 CE).
Sen Sib Synonyms
Now, let’s take a look at the Thai Sib Sen name variations we can encounter:
Sumana can be found as Summana or Susummana.
Ittha is written phonetically as Itha, Itta, Ida, or Eeda.
Pingkhala can be found written as Pingla, Pingkla or Pingkala.
Kalathari is found as Kaniataree, Kanlataree, Kantaree, or Galadhari.
Lawusang is also labeled as Lawusank, but has a variety of other names such as Kuchung, Urang, Pusumpawang, Chanthapusang, Sampasaso, Jantapusank or Junthapusunk.
Ulangka is also written as Ulangga, but can be found under completely different labels like Sorawani, Rucham, Ruchum, Rusum, and Sukumusama.
Sahatsarangsi is also written as Sahadsarangsri and has other designations such as Hadsaluedee and Hadsarangsri.
Thawari can be found written as Tawaree, but also as Kongjagorn, Tawanjan, and Tawakata.
Nanthakrawat is also written as Nantagrawad, and carries other names like Kangku, Tawatharee, and Sukumang.
In some definitions Sen Nanthakrawat consists of two distinct lines called Sen Sikhini (starts at the navel and goes to the urethra) and Sen Sukhumang (starts also at the navel but runs over the colon to the anus).
Kitchanna is labeled as Sikkinee, Sikinee, Kish, Sankkinee, and Rattakinee.
In some definitions Sen Kitchanna consists of two distinct lines, depending on the gender, called Sen Pitakun or Pittakun for men (starts at the navel and runs to the penis, including through the testes and prostate) and called Sen Kitcha for women (starts at the navel and runs to the vagina, including through the uterus and ovaries).
Well, things can be quite confusing if you aren’t aware of these differences in spelling and naming. Moreover, depending on the Thai Medicine or Thai Massage school, you will generally learn one set of names (and spelling), which can complicate communications with Thai Healing Arts practitioners of other lineages.
In any case, the variety of labels for the Sen Lines again proves this ubiquitous proverb that so accurately describes the Thai people: Same, Same, but Different.