Treat ailments by Rue-si Dat Ton


Did you know that traditional Thai massage therapists – like physiotherapists do too – advice their clients to practice some positions at home to increase their recovery after injury?

These positions have many benefits, such as relief of a headache, scapular pain, arm stiffness, shoulder stiffness, hip discomfort, knee discomfort, neck pain and many more.

The practice is called Rue-si Dat Ton, also sometimes spelled as Rue-si Dutton or Rue si datton and is also called Thai Yoga.

Rue-si Dat Ton, Thai Yoga


Rue-si Dat Ton Traditional Thai Yoga is not well-known in the west, but in Thailand, this type of yoga is practiced to prevent illnesses and treat ailments in their early stages. Rue-si Dat Ton means “Hermit’s Self-Stretching Exercise”. This yoga-style practice was developed by religious hermits in Thailand many centuries ago. Unlike traditional Thai massage, you don’t need to have any masseur to massage you, you can do these stretches yourself alone wherever you like.

Health Practice

Originally designed to restore energy, flexibility, and vitality after long periods of meditation retreat, Rue-si Dat Ton has since become an integral part of traditional Thai health practices. Traditional Thai massage therapists advice their clients to practice certain positions at home to speed up the recovery process.

Thai yoga in parks

However, you can also follow the whole sequence of positions, like any yoga practice. This is what many Thai are doing, they integrate Rue-si Dat Ton in the daily practice of their health routines. When you look around early mornings you will see many people practicing Rue-si Dat Ton in parks in Thailand.

Different yoga

Rue-si Dat Ton is regarded as more gentle and accessible than many forms of yoga taught. Consequently, it can be practiced by all age groups and all levels of ability. With every posture, you inhale and exhale as directed by the teacher, and then hold your breath for a few moments. Each posture may be repeated 3-5 times on each side.


Benefits of Rue-si Dat Ton include: relief wrist trouble, relief hand and feet discomfort, relief of arm stiffness, relief of knee discomfort, relief of tension headache, relief of scapular pain, relief of shoulder stiffness, relief of hip discomfort, relief of chest compression, relief of stiffness and pain in the shoulder, relief of neck discomfort, relief of leg stiffness, also… improving the breath, improving flexibility, improving your balance. Improving muscle tone. Improve blood circulation, meditation, improve muscle strength and body balance, increase the range of motion, and reduce muscle tension.


Rue-si Dat Ton was introduced many centuries ago by hermits, practitioners of ancient arts and sciences living in the forest. Years later much of the traditional Thai culture has been destroyed. In 1778 King Rama I ordered to collect all the knowledge about Thai medicine. He created a new capital city, as we know as Bangkok. Here he renovated the old temple Wat Po to become the site of a new Royal temple. As part of the project, medical texts from across the kingdom were collected and brought to be stored at Wat Po. The King also ordered the creation of a set of clay Rue-si statues to provide this knowledge for the general benefit.

Statues in Wat Po temple

Since the statues were made of clay, most of them collapsed or lost their shape in the rain. During Rama III (around 1836) 82 Rue-Si Datton statues were renovated. After completion, the statues were placed in the pavilion in Wat Po and poems to explain the benefit of every position were inscribed under each statue.

Benefits by poems

The poems were created by about 35 people, including King Rama III himself, some lords, monks, and others. Also, medical texts were inscribed into marble tablets. Medical theories regarding the origin and treatment of disease, massage charts, and over 1000 herbal formulas were all recorded on the marble tablets. Gardens of medicinal herbs were also planted on the temple grounds.

Open medical university

So Wat Po could become an open university of traditional Thai culture. Over the years most of these Rue-si Datton statues have vanished, but in 2009 the Public Health Ministry’s Department for Development of Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine (DTAM) sculpted the same 80 Rue-si Dat Ton statues, this time in metal, to promote the art of traditional Thai healing. So now everyone can see them again!

Create a healthy day!

Nicole & Manel





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