What is today called "Thai massage" or "Thai yoga massage" is an ancient healing system combining acupressure, Indian Ayurvedic principles, and assisted yoga postures. The founding father of Thai massage was an Ayurvedic doctor named Jivaka Kumar Bhacca, who is revered still in Thailand as the "father of medicine". Born in India during the time of the Buddha, he is noted in ancient documents for his extraordinary medical skills, his knowledge of herbal medicine, and for having treated important people of his day, including the Buddha himself.
In the Thai language it is usually called nuat phaen thai (Thai: นวดแผนไทย; lit. "Thai-style massage") or nuat phaen boran (Thai: นวดแผนโบราณ, IPA: [nûət pʰɛ̌ːn boːraːn]; lit. "ancient-style massage"), though its formal name is merely nuat thai (Thai: นวดไทย, lit. Thai massage) according to the Traditional Thai Medical Professions Act, BE 2556 (2013). The art form is also commonly known as Yoga Massage or Thai Yoga Massage, as the practice is essentially a form of assisted Yoga performed by the giver, with the receiver completely passive throughout.