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Wat Po, popularly known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, is also known as Thailand's first open university under the patronage of King Rama III. Many fields of knowledge and technology that were practiced in those days were gathered here. The various fields of knowledge featured are history, religion, literature, arts, culture, medical science, physical therapy and pharmacy. Today, the well known Wat Po Thai Traditional Medical and Massage School is an official Foundation located in the temple grounds. Part of the proceeds of the Foundation support the operation of the Wat Po temple. One reason for the school's fame is the carefully preserved ancient techniques of the courses and treatments offered to Thai and foreigners.

Wat Po was created in 1836 during the reign of King Rama III by a royal decree announcing the institution of arts and sciences such as medical science and herbal pharmacology of that day. Within the school there are 60 murals depicting traditional Thai massage postures which include meridien lines and energy points on the human body, 80 statues of yoga postures each of which represent different self-massage and stretching positions with different curative effects are arranged in an outdoor garden museum. An impressive account of 1,000 formulae of recognized herbal pharmacology are documented. All those who are curious to acquire good knowledge and self health care can come to study at this convenient center. These inscriptions are published in textbook form by the Wat Po Thai Traditional Medical School. Most of the original text is still recognized by the Ministry of Public Health and the formulae are included in the official textbook. Some of the formulae have been translated into various foreign languages.

Massage is a method of treating ailments that had been used successfully for a very long time, in fact for more than two thousand years. But as society became more indoctrinated to accept western medicine, massage disappeared from many societies as a form of treatment. However, the practice of massage for treating physical ailments continues here in Thailand today. The Wat Po Thai Traditional Medical and Massage School in Bangkok offers courses on Thai herbal medicines and pharmacy, Thai Traditional Medicine and Practice and Thai Traditional Massage. Students spend 1-3 years studying the first two courses before sitting for an examination for a license. Massage students spend only 30 hours learning basic practice of Thai Traditional Massage. Those who are serious to pursue working in this field should spend another 30 hours for the Massage Therapy Course.

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