Rue-si Dat Ton is an ancient system of self care developed by hermit/ascetics over the millennia. This unique practice is comprised of self-stretching, vigorous exercises, self-massage, meditation, mantras, breathing and acupressure techniques. There are approximately 300 techniques (including variations) in this system.

“Rue-si” means hermit, recluse, or ascetic in the Thai language. “Dat” means to bend, straighten, or flex. “Ton” means one’s self or one’s body. Therefore the Thai term “Rue-si Dat Ton” can be translated as Ascetic Self-Stretching. However, there is much more to Rue-si Dat Ton than just stretching.

Rue-si are spiritual teachers who live in natural, secluded places like forests or caves to concentrate, clean their minds, and pursue enlightenment. They are keepers of ancient knowledge of the world passed down through the ages mostly by oral tradition, in subjects such as natural medicine, alchemy, tantra, astrology, yoga, mathematics, palm reading, music, etc. Countless people have sought help, wisdom, and healing from Rue-si, who held a status similar to the level of which we respect doctors today.

Rue-si spend many hours every day sitting cross-legged in meditation. Sitting like this for a long time can cause discomfort and pain. Being in seclusion often meant that they were forced to deal with ailments on their own. So in order to heal themselves and understand the various aspects of their physical, energetic, and psychic bodies, Rue-si experimented on and studied themselves. They developed hundreds of techniques to help alleviate a wide variety of disorders and to achieve homeostasis. It was through the modification of these techniques by Rue-si so that they could be applied to other people, that Thai Traditional Massage was developed.

Rue-si Dat Ton is the origin of Thai Traditional Massage. Therefore, it should be requisite for anyone who practices Thai Traditional Massage to have a solid foundation (or at the very least a basic understanding) in Rue-si Dat Ton. After all, how can one truly know another, if one does not know oneself? And furthermore, how can one heal another most effectively if one cannot heal oneself? The Rue-si Dat Ton system is a reliable means to understanding the body on a much deeper level.

The massage profession is a very physically, mentally, and emotionally demanding one and it can easily take its toll on the therapist. Consequently, a sizable part of massage education focuses on the utilization of proper body mechanics so as to avoid personal injury as well as protecting the energy of the therapist in order to avoid burnout. It is also recommended that massage therapists receive massages regularly themselves and engage in Yoga, Tai Chi, or similar practice in order to maintain their health, fitness, and overall wellbeing. The Rue-si Dat Ton system is a complete solution that addresses all of these issues.


The many benefits of practicing Rue-si Dat Ton include but are not limited to:

  • Wider Range of Motion in Muscles and Joints
  • Strengthens and Tones Muscles
  • Improves Agility, Coordination, & Balance
  • Warms Up the Body Before Doing Physical Activities
  • Promotes Better Blood Circulation
  • Enhances Respiratory & Digestive Function
  • Helps Detoxify the Body
  • Supports the Immune System
  • Lowers Stress & Anxiety / Provides Relaxation
  • Boosts Concentration & Meditation Ability
  • Supplies Oxygen to the Cells
  • Relieves Pain & Discomfort from Many Ailments
  • Provides Greater Longevity
  • Decelerates Degenerative Diseases


RDT can be practiced by everyone from children to the elderly. No previous experience with Yoga, Thai Chi, meditation, etc. is necessary. As mentioned above, it is highly advised to massage therapists for self-healing and especially those who practice Thai Traditional Massage to further their knowledge.


Please use caution when practicing Rue-si Dat Ton if:

  • You have had any joint replacements
  • You currently have any infections or swollen areas
  • You have extremely poor balance
  • You have Osteoarthritis
  • You have a Herniated Nucleus Pulposus (Herniated Disc)


Although the early beginnings of Rue-si Dat Ton is largely unknown and shrouded in mystery – most of what is known about the history of this ancient practice emerges in the late 18th century, with the coronation of the Thai King Rama I in 1782. He successfully established a new capital in Bangkok after the old capital of Ayutthaya (and much of the knowledge contained within) was destroyed in 1767 by invading Burmese armies.

A major goal of King Rama I was to restore and protect Thai culture and wisdom so he decreed that all knowledge of ancient Thai arts and sciences should be acquired from all corners of the kingdom and brought to the temple at Wat Po. Over the course of ten years (from 1831-1841), five centuries worth of Thai knowledge in various subjects (including Rue-si Dat Ton) was then etched into marble, stone tablets. Wat Po still has a collection of 1,431 inscriptions from that project today which are known as The Epigraphic Archives of Wat Pho.

Another particularly important project included in this initiative was the sculpting of numerous clay statues which portrayed Rue-si performing their techniques. The torch of this responsibility was passed and carried onward by each successive King. For example; in 1836 King Rama III supervised the rebuilding of new Rue-si Dat Ton statues made from a more durable material because the old clay statues were more susceptible to deterioration by the weather. Over eighty statues were created demonstrating various techniques and King Rama III assembled a team to develop poems with illustrations that describe each technique. He himself was a part of the team which included about 35 other people made up of royalty, monks, artists, celebrities, and commoners. Unfortunately, in the years following their completion, most of those original statues were lost, stolen, or destroyed.

Also commissioned by King Rama III was an 1838 manuscript called “Samut Thai Kao” (currently located in the National Library in Bangkok) which serves as the original source text on Rue-si Dat Ton. This manuscript is a compilation of illustrations and poems detailing the eighty techniques as demonstrated by the original statues at Wat Po. It’s likely that earlier texts existed but were destroyed along with the old capital of Ayutthaya. If earlier texts exist, they haven’t been uncovered yet or are still unknown to us. Although this text highlights 80 Rue-si Dat Ton techniques, there are nearly 300 (including variations) in the system as we know it today.



Underscoring the importance of this ancient wisdom, is the action taken by UNESCO to include The Epigraphic Archives of Wat Pho into the Memory of the World Register in 2011. Sadly though, and despite the tireless efforts of so many, this ancient knowledge is slowly fading away from awareness and is in real danger of extinction. There are multiple factors that contribute to this which include:

  • Inconsistency in Spelling of “Rue-si Dat Ton” This problem occurs through the phonetic translation and conversion of the Thai language into the Latin Alphabet. Because of this, Rue-si Dat Ton has literally been spelled in so many ways it’ll make your head spin such as: Rusie Dutton, Ruesri Dat Ton, Reusi Da Ton, Rue See Dut Ton, Rusie Datton, Ruesri Datton, Reusi Dat Ton, Rue See Dad Ton, Rusie Dat-ton, Rue Sri Dut Ton, Lusie Dutton, Rue-Si Dat Ton, Rusri Datton, Lusie Datton, Rue-Si Datton, Rusie Dotton, Ru Si Datton, Reusi Datton, Rue See Dat Ton, Rasi Daton, Lucy Dutton… etc. Is your head spinning yet??? The spelling I’ve chosen to adopt (Rue-si Dat Ton) is the one used by the Wat Po Thai Traditional Medical School. It is absolutely critical that one spelling is agreed upon and universally adopted if Rue-si Dat Ton is to survive. After all, how can this incredible system be researched, promoted, taught, & marketed effectively otherwise?
  • The Individual Techniques Lack Specific Names by Which They Can Be IdentifiedImagine going into Yoga class and the instructor says, “Okay, now move into the Wat Po 18 Positions Style – Technique number 13. Inhale….” or even worse by using the original poems such as, “Rue-si Aa-Yan was ordained, like brahman, carrying his stuff everywhere through the forest. Having gas, so he put his stuff down to stretch….” How is that going to flow? Mountain Pose. Down Dog. Cat. Cow. You get the idea! Tai Chi has names for each of its various styles and forms. What makes Rue-si Dat Ton so much different is that a single technique can be prescribed to treat specific ailments, but the technique doesn’t have a common, identifiable name. This must change if Rue-si Dat Ton is to become more widespread.
  • The Nature of Rue-siAs Rue-si prefer to live in quiet seclusion, it is an extremely rare event that a person will ever encounter an authentic one. Additionally, their knowledge is passed down by oral tradition to an apprentice, not a classroom. This means that maybe only a single serious student will come along who will eventually replace a Rue-si who passes away. In fact, some estimate that there may only be a handful of real Rue-si still alive in Thailand. Unfortunately, they aren’t out there making Youtube videos, teaching workshops, or even writing anything down!
  • The Influence of Western Medicine in ThailandWhen a person becomes ill in society today, they go to the hospital which is usually very accessible. Unless they happen to live in an extremely rural village area that happens to be in a close enough proximity and has access to a real Rue-si. Besides that though, the mindset has shifted greatly from looking inward for answers, to looking outwards. Simply put – it’s easier for most people to pop a pain pill than to learn how to relieve that pain with a technique.


Our mission is to seek out and gather all knowledge pertaining to Rue-si Dat Ton from legitimate sources far and wide, consolidate and refine the information, address the issues stated above, and put it into digital form so that not only will it be preserved, but its healing wisdom will be accessible around the world. We aim to fulfill the dreams of Kings. We greatly appreciate any and all support in this seemingly impossible quest that has been riddled with complications throughout the centuries. Thank You.