The elements of Thai Massage
Thai Massage is not just a massage. It includes a wide variety of techniques. Some of them are similar to elements which you can find in other holistic and healing arts styles, as in this partial list:
- Massage (compression and kneading)
- Yoga (stretching and breathing)
- Physical Therapy (therapeutic and rehabilitation work)
- Energy Work (the Thai sen line system)
- Chiropractic (spinal techniques and twists which are similar to some Chiropractic techniques)
- Trager (rocking and motion elements)
- Acupressure (pressure points in the Thai energy line system)
Thai Massage practitioners don’t necessarily do chiropractic work, or yoga, or Trager. However there is clearly a similarity or connection between Thai Massage and those other styles.
In the case of yoga, the connection is very clear since Thai Massage originally came out of India’s yoga system. Many Thai Massage stretches are essentially applied or assisted yoga stretches.
Thai Massage is not just a massage. It is also not just an energy work system. And it is also not just a sequence of techniques. What makes it so fascinating and effective is that it combines so many elements into one system.
Who can benefit from Thai Massage training?
Let’s take a look at the students of Thai Healing Massage Academy who have gone through our online training programs. There are several groups whom we have identified over the years who have found our Thai Massage training to be a good fit for them:
- Thai Massage therapists who want to improve their skills
- Yoga teachers who want to add new elements to their classes, or who want to expand their services through Thai Yoga sessions
- Massage therapists who want to add a new modality to their repertoire
- Energy workers who are looking for a more hands-on style which is still related to what they are doing
- Therapists who want to work in a more holistic, energy-based way, and who want to grow beyond the strong western focus on science and anatomy.
- Therapists from related styles like chiropractic or physical therapy who want to add some diversity and new skills to their work
- Therapists who want to learn better therapeutic skills
- Practitioners who want to reduce their reliance on their hands and who want to learn how to work in a more therapist-friendly way by using the many body parts which are typically used in Thai Massage
Let’s take a closer look by going through these groups one by one.
Do you fit into one of them?
==> Group #1: Thai Massage is often taught in a rather mechanical way as a fixed sequence of techniques. However there is a vast range of skills and potential that can be added to those sequences.
Classes in the western world are often quite short and limited in nature. Many of the graduates are not able to effectively work on specific problems and conditions.
This is what we focus on with our online training courses in Thai Healing Massage Academy. Students learn to work on back issues, knee problems, neck conditions, sciatica, shoulder problems, and many other issues.
==> Group #2: Thai Massage and yoga are clearly related. Not only that – they are highly compatible and an excellent combination.
A large percentage of Thai Healing Massage Academy’s students are yoga teachers who want to improve their hands-on skills, or who want to offer Thai Yoga sessions to their students.
They have an existing and receptive audience who appreciates Thai Massage as a natural addition to yoga.
==> Group #3: Western massage styles like Swedish massage are very common nowadays, and there is lots of competition. This makes it hard to stand out in a crowded environment.
Thai Massage, however, is not as well known yet. It is something fresh and unique, and it offers a totally different approach which can make it easier for therapists to stand out.
Thai Massage is also excellent for the therapist’s inspiration since it offers a new and refreshing way of working. And finally, Thai Massage offers highly effective therapeutic options which are not available in western massage.
==> Group #4: Many energy workers like Reiki practitioners are naturally attracted to Thai Massage which is an energy-based system. It adds hands-on skills to the energy work and is quite compatible with their existing skills.
Energy techniques can easily be used in combination with Thai Massage, and a more hands-on system of working can be an excellent additional skill set.
==> Group #5: Western massage is primarily based on science and anatomy.
In contrast, Thai Massage is based on working with energy lines. It is a more holistic approach which focuses on improving the body as a whole instead of working on segmented parts of it. It recognizes the inter-connectedness of the body, its conditions, and its healing mechanisms.
Many western massage therapists feel that there is more to massage than working on anatomical parts. Thai Massage fills in this missing element beautifully and elegantly.
==> Group #6: Many chiropractors work with massage therapists, which is a good combination. Thai Massage is an even better combination than western massage since it incorporates stretching elements which support chiropractic work very well.
Some chiropractors choose to learn Thai Massage techniques themselves to add another element to their work. Thai Massage is by nature a therapeutic system, and it can enhance both chiropractic and physical therapy work.
==> Group #7: Massage is often regarded as a way to relax someone. Thai Massage, however, has been used for centuries to help the Thai people with their aches, pains, and physical problems. It includes many techniques which enable western therapists to shift their work to a more therapeutic level.
Thai Massage can be used to address specific problems with backs, knees, necks, shoulders, or hips in a very effective way.
==> Group #8: Western massage styles primarily rely on the therapist’s hands. This can be very hard on the therapist and can lead to problems like carpal tunnel syndrome which has forced many therapists to drop out of their profession.
In contrast, Thai Massage is much more versatile and uses other body parts extensively and skillfully, like forearms, elbows, knees, and feet.
This makes it much more therapist friendly and can greatly reduce the stress on the practitioner’s body. Thai Massage can extend a therapist’s career and preserve their health.
How and where can Thai Massage be learned:
The obvious answer seems to be a massage school or a training workshop. However all the above-mentioned groups already have training in the healing arts. For them there is another option.
Thai Healing Massage Academy has created a highly effective online training system which has helped thousands of massage therapists, yoga teachers, and other health practitioners to learn this art very effectively.
The training is interactive with teacher support. There is a student community, certification options, the convenience of learning at one’s own pace, and lifetime access to training materials and support.
For more information about our online Thai Massage training courses, please visit our 20-course training library:
The author, Shama Kern, is the founder and director of Thai Healing Massage Academy. He has been practicing and teaching Thai Massage for 18 years, and he is the creator of 20 Thai Massage online training programs.