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How To Learn A Good Lesson From A Bad Massage

Thai Massage cartoonI have received my share of sub-standard Thai Massage sessions over the years. They were neither fun, nor relaxing nor therapeutic, but they taught me some valuable lessons.

Those experiences have helped me in my Thai Massage teaching and in my writing about it

My usual fail-safe routine for getting good massages

Normally I only go to therapists whom I know and who are consistently good. I rarely ever just walk into any old massage shop to get a massage. Why not? Because I have been disappointed one too many times with mechanical one-size-fits-all massages that just don’t do it for me.

I have to admit that as a 16 year veteran of practicing and teaching Thai Massage I set my standards higher than many others.

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How To Find More Success With Thai Massage

Thai Massage leg stretch

Thai Massage is more than a collection of techniques

What might the elements of good Thai Massage therapy be? A good range of techniques, knowledge of the theory, knowing the names of the sen lines and what they do, an understanding of the anatomy, some knowledge of the pathology of the client’s issue, good ergonomics, a good quality of touch…?

That’s all fine and well, however the list is missing one important element, and that’s YOU, the Thai Massage therapist. And I don’t mean what you can do and what you have learned, but who you are as a human being and how you relate to your clients.

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Thai Massage Contraindications Guide [2020 update]

contraindication for thai massage

As a long time teacher of Thai Massage I have often been asked if there are any contraindications to Thai Massage. Now, if you expect to see a neat little list of conditions that represent a no-go for Thai Massage work, you will be disappointed. However you will get something much more valuable:


First of all let’s look at this from a broader massage perspective. Many therapists make statements that such-and-such condition (“pathology” in more scientific terms) is a contraindication for massage.

Such statements are a massive generalization – and here is why

Massage is not just one thing, like a “one-size-fits-all” therapy. There are dozens or even hundreds of various healing arts therapies out there.

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Why Are There So Many Names For Thai Massage?

thai massage names

Thai Massage – what’s in a name?

As far as names are concerned, Thai Yoga Massage is the same as Thai Massage, or Traditional Thai Massage. There are many variations which sound like they are all different styles.

You may also hear about Lanna Style Thai Massage. Lanna simply refers to a region of northern Thailand. Then there is northern style Thai Massage and Bangkok style Thai Massage. However unless you want to get into the real nitty gritty, all those styles will feel pretty similar and you won’t be able to tell much of a difference.

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What Elite Athletes Can Teach Us About Massage

The following article is a contribution by Ion Doaga, owner of Massage Dreams.

Is massage on your to-do list?

It probably is, but it’s somewhere at the bottom of the list. You know you should have massages, but there’s always a ton of projects that need to be finished. Wait until pain occurs and then you urgently look for help.

It’s like dealing with your vehicle. If you don’t do any maintenance on your car, and only refill the gas tank and drive, sooner or later your car will break. Then you’ll have to take it to a mechanic, because now you ended up with a serious problem. However, you could have avoided this problem with minimum upkeep.

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Massage During Pregnancy

massage during pregnancy
Image courtesy of hin255 /

The following is a guest post written by Marcela De Vivo.

Massage During Pregnancy Is Beneficial

While being a mom-to-be can be exciting and exhilarating, the changes your body undergoes can be taxing. Prenatal massage is a great way to ease the discomfort of pregnancy, alleviating uncomfortable symptoms like lower back pain and swelling of the hands and feet.

Massage can also reduce stress and promote relaxation, helping you cope with other symptoms that massage may not directly address. Regardless, a quick, stolen hour to pamper yourself during pregnancy can go a long way to improving the overall experience and your health.

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Massage Benefits And Freedom Of Expression

I just watched a short video in which a massage therapist listed some benefits of massage. She looked nice, her work looked good, and I am sure it felt great.

She explained that massage increases circulation, eases tension, brings more blood flow to an area, eases the ischemic points (whatever that is…), brings the person into their parasympathetic nervous system (I have heard that word somewhere…).

Then she said that “often people claim to be more relaxed after the session”, and that “some people claim to have decreased blood pressure after the session”.

Why do normal people get massage?

I am sure the therapist was good at what she was doing and she meant well with her listing of benefits. But to me it shows a sorry state of affairs in the world of healing arts. I mean, come on people, who really gets a massage because of their ischemic points or their parasympathetic nervous system!

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Can Thai Massage Be Improved?


thai massage shoulder stretch
Shama Kern demonstrating a Thai Massage shoulder stretch


Is traditional Thai Massage better than non-traditional?

Thai Massage has almost a certain mystique about it. It sounds exotic and it looks quite amazing with all those stretches and yoga-like positions. It is the only massage system that I know which is branded as “traditional”.

Did you ever hear of “traditional” Swedish massage or “traditional” sports massage? Thai Massage however is promoted as ‘traditional’, with the implication that this somehow makes it better than a non-traditional version.

Actually the truth is just the opposite. Some of the very best Thai massage teachers I ever had were all very much non-traditional. They developed their own style, they were very creative, came up with modifications and significantly diverged from the ‘traditional’ style that is taught in most schools in Thailand.

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