Touching and contact issues in Thai Massage
In Thai Massage therapy, the practitioners have to set boundaries for their work. Those boundaries depend on the style of massage they practice.
In Swedish massage, the client is naked but covered with a sheet. There is not much physical contact aside from the hands of the therapist. In Thai Massage, the client is fully dressed, but there is more physical contact between the therapist and the client.
In Thai Massage therapy, practitioners use their bodies as leverage
Thai Massage is a close-contact massage system. The therapist is moving the client’s body extensively, mostly in the form of stretches. This is very different from Swedish massage where the client is not moved.
These movements and stretches cannot be done at arm’s length from a distance. Therapists have to get in close and use their body and their body weight for those techniques. Without using their bodies as leverage, it would cause too much strain on their bodies.
Thai Massage boundaries in Thailand versus the Western world
In Thailand this is normal and nobody gives it a second thought. Thai people are not concerned about body contact in their massage sessions.
But in the Western world, many therapists have to figure out what they are comfortable with or not, and what their boundaries are.
These boundaries can be reasonable and useful, but if they are applied excessively, they can also be unnecessarily restrictive and prevent the therapist from doing beneficial therapeutic work.
If Thai Massage therapists are too worried about what the clients will think, they will be overly afraid of touching clients. Then they put out a fear energy that is subtly perceived by the clients. This will limit the therapeutic value of their work.
Where do you set your boundaries in Thai Massage therapy?
Are there inappropriate areas, no-go zones, or off-limit situations in Thai Massage? Yes, there are, but they are a lot smaller and there are a lot fewer of them than many therapists would think.
The above video discusses this topic from the viewpoint of the environment in Thailand. It is mostly useful information for practicing Thai Massage therapists.
I you would like to see the other videos of the Tips And Tricks video series, you can find them all here:
Thai Massage Tips And Tricks
The author, Shama Kern, is the founder of Thai Healing Massage Academy. He has been practicing and teaching Thai Massage therapy for over two decades, and he is the creator of 20 online Thai Massage training courses.