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Thai Massage Mats And Other Props
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Michael
Charlotte, North Carolina
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February 6, 2011 - 2:29 am
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Good day all, 

   I have but a quick question, to which I am sure there is an individual answer. For those of you doing ground work as opposed to table work, what size massage mat are you using? How do you like it, would you go larger or smaller?  I've done some looking and some of the mats seem awfully small for client and practioner. I am looking for something that would fit both me and my client and look to you for suggestions.

 

With many regards, 

Michael

With Metta, 

Michael P. Barnes LMBT 8913, RMT

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Shama
Thailand
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February 6, 2011 - 11:53 pm
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Hi Michael,

I tell you what I did in my Thai Massage therapy practice. My objective was  to have a really light travel setup that I could easily carry around, throw in the back seat of a car, or even carry on the luggage rack of my motorcycle. I went to Academy sporting goods store and bought two good quality, soft and light weight exercise mats, the kind that you roll up easily. Then I attached several adhesive velcro strips to one side of both mats. Then all I had to do is connect both mats with longer velcro strips in about 4 places, and I had a pretty good size mat. Total set up time about 2 minutes. Total cost about $60.- Then I got one of those inexpensive colorful Mexican blankets, and I covered my double mat set up with that.

I have used this set up for years, and it has served me very well. Now if you have a dedicated space in your home and want to leave the mats there permanently, you might consider another solution. I did it that way because I wanted to be able to roll up my mats and move them very easily. Plus this was cost effective and easy to find and use. 

Let me know what kind of set up you end up with and where you found it.

Shama

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KC
Toronto
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September 27, 2011 - 12:58 pm
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Michael said:

Good day all, 

   I have but a quick question, to which I am sure there is an individual answer. For those of you doing ground work as opposed to table work, what size massage mat are you using? How do you like it, would you go larger or smaller?  I've done some looking and some of the mats seem awfully small for client and practioner. I am looking for something that would fit both me and my client and look to you for suggestions.

 

With many regards, 

Michael

My mats are heavier and denser than Shama's they are more like dense tumbling mats that gymnasts use. I bought them at a place that has them specially made for Thai Massage, with the practitioner in mind. The standard size is 4ft x 8ft but with an attachment that is also Velcroed together it can be 6x8 or 8x8 (anyone who has the luxury of using the 8x8 is lucky indeed, you can roll and turn your clinet any direction and you always are on the mat).  They fold up to 2x4 small enough for the trunk of a car but not small enough for the back of a motorbike. They are much much more expensive than $60 too, but my body gets too tired on the small mats.  (unless done on the ground vs a floor.  I can give all day on the grass and not feel tired at all, these mats are a close second) 

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Shama
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September 27, 2011 - 11:58 pm
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I am thinking of offering Thai Massage mats on my website. Here in Thailand most massage places use a particular kind of mat that is covered with vinyl. I have some of those and they are almost indestructable. I have had mine for around ten years and they still look like new. That might be convenient for some practitioners. Even with shipping it would still cost less than a similar quality mat in the West. They are similar to what you described as heavy gymnast's tumbling mats.

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Heidi Mitrus
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January 5, 2012 - 3:17 am
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HI All,

Michael, I bought a thai massage mat from a massage products catalog and I'm not that pleased with it. If has a pretty exterior design, but is heavy (20 lbs.) and just wide and long enough for the client, so I end up kneeling on the floor or utilizing additional floor pillows! the roll up exercise mats sound like the better alternative to me.

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Shama
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January 5, 2012 - 6:19 pm
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I have, as Michael said "the luxury" of always using two good size mats next to each other. I agree, it makes life so much easier if you have enough room to move the client around and you don't end up on the hard floor with your knees or feet.

If you look at any of my massage videos, you see what my setup looks like. Where I am filming all my instructional videos is the same space where I do my sessions. 

Luckily here in Thailand it is very easy to find a variety of the right size mats and also smaller ones in case you have to get off the main mat. I have an entire assortment of various size cushions and pillows and mats. 

Here is a list of some useful props and where to use them:

  • You need to stuff something under the bent leg of the client in the side position
  • You need to put a little pillow under the client's head in the side position
  • You often need to put something under the ankles in the prone position
  • You may need to put something under the client's head in the supine position. It should be a firm flat cushion or a folded towel. Bed-style pillows get in the way when you do neck, head and shoulder work.
  • It feels better to put something under the knees when you do extended abdominal work in the supine position
  • You need some small towels in case you need to use oil on the neck
  • You need to have a blanket handy in case the client gets cold
  • You need to have a little oil handy for neck work. I like Jojoba since it does not leave a greasy residue.
  • You need a big pillow to stuff under the client's chest in the the prone position (bed pillow is fine here) and a small pillow that goes under the forehead. This essentially simulates a massage table with face cradle.
  • And you need GOOD MATS!

Bottom line: you feel a lot better once you have a good setup. Here in Thailand all this is very cheap and easily available, at least where I live, in Chiang Mai.

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Lara
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April 17, 2014 - 10:28 am
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Hi Shama,

Do you sell mats on your website? Would you say that 8 x 8 is a good size for floor work so both client and therapist will be comfortable? I'm liking the idea of the exercise mats velcroed together for ease of transport but also to be able to roll up if I need to do table massage as well. 

 

Thank you,

Lara

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Shama
Thailand
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April 17, 2014 - 11:44 pm
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Lara, those velcroed exercise mats were perfect for me since I actually used to do a lot of house calls on a motorbike way back when, and they easily fit on the bike. They are so easy to store as well. However if you have the room, it would be better to get a thicker mat. The wider the better.

It is a big advantage if you can easily move around a client while still being on the mat. It also makes it easier to roll the client into a different position without having to ask them to reposition their body so that they don't slide off the mat. Just don't get a very thick mat since if there is a lot of difference between the floor level and the mat, it can feel a little awkward for your own positioning unless the mat is so large that you never have to get off it.

The mat should not be too soft since this will make it difficult for you to keep your balance when you are working with your foot. 

I don't sell mats on my website although we have the perfect mats here in Thailand. The thing is that they are quite heavy and the shipping is either very expensive, or for cheaper rates it can take months to get to you. So I feel that my students can get mats much faster within the US or Europe.

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Nicholas Boucher
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January 26, 2015 - 10:06 pm
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I am considering purchase of this floor mat. Would this be too soft, in your opinion? Thank you.

http://www.matsmatsmats.com/pi.....u-mat.html

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Shama
Thailand
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January 26, 2015 - 10:56 pm
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I have a video about choosing a good mat for Thai Massage here:
What is the best mat for Thai Massage

That might help. It's hard to tell how soft the mat is which you are considering without seeing it. But Shiatsu mats fulfill the same function as Thai Massage mats, so chances are it's suitable.

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Nicholas Boucher
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January 30, 2015 - 11:53 am
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Thank you for your response. The video is very helpful! I chose two large gym mats that will be delivered tomorrow. Looking forward to a better practice area.

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