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What Are Your Best Choices For Learning Thai Massage?

Two methods to learn Thai Massage

There are two ways to learn Thai Massage – live training classes or online training courses. Let’s compare the two methods and come up with detailed pros and cons for both so that you can make an informed choice. We will look at these questions:

  • How effective is Thai Massage online training?
  • Is live classroom training always better?
  • Can you really learn Thai Massage online?
  • Which one is the best choice for you –  live classroom training or home study online training?

But first, what makes me qualified to talk about this?

My unique perspective on massage education

As the founder and director of Thai Healing Massage Academy, which is the premier online Thai Massage training school, I have been working with online massage students every single day for many years.

I live in a city which has the highest concentration of Thai Massage schools in the world: Chiang Mai –  Thailand’s number one destination for learning Thai Massage.

After teaching Thai Massage for two decades in both live classes and via online training courses, I have plenty of personal experience with both training methods.

Does online massage training work?

This is not a black and white issue. The only meaningful answer is:
It depends on your circumstances.

Let me demonstrate this with two hypothetical scenarios:

  1. You are a total beginner, you know very little idea about massage or yoga, and you decided to learn Thai Massage. You live near a good school, you have the money and the time to study there, and you love to learn in a group dynamic. You are also a very kinesthetic person and learn best via personal interaction.

    In this case the live course would be the right choice, and buying an online Thai Massage training course would not be the best choice for you.

  2. You are an experienced yoga practitioner and/or (Thai) massage therapist. You want to improve your skills, but there is no good Thai Massage school near where you live.
    Your schedule and your finances don’t allow you to take a few weeks off and attend an expensive massage school. You like visual learning, and you have friends or family members who would love to be your guinea pigs for new and fascinating techniques.

    Clearly a high quality online training course would be an excellent choice for you.

These are two extreme scenarios, and there are many variations somewhere in between. The issue is not if online massage training works, but if it is the right fit for you and your situation. Let’s dig deeper to find out what’s really best for you.

Live Thai Massage course pros and cons

What can go right:

  • If you have the time and the money to pay for live training, you live near, or can easily get to an excellent Thai Massage school, and you know that the teacher is good, then this is the right choice.
  • You can practice on a variety of students
  • You get instant feedback from the teacher
  • The group dynamic might inspire you
  • If you attend a school in Thailand, you get to enjoy the culture and atmosphere

What can go wrong:

Neither a live Thai Massage course nor an online course is a guarantee for a quality or successful education. Let’s look at some reasons why a live course  might not work out for you:

  1. You might end up with a teacher whom you don’t resonate with or who is just not top notch.
  2. You might not like the presentation, i.e. it is all going too fast with too little practice time.
  3. The school might turn out to be a commercialized massage factory that churns out graduates for the money only.
  4. The teaching might be too mechanical and miss the heart and soul of Thai Massage.
  5. The forgetfulness factor: You neglect to practice regularly after the class has ended, and a few months later you can’t remember much of what you learned.
  6. The course is just not long enough for you to learn it properly.
  7. Unrealistic promises: The school promises you that you’ll be able to do a two hour Thai Massage session if you take a three day or five day course (This happens all the time, at least here in Thailand). You don’t learn good Thai Massage in a 1 day, 3 day, 5 day, or even a two week course.

I have seen all of the above scenarios here in Chiang Mai, Thailand, countless times over the years.

It is entirely possible to attend a live Thai Massage course and either not learn it well at all, or walk away with the illusion of knowing it well, which can be even worse. Live massage training is no guarantee for a quality education.

Are short live courses useful?

Although short or introductory live courses won’t turn you into an expert, they can serve a useful purpose:

  • They can be a good introduction to the art of Thai Massage
  • They can help students decide to take up a more substantial study program
  • They can be a springboard to additional short courses which will eventually lead to a better massage education
  • They can add some elements to the repertoire of massage therapists who want to add some Thai Massage techniques to their existing modality
  • They can be a source of inspiration and an exposure to new concepts

When is live Thai Massage training NOT necessarily your best option?

Ideally anyone who wants to learn Thai Massage properly would take at least several months of in depth live training with a highly qualified teacher. However there are several reasons why this might not be possible or not even necessary.

  • You might not be able to afford the thousands of dollars necessary for such an extensive training
  • You might not have the time to travel to such a school or teacher and spend months in training
  • You might not want to learn the entire system of Thai Massage, but instead only want to focus on specific aspects which you can easily integrate with the main modality which you are practicing
  • You might not need to spend months in a training which focuses on beginners, since you already have lots of experience with massage and/or yoga

Take a self-test for online Thai Massage training

Can you answer ‘yes’ to one or several questions from the following list?

  • Are you an experienced massage therapist who wants to learn new skills?
  • Are you an experienced yoga teacher who wants to expand your range of offerings?
  • Do you have a good sense of touch and a good sense of intuition?
  • Is an expensive live Thai Massage education outside of your budget?
  • Does your schedule prevent you from traveling to attend lengthy trainings?
  • Are you a visual learner and enjoy video training?
  • Do you prefer the convenience of learning right in your home, at your own pace?
  • Do you have easy access to training partners, and can you commit to regular practice?
  • Do you have an excellent online teacher who offers real support?
  • Do you live in a part of the world where live training is just not available?
  • Have you had live Thai Massage training already, and you would love to also have a permanent source of Thai Massage training in video format which you can always review?
  • Do you want quality training for a small fraction of the cost of live training?

If you recognize yourself in some of the above examples, a quality online training program would probably be an excellent choice for you.

Evidence for online training results

There are teachers who insist that you cannot learn Thai Massage from a video. However there is solid evidence that this is not true, given the right circumstances and the right training.

All you have to do is go to the forum of Thai Healing Massage Academy and read the progress reports of our students. You will find many thousands of posts where our students write about excellent success with our online training courses.

They received positive feedback from clients including some real success stories, aches and pains went away or got better, clients came back for more sessions, and therapists successfully integrated aspects of our training into their styles.

Can you learn Thai Massage online from a video?

There are hundreds of students in our forum and facebook group who have graduated from our training, and who have established a successful Thai Massage business or improved an existing one. Many have invested in several, or all of our 20 courses. Nobody would do that unless it is working for them.

Many students find that they can learn better from a video since they can replay it as often as they like, and they can read the transcripts. They also often get better closeup views than in live classes.

Most of the students of Thai Healing Massage Academy are already massage therapists and/or yoga teachers or practitioners. But we also have students with very little massage or yoga background who have successfully learned Thai Massage skills.

Some of our students used the techniques on their children, their spouses, friends or partners, and they reported excellent results and wonderful feedback.

However the majority of our online students are professionals from the healing arts field. There are many reports of students expanding their practice, attracting new clients, or even starting a new career. Some students learned Thai Massage exclusively through our online training, and some studied both online and in live classes.

You can easily verify this for yourself by reading the many progress reports of real students in our forum.

When might online Thai Massage training not be right for you?

  • If you have the time and the money to attend a live course with a good teacher, by all means do so.
  • You are a total beginner, have no experience with massage or yoga, and need all the help you can get
  • If you don’t have the discipline to practice regularly, even the best online training won’t help you.
  • If you choose the wrong online course, with no support, no structure, no follow up, no access to the teacher, no student community, and no interactive features, it probably won’t work well for you.

Now you have a solid basis for deciding if online Thai Massage training is right for you. By now it should be evident that live training is not automatically better than video training. Both have their place. Both can be the right or the wrong choice, depending on your circumstances.

Live versus video training

==> A quality live training course with an excellent teacher is better than a massage DVD with no support, no community, and no learning environment.

==> A four-month long high quality online Thai Massage multi-media training course is better than a low quality 3 day live intro course which makes the false promise that you will be able to do a quality 2-hour session upon completion.

What can Thai Healing Massage Academy offer you?

As far as online Thai Massage training is concerned, you will not find any other source which offers as much quality, detail, support, follow up, and in-depth training as Thai Healing Massage Academy’s courses.

The proof is out in the open through thousands of actual student posts and testimonials in our interactive forum.

All our courses are backed by an unconditional satisfaction guarantee. We also offer certification programs and CEUs which are approved by the NCBTMB (National Certification Board for Massage Therapy in the US).

Owning a permanent training library for life

In most live training courses you have little to fall back on once the training is over. The result is often a high forgetfulness factor. I have met many students who told me that they had taken a Thai Massage course somewhere, but a couple of months later they had already forgotten half of it.

However in the case of online Thai Massage training you get to keep the videos and all other training materials as a permanent reference, which is a significant advantage. You can never lose any of the training through forgetfulness.

We offer 20 specialized online training courses, which is the largest selection of fully supported Thai Massage online courses on the market, and we have years of experience of successfully teaching students online. Check out our most popular program:


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Shama Kern, founder and director of Thai Healing Massage AcademyThe author, Shama Kern, has been practicing and teaching Thai Massage since 1999. He is the founder and director of Thai Healing Massage Academy and the creator of 20 Thai Massage online training programs.

Related articles:
How To Choose An Online Massage School
How To Learn Thai Massage

3 thoughts on “What Are Your Best Choices For Learning Thai Massage?”

  1. Hi! I just want to share my experience with online training and live training. At the beginning of last year I started a live massage course which took place two or three saturdays per month, every wednesday was “practice day”. I was really fortunate because I had the time to go to the practice sessions, otherwise I wouldn´t have learned a lot … The saturdays were full of theory and sometimes we only had about one hour or less of massage practice. During the classes I have always tried to take notes of the movements, how to apply them, take videos, but the result was that I missed a lot of things. So I stopped taking notes and left my camera at home just to concentrate on what we were doing. And the result was that I forgot a lot of what we were doing …

    Then I discovered Shama´s video training. At the beginning I was really skeptical, actually I´m totally against all this computer stuff in education (I´m talking about my children!), but then I started to watch the free short videos and I practiced some moves on my kids and I thought that this could work! Now, after almost three months I´m totally convinced that it was a great decision. With some discipline and a willing and interested partner it can be even better than a live training. In my case I even practice much more than in the live training I have had. I can also practice with my kids, my daughters love back and shoulder work and my son always wants me to work on his feet. And the most amazing thing is that I always can watch the videos before a session to reaffirm the movements and to refresh the variety of movements we have learned. This is what I really missed in the live training course.

    I think it´s good to try both possibilities if one has the chance. In the live training course I have learned some really valuable things, we made a lot of dynamical like games in order to get accustomed to touch someone unknown in a respectful way, to open ourselves, to listen and to see with our hands, etc. which is obviously not possible in an online course. Also the theory behind different techniques of massage is very interesting.

    Overall, as an introduction to this video course the live training was very helpful but not indispensable.

  2. Hi Shama, Thanks for sharing such a nice information about the Thai massage. I would like to add to it that Thai massage is composed of movements that apply pressure on different points of the body and the masseuse manipulates the client’s body into different positions to stretch the muscles.


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