Thai Massage is HOT nowadays. All over the world many massage therapists and yoga teachers are learning it to expand their skill repertoire – and for good reasons. It is an amazing, effective, and inspiring massage system.
So how is it done? What’s the best way to go about learning it?
Here are four options you should consider for learning Thai Massage, along with their advantages and disadvantages.
1. Thai Massage training at a local massage school
There are two kinds:
- One is a regular massage school that offers courses in many modalities. In this case you would want to get a good idea who the teacher is, how long he or she has been studying and practicing, and how much of their practice consists of Thai Massage.
- The other option is a school that specializes in Thai Massage training exclusively. This can often be a better choice, since such teachers are generally highly experienced and passionate about their work.
They have often developed a unique style which is more advanced than basic traditional Thai Massage.
Advantages: Generally all your training counts towards certification or CEUs. Communication with the teacher is instant, group energy can be inspiring. You can practice under supervision.
Disadvantages: The most expensive method. Most courses are fairly short, and long term study programs typically cost thousands of dollars. If you choose a short course, you have to keep taking more courses until you have reached a decent skill level.
2. Studying Thai Massage in Thailand
Thousands of people travel half way around the world every year to learn Thai Massage. There are hundreds of schools in Thailand, some being ‘hole-in-the-wall’ operations, and some being highly reputable institutions.
The course fees are substantially lower in Thailand, but when you include airfare and other travel expenses you don’t really save much, if anything, compared to studying at home. But it will be more fun.
Advantages: You can combine your studies with a vacation in an exotic place, many choices of schools, many opportunities to practice on fellow students/vacationers, lower course fees compared to the West which allows you to study for longer periods of time.
Disadvantages: The quality of the schools varies greatly, the teachers often do not speak good English, the hours and certificates are in most cases not valid for certification in your home country, or they only count for CEUs, and even this applies only to very few schools.
3. Private Thai Massage training lessons
The one-on-one option is really only feasible in Thailand since the cost in western countries is simply too high. Private lessons can be very effective since you can learn at your own pace without having to fit into the group’s pace.
You can practice on the teacher which is the best feedback you can get compared to working on an inexperienced fellow student.
Advantages: most direct learning method, best feedback, fastest way to learn
Disadvantages: you only get to practice on one body, you miss out on the group dynamic, companionship and networking
4. Online Thai Massage training
Online Thai Massage video-based training courses can be an excellent choice, if these conditions are met:
- The course is not just a DVD with loads of techniques being demonstrated, leaving it up to you to figure out how to implement it all.
- The course provides real support, i.e. you can contact the instructor and ask questions
- The course has a structure, a learning environment, a plan that you can follow
- The course enables you to be part of a community of students so that you can share your experiences and questions and you can network.
Advantages: The most cost effective solution, the best method for retention (you can always re-watch the training material again), the most convenient method (no travel, fits into your schedule, no time pressure, work at your own pace)
Disadvantages: If you are not disciplined enough to follow through with your practice, the online material won’t get used since there is nobody else encouraging you to go through the training.
Ideally you should have some background with massage, yoga teaching, or other healing arts to learn online.
However at our online training school, Thai Healing Massage Academy, we have seen a number of students who successfully learned Thai Massage online without any previous experience or massage background.
If you want to learn Thai Massage, you can decide which of these four options would work best for you. Of course you can also combine two or several of them.
For example, an online course can be a great complement to a physical course. After a live course you typically go home with a course manual full of hastily scribbled notes that you have a hard time deciphering a few weeks later.
The online training material however is a permanent asset which you can always access again when you need a refresher.
Or you could take a basic course in the West or in Thailand and follow it up with private lessons to fine tune your skills. That’s what I did when I started my Thai Massage career in 1999, and it was a great choice.
At Thai Healing Massage Academy we are catering to those who are comfortable with option #4, the online training.
If you want to find out more about this option, you can enroll in our free introductory video series, or check out our most popular training program:
The author, Shama Kern, has been practicing and teaching Thai Massage for 20 years. He is the founder and director of Thai Healing Massage Academy and the creator of 20 online Thai Massage training courses.