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Thai Massage, Elephants, and Amazing Poses

Extreme Thai Massage 

Thai Massage is an exotic healing art. It has a certain mystique which comes from the fact that not many people understand it very well.

Sometimes I browse Thai Massage videos on youtube. One has to be the icing on the cake for being sensational. It shows an elephant doing a so-called Thai Massage by stepping on someone’s back.

Elephants are smart animals and can be trained to do all kinds of tricks. Some can play football, paint pictures and other stunts.

Since elephants in Thailand lost their traditional jobs in the logging industry, they have been retrained to work in the tourism industry. Someone has to pay for their expensive upkeep.

image of an elephant performing a so-called Thai MassageBut even elephants, as big as they are, can get spooked by certain things. A trainer in a  local elephant camp here in Thailand told me the story of one who got totally spooked by a mouse.

So personally, I prefer to have a human who does not weigh several tons rub my back. It’s not as sensational and it won’t impress the folks at home with my death-defying bravery.

I’ll leave that to the tourists and I will stick with good old fashioned human Thai Massage. But if you are looking for some excitement in your life, now you know where to get it!

What looks amazing often doesn’t represent real life therapy

image of a yoga position
This yoga position is not for your average yoga practitioner

If you look at cover pages of yoga magazines, you often see highly flexible yogis performing astounding positions that look really impressive but are way out of reach for most average yogis.

The same phenomenon exists in Thai Massage. There are many stretches that can look quite amazing.  Often you see pictures of therapists performing such ‘amazing’ stretches on their model.

She is usually a “pretzel yogini” which is my synonym for a highly flexible female yogi who can contort herself into the most advanced positions.

Thai Massage side bending stretch

Such yogis clearly make the best models for Thai Massage pictures, but they do not represent a typical Thai Massage.

I wish I would have had more yogi clients since they are the easiest to work on.

But the truth is that in my Thai Massage practice of over 17 years I rarely worked with perfectly healthy super yogis. Instead most of my clients were regular people who were often quite stiff, or overweight or had health issues.

True Thai Massage skills are often the most subtle ones

image of a Thai Massage position
Simple Thai Massage position for relaxing the hamstrings muscles

There is nothing wrong with displaying some amazing or even sensational  pictures of yoga or Thai Yoga Massage. However it is important to remember that the true skill of a yogi or Thai Massage therapist lies not in who can display the most amazing positions.

Instead it lies in who can transmit the most healing energy, who can make you feel like you just went to “massage heaven”, who is able to find and work with your health issues, and who can connect with you on an energetic level which is the source of all healing.

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Shama KernThe author, Shama Kern, is the founder and director of Thai Healing Massage Academy. He has been practicing and teaching Thai Massage for 18 years and is the creator of 20 online Thai Massage video training courses.


Related Reading:
Strange And Unusual Massage Practices
Thai Massage And Serious Diseases

18 thoughts on “Thai Massage, Elephants, and Amazing Poses”

  1. Thanks Shama, the article about elephaphant Thai therapists is very inspiring, if even elephants can be taught how to do Thai message, than my chanches to learn it are quite impressive.

  2. Hello Shama, Thanks for the picture and article about elephant.In Chile is very complicated to find one, but nothing is imposible!Philippe

  3. Hi Shama
    Very interesting but I don’t see that as an elephant role, I much prefer to receive my massage from a human

    • Agreed, Mary, however not everyone thinks like we do. I just read that in the Philippines they opened a “spa” where people get massages from Pythons who slither all over you, and some people love it. What do you know…

  4. Shama,thank you again for the next true about Thai massage.. And it’s not in beatiful pictures with yoga-models..

    One thing makes me really happy in my routine work..Any progress my people have after our sessions.. Yes,regular people,with really problems,stifness,overweight, paralyzed after stroke,disable children.. I’m happy they like Thai massage..

  5. Elephant massage? I think Ill pass. .that sounds crazy to me! I however love “Thai massage!” I get psin in my arms constantly. I think its due to all the massages I have given in my life. Thai massage is the only one that relieves my pain temporarily for a few days. Any suggestions? Thankyou Shama! :)

    • I’ll pass too on the elephant massage! :)

      Massage can definitely cause health problems for therapists in the long run. That’s why I always stress in my courses to use ideal ergonomics, work with body weight only, work with your entire body and not just with your arms, combine it with your breath as much as possible, focus on your hara instead of on your hands, and use other body parts instead of your hands as much as possible.

      Thai Massage is one of the most therapist friendly massage styles there is, if done correctly, especially when you work on a floor mat which allows for much better ergonomics. If Thai Massage is done right, it will not cause problems in the body of the therapist. If done wrong, it can cause problems. However your chances are much higher with Thai Massage to avoid problems as you described.

  6. Yes, I would not prefer an elephant to a human to do massage on me.
    However the elephant picture is amazing!
    Looking forward to that ideal heavenly massage of Thai massage.



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