There are three groups of people for whom Thai Massage is an excellent fit and a valuable addition to their career:
1. Massage Therapists
From a western perspective,Thai Massage is not exactly a massage. It does contain elements of massage, but it also contains elements of yoga, chiropractic, physical therapy, and energy work.
Advanced Thai Massage consists of hundreds of techniques and is a much more complex massage system than western styles like, let’s say, Swedish massage.
You can make a great career out of Thai Massage all by itself, as I have done. I have been practicing and teaching Thai Massage exclusively for 16 years, and I never felt the need for any other modality. The same applies to tens of thousands of therapists in Thailand.
However many Thai Massage techniques can also be easily integrated with western massage styles. This can be very advantageous for western therapists because Thai Massage adds several important elements.
- A strong focus on good ergonomics which can be very helpful for therapist’s well-being.
- The ability to work with more body parts which can be a career saver for therapists whose hands, wrists and thumbs are showing signs of wearing out.
Thai Massage can preserve your health and career since you can greatly reduce the amount of work you do with hands, and instead use forearms, elbows, knees and feet.
- Physical manipulations. I am not just talking about squeezing a muscle, but about moving body parts in a major way. There is a huge variety of stretches which can be amazingly effective in releasing tightness and stiffness or even reverse loss of flexibility or mobility.
Many of those stretches can easily be built into any kind of massage and add value to the session. Thai Massage is not an exclusively all-or-nothing modality.
I know from the feedback of many of my students that they often introduce their new skills by gradually blending them with whatever style they are already practicing. And clients generally really appreciate this since it adds value and effectiveness to the session.
Regardless if you want to make Thai Massage your main modality or blend it with your existing work, it can be an important addition to your repertoire. Experienced massage therapists will be able to learn it fairly easily.
2. Yoga Teachers
Thai Massage is sometimes called Thai Yoga Massage, and for good reasons, since they are members of the same family. Thai Massage originally came from India’s yoga system. If you observe many of the stretches in both systems, it is quite obvious that there is a strong connection.
Therefore Thai Massage and yoga are an ideal combination. Many Thai Massage stretches will feel familiar to yoga teachers and will be relatively easy to learn. Here are some excellent applications:
- Yoga teachers can add elements of Thai Massage to their classes which enhances the value and the uniqueness of their training.
- Yoga teachers can offer Thai Yoga sessions to their students who naturally are an existing client base. Thai Yoga is so obviously compatible with yoga that students will see it as as a valuable addition to their yoga studies.
- Thai Yoga sessions can be an excellent way to gently prepare students for yoga training in a passive way. It can be the perfect support tool for new yoga students.
- Thai Yoga sessions can be used to help yoga students overcome stiffness or blockages or even deal with injuries.
3. Physical Therapists
Thai Massage and physical therapy are two very complementary styles of therapy. Physical therapists help their clients improve or restore mobility, reduce pain, restore normal functioning and manage injury related conditions.
Thai Massage can offer many helpful techniques which help address the same issues, and which can easily be integrated into Physical Therapist’s repertoires.
Physical Therapists already have a licence which allows them to practice Thai Massage. They can choose to either blend Thai Massage techniques with their existing repertoire or they can offer Thai Massage as a separate and complementary modality.
Massage practitioners, yoga teachers and physical therapists all have a good foundation to learn Thai Massage. They can either blend it with their existing style of work or offer it as it’s own style. The Thai Massage techniques add value to all three professions and are highly compatible with all of them.
The author, Shama Kern, has been practicing and teaching Thai Massage for 18 years. He is the founder and director of Thai Healing Massage Academy and the creator of 20 online Thai Massage video training courses.