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Thai Massage Interview with Shama Kern And Deon de Wet

Thai Massage colleagues Shama Kern, founder of Thai Healing Massage Academy, and Deon de Wet, founder of deonThai Method, met in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Besides riding their motorbikes, visiting a Reggae festival in the scenic mountain town of Pai, and talking shop about Thai Massage, they also met at Thai Healing Massage Academy’s studio to record a very interesting conversation.

Shama Kern lives in Thailand, and Deon de Wet lives in the US. So this was an East-West cultural meeting with many interesting angles from both perspectives.

This conversation has lots of useful nuggets and inspiration for any Thai Massage practitioner.

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8 thoughts on “Thai Massage Interview with Shama Kern And Deon de Wet”

  1. Shama and Deon-Thank you so much for a wonderful discussion. So much of what you said applies to my life as well. I have been a massage therapist for nine years here in Texas, USA but have been giving massages all of my life.

    My clients have always asked how I know where to find their “issues” and all I can say is “intuition”. It is not something I learned in traditional or massage school. It is, however, what I “feel” with my hands and mind instead.

    Massage school taught me the anatomy and physiological aspects of the body, but did not teach me the “Intuitive Aspects”. We grew up with my grandmother (part Native American Indian) giving us massages or “petting us” as small children. As I grew up, my mother had severe migraines and I learned where to press to make them go away, two athletic brothers always getting hurt and wanting me to “rub” their hurts. Now married to an ex-construction worker of metal buildings I work on my husband to try an alleviate the muscular aches and pains.

    My son went through kidney failure and transplant just three years ago this April and during dialysis had me rub his body to alleviate the muscular pains of dialysis treatments and then post transplant aches.

    My daughter, who is also a massage therapist, constantly works on her daughter (age 4) performing massage and she, too, now wants to do massage like Mommy and Granny.

    So much for my history…You and Deon hit a lot of major points for massage work here in the USA. I believe we are becoming too involved in the research and training aspects for massage. I know several therapists who were trained at the 300 hour level and do the work of an Occupational/Physical Therapist. They are THAT good! On the other hand, I know others who have had 1,000’s of hours of training and are instructors that can’t give the massage of a beginner level therapist.

    Where does the fine line of instruction come into play? What is the correct number of hours and courses of instruction a massage therapist should have? I don’t have the answer, but the amount of hours in training, money associated with training and association fees the USA is coming up with is about to drive a lot of terrific therapists and potential therapists out of the business.

    Instructors are in the same boat as well. Having to have your courses audited and approved by specific groups (many of whom are not even massage therapists)to make sure they meet approved massage guidelines is going to drive a lot of our mom/pop instructors out of business as well.

    It is a blessing that you and Deon have had this discussion and have hopefully opened the eyes of some individuals. I pray that you both continue your work and that we can see more highly “skilled” (not necessarily trained) individuals taking over in the future.

    Peace and blessings to you both! and, thank you again for a terrific discussion!

    • Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment, Cindy. I see eye to eye on this with you. And I am glad that I live in Thailand so that I have more freedom in regards to the healing arts.

  2. Dear Shama & Deon (as well as Cindy Frahm & your impressing comments) thank you so much for information & analysis of tendencies in massage therapy. The issue of Thai spontaneous & intuitive approach vs. western one is very topical. And nice all of you are representatives of both cultures & traditions, not to mention your long-life experience in the sphere. I am personally lucky to be presented both points of view: I also studied anatomy & physiology before being led to the Asian way of the same thing. But also I remember in my childhood I used my intuition while doing massage to people around, long before I started doing fitness professionally…Thank you, teachers, for sharing your knowledge & skills in English :) Thnx Universe I’ve studied English :) It gives huge opportunities to develop my personality :) Be healthy & welthy!

    • It is indeed very fortunate that you speak fluent English. It gives you access to so much information. This is something which I have always noticed here in Thailand. Almost none of the therapists here speak decent English, and therefore their access to additional skills is very limited compared to their English speaking colleagues in the western world.


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