Can Thai Massage be done on animals?
Why should Thai Massage only work on humans? You are probably thinking that Thai Massage is a system of stretches, and that cannot be done on animals. But that’s not correct.
Let’s redefine Thai Massage. In contrast to Swedish-style oil massage systems that are done directly on the skin and require taking off your clothes, Thai Massage is done fully dressed.
Therefore it requires different techniques like pressure, kneading, rocking and stretching. Oil massage does not require movement on the part of the client, but Thai Massage uses lots of movement oriented techniques.
While stretching is part of the system, it is not its main definition. It is entirely possible to do a full Thai Massage without any stretching. While stretching is generally neither appropriate nor necessary for animals, all the other techniques, i.e. pressure, squeezing, kneading and rocking, work on them just as well as on humans.
Actually they work very well on animals. In contrast can you imagine doing an oil massage on your dog or cat? That clearly would not work on a furry creature.
How I gained a client by massaging her dog
Let me tell you a story. Once I had an acquaintance who was interested in Thai Massage, but was not quite sure about it.
One day I visited her in her home. She had a young dog whom she dearly loved and who was quite hyper.
You know the kind – running all over the place, jumping up and down on you, constantly in motion and easily excited. But the dog was friendly and cute, so I squatted down and started to massage it.
With animals you have to tone down your techniques. On big humans you can use forearms, knees, elbows and feet, but on a dog you will just use your palms and fingertips. Otherwise it is the same.
So I kept working on the dog, and she kept getting quieter and quieter, obviously enjoying the session while her owner was watching attentively.
After maybe ten minutes the animal was lying down in a totally relaxed mode and went into a trance-like state. Even after I stopped working on her, she was lying there motionless and obviously at peace and totally content.
Her owner was amazed and said that she could normally never get the dog to relax like that.
After seeing the effect that my treatment had on her dog, she immediately decided that she wanted a session as well.
My little impromptu dog massage gained me the trust and patronage of a new client.
And for me it was a wonderful experience to see that Thai Massage is much less limited than we might think. Animals instinctively know that.
Actually it also works the other way round. In Thailand you can get a “Thai Massage” from an elephant.
Just like I had to tone down my massage techniques for the puppy, somehow the elephant knows to tone down it’s techniques for the humans as well.
I have to admit that I have not tried it, but it is a popular affair in some areas of Thailand.
I still prefer the human touch for my massages, but the elephant massage definitely looks better in the photo album. It is right up there with hugging tigers which is also happening in several places in Thailand.
Bottom line is: Let’s expand our definitions what can be done with massage and let’s be creative!
Thai Massage can be done by professional therapists, it works great for helping friends and family with their aches, you can use it on your pets, it blends in great with yoga practice, and it even works well on pregnant women.
The author, Shama Kern, is the founder and director of Thai Healing Massage Academy. He has been practicing and teaching Thai Massage for over 15 years. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org