The 2 elements of Thai Massage training
Learning Thai Massage techniques is only partially technical. The other part consists of developing intuitive, sensitive and responsive abilities. This second part is the secret to making Thai Massage feel wonderful.
The problem is that this essential second element is often neglected or not even taught at all in some Thai Massage schools.
That’s the reason why this great healing art sometimes has the reputation of being painful and strong.
This video demonstrates how to add this intuitive and sensitive element to the techniques.
The Thai Massage treatment protocol
The secret to great Thai Massage is not just knowing lots of fancy stretches, but knowing how to match those stretches to the level of comfort and tolerance of your clients.
Then, instead of feeling painful, the Thai Massage techniques feel relaxing, releasing, and healing.
Method #1: Slow down
How to accomplish this? One method is surprisingly simple: Just slow down.
When stretches are done quickly, you lose the ability to tune into your clients, observe their faces for indications of discomfort, or feel any physical or emotional reactions.
The second casualty of quick stretching is the ability of the client to relax into the stretch. Rapid stretching can easily cause pain and resistance – just the opposite of what you want to accomplish.
Clients will instinctively protect themselves from pain by tensing the muscles which you are stretching. That’s of course countereffective.
The power of good communication in Thai Massage
Since Thai Massage uses a lot of potentially strong stretches, it is extremely important to have a system of communication where the client is encouraged to give feedback in the case of discomfort.
This can also be described as working with a client, and not just on a client. The therapist can do that by using a simple system like asking the client to give feedback on a scale from one to ten, with ten representing strong pain.
If clients are not encouraged to give feedback during the session, they often won’t say anything until after the session, or they just won’t come back to you.
Working slowly, observing the client’s reactions, and establishing a feedback system is the best approach for avoiding the kinds of issues which quick stretching can cause.
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Method #2 – Stretch gradually
This again is a very simple method for providing a good stretching experience. It consists of making sure that the first repetition of a stretch is gentle, the second repetition a little stronger, and the third one right up to the comfort range of the client.
If you start out with a strong stretch, you again invite resistance and discomfort.
But if you lead into a stretch gently, maybe even with a rocking motion instead of a linear stretch, then you will not only prevent discomfort, but also get better results.
Flowing with Thai Massage
Rapid, intense stretching can feel mechanical, insensitive, and non-caring. Slow, deliberate, sensitive stretching can feel like the body is inviting you open it up and melt away any resistance, stiffness, and holding patterns.
Good Thai Massage training does not consist of just lots of fancy stretches. It needs to include training in the right application of these stretches, the ability to sense what is happening with your client, and the skills to match your work to your clients needs and levels of comfort.
You can find more informative videos in the Thai Massage Tips And Tricks series here:
The Thai Massage Tips And Tricks Video Series
The author, Shama Kern, is the founder of Thai Healing Massage Academy. He has been practicing and teaching Thai Massage for over 20 years, and he is the creator of 20 Thai Massage online training courses.
2 thoughts on “How To Master The Perfect Thai Massage Stretch”
Great video teaching Shama! Great advice on stretching in massaaging clients. Yes doing things slow and with awareness with your client! 🙂 Great advice!
Thanks Melissa, glad you like it!