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Thai Massage Tips And Tricks Part 4

thai massage tips and tricks - maintaining body contact in Thai Massage

What are reasons for getting a Thai Massage?

There are many reasons for getting a Thai Massage. Some people just want to relax, some people have a specific problem which needs attention, others use it as a maintenance program for good health, and some people like to improve their flexibility.

One good reason is to just zone out and go into this trance-like state that is much easier to come by in a good massage session than with any meditation technique. In a good Thai Massage session, this meditative or ‘zoning out’ effect happens naturally.

How can you experience a blissful Thai Massage session?

Getting to this wonderfully relaxed state is only possible if there is a good flow and continuity in the massage techniques, and if the therapist does not do anything extreme or painful or insensitive.

As both a Thai Massage practitioner and recipient of hundreds of Thai Massage sessions, I have a real radar for insensitivity or lack of attention on the part of the Thai Massage therapist. I can feel if the therapist is able to connect with me and my needs or is just performing a routine sequence of techniques.

There are some simple and effective strategies for creating a superior Thai Massage experience. Once you learn them, you will be able to improve your practice of Thai Massage or any other massage style significantly.

Often it is those simple tweaks that can make a major difference in a Thai Massage session. This “Tips And Tricks” video series highlights some of them for you. Today’s episode covers ‘maintaining body contact’.

If you would like to watch other episodes of the Thai Massage tips and tricks series, you can find them here:
Thai Massage Tips And Tricks Video Series

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profile pix 300X300pxThe author, Shama Kern, is the founder and director of Thai Healing Massage Academy and the creator of 20 Thai Massage online training courses. You can reach him at shama@thaihealingmassage.com

16 thoughts on “Thai Massage Tips And Tricks Part 4

  1. I have to disagree with you on this one, Shama. As long as a therapist is staying present, I don’t feel they need to stay physically connected throughout the massage. Personally, I find it really irritating when a therapist is in constant physical contact with me throughout a massage. When they take their hands away for a moment, it gives me a chance to breathe and feel myself, and my body can integrate the touch. I don’t do Thai massage, but I do give Zen Shiatsu sessions and I don’t stay physically connected throughout the whole session.

    • Nothing wrong with disagreeing Jyoti. There is an old saying “If we would all be same, it would only take one of us“.
      I am mostly speaking from my experience here in Thailand where it is very common that therapists get distracted during sessions, answer their mobile phones, chat with other therapists on the mat next to them, or get up and walk around you without being very present. This can be quite irritating.

      in regards to your comment: I never feel the need for the therapist to disconnect from me in order to get a chance to breathe and be myself, since I never had the feeling that a good massage would ever inhibit my sense of breathing or being myself. That’s just me, though.

      So the maintaining of body contact is a strong personal preference of mine and it has served me very well with my clients. However I can well imagine that you have created a way to disconnect from your clients while keeping your level of presence high enough so that it does not create any unease. This is a combination which is rare to find here in Thailand.

      I am also aware that there are clients who get Thai Massage or Shiatsu sessions for specific therapeutic reasons, and for them it would just not matter if the therapist keeps body contact or not. Since there is nothing wrong with my body, I love to drift off and go into lala land when I receive a session, and this is probably the reason why I am more acutely aware of the disconnect. I love the feeling of continuity and flow.

      I think we all attract clients who resonate with our personal styles. Often therapists have very different styles and preferences. This is great for our clients since it gives them a much wider range of choices.

      In conclusion, this video reflects my style, my preferences and my experiences which may be quite different from yours. And that’s perfectly okay:)
      I appreciate that you took the time to comment!

  2. Yes, that makes sense, Shama. I also don’t like someone getting distracted during a massage. Presence is the key.

    I liked your comment in the newsletter about videos using super supple models. It’s not only Thai massage. I’ve often thought I would like to see more real person, with real body difficulties in the various training videos I watch. It’s one thing seeing a technique being performed on a body that doesn’t really need it, but what about when you try to do the same thing on someone who is very overweight or restricted in their movements?

    • My thinking exactly. I often look at the ‘glamor videos’, and I just don’t see many clients that look like a super supple yogi type who does not really need the massage anyway.

      But what do you do if you have a client with Parkinsons who is all locked up and has uncontrollable muscle spasms? You never see that in most videos, although this is what would be very valuable.

      Or how do you adjust your positions when your client weighs twice as much as you? How do you protect your own body and health and which techniques work well for such people and which ones do you need to cut out. I would love to see more videos like that with real life examples, and less super model yogi type videos.

      I just mentioned Parkinsons since I have been working on a client for over one year now who has Parkinsons.
      I also realize that such ‘real life’ video models are harder to come by. Especially here in Thailand where most people are slim and light.

  3. I agree, I have recently just realized how important it is to keep at least a few fingers on your client’s body. I prefer to work with my eyes closed for most of the time. What I have learned, is that the best Thai Massage is when we as therapists connect to the Supreme Being (perfect balance, must not let his or her own thoughts get in the way), and also have a connection with the client, so you act as a catalyst of some sort. This is the best massage. What you are trying to portray in your video. Thank you.

    I would like to hear more about how to treat people in actual pain

    • Sarah, I also work a lot with my eyes closed. I agree with you, when we work from our center or source of energy, whatever you may call it, and we create an energetic connection with the client, this will result in a higher quality of massage. Not only that, sometimes amazing results happen once we add energy to the techniques.

  4. Hello Shama,
    Thank you so much for sharing this video and your passion for massage. I agree with you, maintaining body contact helps to create the flow.
    I have been enjoying all your videos and articles please keep it up. The Tips and Tricks series is very informative, it contains things that not very many people teach. It’s so awesome how you make me fall in love with massage!!
    Thanks again.

  5. Thank you for your advises, not so many teachers do that! I think I told you I´m a yoga teacher and I am used to “touch” my students in order to let them feel a particular position or muscle when they are not able to feel it by themselves. From this very experience, which is different from yours, when I am giving adjustments, I am “breathing” togheter with my students. I think that when a therapist touches a person (as you explain)in a thai massage session it is also a way of sharing his/her breathing.
    Have a good day!

    • Yes Beatriz, breathing is also very important in Thai Massage. I always teach my students to combine the techniques with the correct synchronized breath. Maybe I will make a little video about that too.

  6. I absolutely agree with the comments about being present – I don’t feel safe when the therapist is clearly not present in what they are doing – and it is palpable when you are receiving a massage. I too get frustrated at the lack of ‘real’ people in massage videos. I am 5ft and 114lbs and most people are bigger and heavier than me and I have had to find my own ways of adjusting various techniques or missing them out altogether for people who are too big for me/stiff/overweight etc. I have also been working with someone with Parkinsons for just over a year and work on the table because he can’t manage the floor easily. I do a combination of Thai and sports massage – very gently with the aim of keeping him as mobile as possible for as long as possible as well as working on energy lines and the parasympathetic nervous system. Thank you Shama again for your very useful videos and discussions.

    • Sue, it looks like most of us therapists would rather see ‘real people’ than super models in the videos. The trouble is that the Youtube audience largely seems to love the flashy stuff more than the real stuff. This is one big reason why I established this site and why I keep my videos simple. I don’t do much flashy stuff in my sessions, and I mostly work on people with real problems. So I focus on what works for me and my clients.

      I am very happy about the great response here from real therapists who share real stories and their actual experiences. This is so useful and inspiring for all of us.

  7. I loved the analogy to dance, and creating flowing movement according to the clients needs. The dance imagery is very helpful to keep this in mind.
    Thanks Shama

  8. Thanks so much for sharing this “staying in contact” video. It is very dance-like and it flows nicely. It becomes an artistic experience for the client and the therapist to enjoy on a very deep and meaningful level. Bravo, Shama.

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