I have often heard this myth that Thai Massage is painful. But, after working on countless clients over the last 20 years, nobody ever told me that my sessions were painful.
My wife has been doing Thai Massage sessions for as long as I have, and nobody ever complained that her sessions are painful either.
Both of us have put many hundreds of clients into a wonderful trance-like state with our sessions. So then -- what’s this ‘painful Thai Massage’ all about?
You will find out the facts about this pain issue when you watch the revealing video below. This knowledge is essential for any therapist since we will all be confronted with this issue throughout our career.
Where does this pain myth come from?
What’s the reason why many people think that Thai Massage is painful?
The answer is that Thai Massage is only painful if the therapist is not sensitive.
The idea that Thai Massage is painful is one of the myths that is often told about Thai Massage.
Actually it is several myths in one.
There are some people who believe that if it’s not hurting, it can’t be therapeutic. That’s called the “no-pain-no-gain theory”.
Wherever this idea came from -- it certainly should not be applied to Thai Massage.
That’s the idea that the harder you press, the more therapeutic it must be.
However, this one is just an excuse for being insensitive.
Thai Massage is not necessarily more therapeutic just because you press harder. In some cases, deeper pressure can be beneficial for therapeutic work, but if pressing harder results in the client resisting and tensing up, then you get the opposite result.
This one is a kind of self-deception.
There is a category of therapists who hide their lack of refined skills and their lack of sensitivity by claiming that Thai Massage is supposed to be painful.
That’s a convenient, but bad excuse. Why? Because it’s not true!
I remember, once I was reading a forum post by a Thai woman who practices Thai Massage in Switzerland. She was proudly stating that Westerners cannot handle ‘real’ Thai Massage, which is supposedly “very painful”.
This type of attitude is often found among native Thai therapists in Thailand and abroad. But it is still just an excuse for being insensitive or even brutal.
There are Thai Massage therapists who are not well trained and have never developed much sensitivity in their hands. And they, of course, can easily cause unnecessary pain.
Is there any truth in the ‘painful’ Thai Massage myth?
Some degree of discomfort in a massage session can be normal and acceptable.
But wait -- didn’t I just say that Thai Massage is not painful? Am I contradicting myself now?
Let’s look at this issue from a couple of angles.
Here are the facts. Thai Massage is not painful by nature. However, it is potentially painful, and there are three reasons:
- Thai Massage includes a lot of stretches, and if you (the therapist) are not very sensitive, it is quite easy to overdo them.
- Thai Massage therapists often work with elbows, knees, and feet. Again, if you are not very skilled and sensitive, it is easy to cause pain -- for example by pressing your elbow into someone’s body.
- Many Thai Massage therapists have only had very basic training. All they know is a sequence of techniques which they apply to all their clients -- a one-size-fits-all session.
They have never learned the real subtle art of intuitively working with people, of listening to their client’s bodies instead of just doing something to them.
However, pain is not necessarily always bad. There is such a thing as ‘good pain’.
What’s the difference between good and bad pain?
Here we are getting into the subtle art of understanding and managing pain or discomfort in Thai Massage therapy. There really is “good pain” and “bad pain“. How do we tell them apart and how are they defined?
The art of Thai Massage
The art is that good Thai Massage therapists have to know the difference between good pain and bad pain, and make sure to never cause bad pain.
To develop this skill takes experience, intuition and the ability to listen with your hands instead of just doing something with them.
The bottom line is that Thai Massage is not painful by nature. Actually Thai Massage can be done in a very gentle way so that you can put your clients to sleep.
How to learn Thai Massage as a healing art
Learning to work in such a sensitive, intuitive and creative way takes more than just a basic Thai Massage course.
Thai Healing Massage Academy provides all the training you could ever need to become such a sensitive and skilled therapist, and you can conveniently learn it right from your home.
If you don’t know much about Thai Massage, you can enroll in our free introductory video series from the form below this article.
If you know that you want to learn the entire system of Thai Massage then check out our Complete Thai Massage course which has helped thousands of therapists and yoga teachers learn this beautiful art.
The author, Shama Kern, is the founder and director of Thai Healing Massage Academy. He has been practicing and teaching Thai Massage for 20 years, and he is the creator of 20 Thai Massage online training courses.