The secret of Thai Massage as a healing art
Some Thai Massage sessions can feel like workout sessions. You are pressed, pummeled, stretched, yanked and kneaded – sometimes in painful ways.
And then…there are those sessions which make you feel like you are walking on clouds, or like you ended up in massage heaven. What’s the secret here? What accounts for the difference in those sessions?
Here’s the secret: Thai Massage techniques on their own, without certain refined elements, are just a mechanical system without a soul. It lacks the essence, the spirit, and the element of a true healing art. Read on for the details…
Thai Massage is more than a series of stretches
There is a common misperception that Thai Massage is mostly a collection of yoga-like stretches. However it is much more than that. It is a therapeutic healing system that has been used in Thailand for hundreds of years.
Bodywork has been practiced in Asia for centuries. Thai Massage has close relatives in Japan’s Shiatsu, China’s Tui Na, and India’s yoga therapy. All of those therapeutic systems have been used effectively long before there was a modern medicine.
The development of the eastern and western massage systems has been quite different:
- Western massage is based on and emphasizes anatomical, scientific and clinical knowledge.
- Thai Massage is based on an internal energy which is not visible but has been at the heart of many Asian healing systems for thousands of years. In Thailand these energy lines are called “sen lines”. The objective of a Thai Massage session is not just to affect anatomical parts, but to balance and reestablish energy flow.
Good therapists use more than their hands
Regardless of eastern or western style, all excellent and effective massage therapists do more than just using their hands to manipulate body parts. They use their energy, their intuition, their sensitivity, their intentions and their feelings of compassion.
Although many massage schools don’t teach this, good therapists often develop those skills in spite of their official training.
Thai Massage, along with other Asian therapy systems, is based on the concept of subtle energy flow. If you disregard this concept, then Thai Massage is reduced to nothing more than a series of pressure points and stretches. However if the energy flow concept is included, it turns into a very effective healing arts form.
What are the refined elements of Thai Massage?
New Thai Massage therapists are often mainly interested in the techniques. While this is important for developing the foundation of this system, it is just the first step on the stairway to ‘massage heaven’.
It is an interesting fact that the qualities that elevate Thai Massage from its basic mechanical functions to a true healing arts system have little to do with technical massage skills.
Sensitivity, intuition, compassion, a sense of energy flow, and a healing intention are all non-physical elements of massage. However these are what makes the difference between a mechanical massage and a healing art.
Since the western emphasis on anatomy and science does not take those more subtle or refined elements into consideration, such qualities and skills are often not taught in western massage schools. In the eastern training system, as in Thai Massage, those qualities are naturally present because of the underlying ‘sen line’ concept.
Still, even Thai Massage schools in Thailand often only teach the mechanical aspects of it. Some therapists, both eastern and western, develop these more refined skills intuitively with practice over time.
However fortunately these skills are not something that you either have or don’t have. They can be learned through a high quality training program, like what we teach in our online courses at Thai Healing Massage Academy.
Massage therapy and the cultivation of refined skills
Most clients would prefer to receive a session from a therapist who has qualities such as:
- Open and clean energy
- Kind and friendly
- Relaxed and easy going
- A good communicator
And the effectiveness of a good Thai Massage will be significantly increased if the therapist has skills such as:
- A wonderful touch
- A refined intuition
- A high degree of sensitivity with the ability to feel what is happening in the client’s body
- The skill to move energy, and not just anatomical parts
All those qualities are mostly in the realm of higher awareness – not just in the area of massage technique. Anyone can study Thai Massage techniques, but without the qualities of a higher degree of awareness one can end up being a massage mechanic instead of a healer.
How can you learn such ‘higher awareness’ massage skills?
Thai Healing Massage Academy provides a large variety of online Thai Massage training courses. They do not only focus on excellent techniques, but also on the development of more refined healing arts skills.
Along with the techniques, our students learn ideal body mechanics, a wonderful touch, a highly tuned sense of perception, correct breathing, body-reading skills, and energy awareness.
The author, Shama Kern, is the founder and director of Thai Healing Massage Academy. He has been practicing and teaching Thai Massage for 18 years, and he is the creator of 20 online Thai Massage training courses. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org