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How To Learn Thai Massage At a Higher Level

The Thai Healing Massage advantage

Thai Healing Massage is not just a fancy name for Thai Massage. It has a very specific meaning, at least in the context of our training school, Thai Healing Massage Academy

I have been living in the Thai Massage capital of the world, Chiang Mai, Thailand, for 20 years.

thai massage wooden sign

There are Thai Massage schools and establishments all over the place, sometimes several within one block.

There is no other place with such a concentration of Thai Massage anywhere else that I have seen – and I have been all over Thailand.

In Thai Massage, quantity does not equal quality

quality vs quantity in massage

But this does not mean that in Chiang Mai you also get the best quality of Thai Massage compared to anywhere else in the world. Quantity does not necessarily equal quality.

Actually, it is not so easy to find truly excellent Thai Massage in Chiang Mai – or anywhere else in Thailand.

When people come to Thailand for the first time, or if they just spend a short time there, they are typically very impressed by any Thai Massage.

It is new to them, it is really different, it seems exotic, and their reaction is often “amazing“, “impressive“, “far out“, etc.

But those who have lived here for some time have become more selective.

Cookie cutter sessions with extra pressure for ‘therapy’

Thai Massage therapy

After some time you cannot help but notice that most Thai Massage sessions are pretty much on autopilot, one-size-fits-all affairs.

The therapists often do many sessions in a row without a break. They frequently chat with each other, and even answer their mobile phones during the massage.

Often it is quite obvious that they do not connect with their clients on a deeper level.

If you ask for any specific therapeutic work, they will always tell you that they can do that.

But in most cases, you still end up getting the same one-size-fits-all session with a few minutes thrown in on the area that you requested. The ‘therapy’ generally consists of just pressing harder.

Why is that?

Mainstream Thai Massage has gone wide, but not deep

The reason for this is that Thai Massage in Thailand has moved from a traditional healing method to a tourist attraction and sometimes a thinly veiled disguise for providing additional services that have little to do with therapy.

For many therapists in Thailand, this is nothing more than a relatively well-paid job that can be learned fairly quickly.

For them, it has little to do with a calling, a passion, a sincere desire to help people and a love for healing arts. It is just a job, and it shows in their sessions.

There are definitely very qualified, intuitive, and expert Thai Massage therapists in Thailand, but compared to the sheer number of therapists, they are quite a small minority.

They can be hard to find unless you stick around long enough to explore, get tips from other long-time residents and track down the really good ones.

What Makes the THAI HEALING MASSAGE system unique?

Thai Healing Massage Academy logo

We built Thai Healing Massage as the answer to the issues mentioned above. We looked at the strengths and weaknesses of typical traditional Thai Massage as it is done by the average practitioner.

Then we gradually worked on improving all the weaker areas by including either our own modified techniques or techniques from other massage and therapy styles.

Next, we made all our 20 courses available in an interactive and instructor-supported online training format, so that students from all around the globe could have access to excellent Thai Massage training.

At its core, the Thai Healing Massage system contains our most popular program, Complete Thai Massage, a highly detailed, easy-to-follow online training course with certification and CEU options.

This is not just a level one training, but a complete system. It covers ALL positions and techniques you need to become an effective, skilled therapist in a convenient instructor-supported online training environment.

The Thai Healing Massage system can even take you much further. Let’s highlight some examples:

spotlight on thai massage

More focus on the upper body

Typical Thai Massage sessions are mostly focused on the legs (the main strength of Thai Massage). 50-70 percent of any session in Thailand is spent on leg work, whereas upper body work is not as well represented.

In the Thai Healing Massage system, a lot more emphasis is shifted to the upper body.

Abdominal Massage

abdominal massage

Thai therapists almost never touch your abdomen. And if they do, it is generally an unpleasant experience.

Therefore we developed an Abdominal Massage style. This is a simplified version of Chi Nei Tsang which blends very well with Thai Massage.

Specialized Shoulder Massage Therapy

Thai Massage shoulder therapy

Most Thai therapists’ skills for good shoulder work are quite limited. Therefore we developed the Thai Massage Shoulder Therapy course.

This training adds 80 shoulder techniques to your repertoire which will turn you into a shoulder therapy expert – regardless if you use it for Thai Massage or with other massage modalities.

Heavenly Head Massage for neck, head, and face

Heavenly Head Massage

Thai Massage does include some neck, head, and face work. But it is often a hit-or-miss scenario. You might be lucky and get a decent one, or it might be seriously sub-standard.

None of the Thai Massage schools that I had originally attended spent much time on the neck, head, and face. This area had always been more like an afterthought.

That’s why we developed Heavenly Head Massage, an in-depth and very profound system for neck, head, and face massage.

Thai Rocking Massage – more therapist and client-friendly

Thai Rocking Massage

Traditional Thai Massage relies a lot on direct and linear thumb pressure and on palm pressure with the hand at a 90-degree angle to the forearm.

This can lead to problems in the therapist’s thumbs and wrist joints like inflammation or even carpal tunnel syndrome. Many therapists had to give up their careers because of such problems.
As a solution, we developed Thai Rocking Massage which does not use any direct linear pressure but instead uses round and flowing rocking motions that do not stress any joints.

Specialized therapy courses

Thai Massage is practiced most of the time as a standard, follow-the-book, one-size-fits-all treatment.

We developed a series of highly detailed therapy courses which focus on specific areas of the body like shoulders, back, neck, arms, hands, hips, sacrum, or knees.

These courses help therapists to go beyond the standard Thai Massage style and learn to work on problem areas in much greater depth.

Refined touch, increased sensitivity, focused energy

Magic Touch Secrets for Thai Massage

Thai Massage is often practiced in a rather mechanical, routine way. It also has a reputation that it can be quite painful.

Therefore we developed courses that take it to a higher and more refined level, like Massage Communication Secrets, Thai Massage Technique Genius, and Magic Touch Secrets.

Standard sessions versus specialized Thai Massage therapy

Thai Massage therapy

Thai Massage is mostly done as a general whole-body massage. If clients have specific problems with their back, their knees, their hips, or their feet, most therapists don’t have enough specific therapeutic skills to address the problem effectively.

The way to success in Thai Massage is to specialize, to become known as the person who can work on specific problems effectively.

You won’t become very successful as a generalist. You need very specific knowledge, otherwise you will be just one of many therapists who have added a little Thai Massage to their repertoire.

Thai Healing Massage Academy’s courses are designed to take you from a Thai Massage generalist to a highly educated and effective specialist.

Here is what you can do with our courses:

  • Develop a successful Thai Massage practice
  • Some of our courses can be used as stand-alone modalities (Heavenly Head Massage, Abdominal Massage, Thai Foot Massage)
  • Many techniques in our courses can also be used in other non-Thai massage systems
  • Most techniques can be used on a floor mat or on a massage table

Thai Healing Massage is Thai Massage refined, expanded, and more focused on specific therapy.

It has a much bigger selection of techniques for upper body work, an emphasis on preserving the health of the therapist, and a strong focus on energy and yoga principles.

Your complete Thai Massage training solution

It is possible, but not easy, to find excellent therapists in Thailand who can do amazing work with Thai Massage. However, it is very difficult to find a teacher or school that teaches at this level.

The Thai Healing Massage system does teach at such a profound level with a large selection of therapeutic applications for many specific areas of the body.

Thai Healing Massage Academy provides 20 online training courses that together bring you the most complete, refined, sophisticated, and effective Thai Massage training system you can find anywhere.

The courses are presented in a professional multi-media online format with instructor support and interactive training.

To learn or improve your Thai Massage skills with refined elements like good body mechanics, good communication skills, a developed intuition, and a great touch, check out our convenient online training:

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Image of the author, Shama Kern

The author, Shama Kern, has been practicing and teaching Thai Massage for over two decades. He is the founder of Thai Healing Massage Academy and the creator of 20 Thai Massage online training courses.

21 thoughts on “How To Learn Thai Massage At a Higher Level”

  1. Hello Shama,
    You are such a good communicator, and as I’ve said before, everything you say resonates with me and my own approach to practicing and teaching Thai Massage. Even to me, as an experienced practitioner and teacher, your posts are really quite enlightening and inspirational. My idea with Thai Massage is to facilitate its evolution, worldwide – in all the many different cultures and ways that it can be experienced. My motto: Ancient Grace, Modern Method. So please keep up the good work.
    Be Well, Deon.

  2. Hi Shama,

    Just read your item on Thai Healing massage Academy…..Very interesting and informative. Have a complete video instruction course with certificate or are they separate? I look forward to hearing from you on this, as I want to practice Thai healing massage properly alongside my other therapies

  3. What you say about Thai massage can also be applied to a percentage of massage therapists in the U.S.. People who go to massage school because of the promise of a well paid career without any real calling for the work. They end up working in spas or chains where they churn out the same rote massages, never work the abdomen or really know how to work specifically with someone’s particular issue. I know this because I frequently hear from clients who are visitors to my town that their massage with me is the best massage they’ve ever had. While I am flattered by the praise, I am also saddened that their experience of receiving massages has been so obviously sub standard. Over and over I’m also told that no one has ever worked on there abdomen before. So thanks for sharing this and for developing your Thai massage course.

    • Thanks Jyoti for your informative post. Actually I had the same experience as you from when I was doing massage work in the US. So I know your observations are correct. I guess these things apply all over the world. People do massage for different reasons, and some of them are not conducive to developing a highly intuitive and effective style.

      I am glad that you can provide such a wonderful experience to your clients! I seem to remember that you are from Sedona, is that correct?

  4. Dear Shama – I always love hearing from you and reading your enlightening and inspiring posts. Thank you for being a beacon of light in the world through your selfless service and through the great wisdom you share so generously. May your path continue to be blessed, as you bless so many others through your shining presence in our lives. Warmly, Ariana

  5. Shama you are so right, you know how I feel about all the little robots out there, I will do everything possible in my crusade of sharing my acquired knowledge and skills from the Thai Healing Massage Academy courses, I intend to share my healing techniques with many people along the way, and if I can teach a few of your techniques to my little robots and they start applying them, this will be my reward, one step at the time and the word will get around about this little massage center in Bophut, the place where you can learn so much about Thai Healing Massage and Thai Yoga Massage,

  6. I am a recently retired MD in the U.S. … Afte 30 years. I have traveled to Thailand and Cambodia in 2010. What are the chances I could attend your massage school
    In Thailand… And sit for licensure exam in the U.S.? I obviously have the anatomy and physiology.. And pathology expertise.. But will the licensing bards accept? What has been your experience!?

    • Hi Patty, there are several answers to your question.

      First it depends which state you live in. In the US every state has their own rules regarding massage therapy. Most do require a licence, and some don’t. You might even want to check out if massage therapy, or parts of the training requirements, is covered by your medical licence. You can find that our from your state licencing board which deals with massage.

      Second, without taking your medical licence into consideration, no state which requires a licence would accept any massage course from Thailand as a full substitute for local training hours. Most states require a minimum of 500 hours of massage training, and the testing is normally based on Swedish massage, performed on a table with oil on an undressed client.

      Thai Massage is totally different as it is done on a floor mat on a fully dressed client without the use of oil.

      Third, Thai Healing Massage Academy does not provide live training courses. We specialize in online training and have created a unique and interactive training environment.

      We are an approved continuing education provider by the National Certification Board (NCBTMB). However this is designed for continuing education credits which most states require so that massage therapists can maintain their licence. It is not meant to be a licencing program.

      In your case, the very first question is which state you want to practice massage in, and see what the rules are.

  7. Hi Shama!

    Great post as always! I enjoy reading them! I need to look at your courses when I have time. I have taken 5 Thai courses in the US. I have one instructor from Florida and one from North Carolina. They both go every year to Chiang Mai with a group of students for 2 -3 weeks. While it still is very costly alot of people I know have ventured on their own their. While they learn the ropes in Thailand for the massage they they then return to the US. Then they find students interested in the US . They can take groups with a high charge back to Chiang Mai. It seems like its a big money changer for their wallets. I wonder how many actually have the heart in it like you do? Thanks for always posting great info! Be blessed! 🙂

    • I know, this has become a popular and profitable business. Teaching Thai Massage in the western world is sometimes a bit like the wild west. 🙂
      Many people have very little training and start teaching it nevertheless. Thai Massage is still going through a maturing process in this regard.

  8. I took a local training in the US a year ago, and didn’t feel comfortable practicing it on my current Reiki or Yoga clients..and had nothing to refer back to for resources..In the back of my mind was what if, I am not doing this correctly? The what if/’s kept coming up. Your program is exactly what I need and every time I get a new email newsletter or post I am in awe with the knowledge you present to us. I can’t wait to start training with your company. Thank you for listening to your calling..Namaste

    • Hi Kitty, I looked at your website, and it seems that you are a really inspired person and practitioner. Since you love Thai Yoga, our Complete Thai Massage course will put you straight into “therapist heaven”! 🙂

      • I have one teacher now that took a great training in person but not in my state..She was the one that got me thinking that the other training I received was not enough, that is what got me thinking there has to be other great programs to take, someone where there must be a great online program, and low and behold your site came up!!!! I don’t have the time as a studio owner these days to travel and take classes as often as I would like, this is the perfect solution and bonus an amazing course with a great teacher..Can’t wait to bring on Thai therapist heaven 🙂 here!

        • The Complete Thai Massage course is tailor made for people in your situation! There are so many people who cannot just leave home and travel around to take courses. And even if they could, they have no easy way to retain the information from the live course unless they immediately practice it regularly.

          And even then, as you said, how do they know if they are doing it correctly! There is nobody whom they can ask. That’s a big advantage of good online training. You can always re-watch the videos, and if you get stuck with something, you post a question in our forum, and a few hours later you have your answer.

  9. Hi Shama,

    It is interesting to know the background of thai healing massage.
    It is indeed a pleasure and relief to know that somebody has had the dedication and effort and time to find out ways to ” heal intuitively upper body, head neck, abdomen as well , instead of cook-book style of massage practice.

    My experience with massage has been that of cook book style with little attention to my problem areas in my body.

    I find your videos extremely helpful to teach myself and my partner the techniques.
    I find your techniques very helpful for my body tightness , stickiness.

    You are great for making this training available worldwide! Great resource!

    Thanks a ton, Shama.

    • Thank you Anindita. I am really glad to hear that you find the Complete Thai Massage course so useful. And I appreciate that you take the time to write emails, comment on the blog and in the facebook group.


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