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When Are You Too Old To Learn Thai Massage?

what is the best age group for massage

In my role as a Thai Massage practitioner and teacher, I sometimes get questions along these lines:

  • I am over fifty, can I still practice Thai Massage?
  • I am not so flexible, can I do this?
  • I am small and light, can I do Thai Massage on bigger and heavier people?

These are all good questions. Let’s look at them one by one.

Is there an age limit for practicing Thai Massage?

I know several Thai Massage teachers who are in their 50s and 60s, and I have known a couple who were over 70 years old. Personally, I started doing Thai Massage when I was in my mid-forties, and now I am in my late 60s.

Evelyn Blackburn doing massage at 98 years of age. Photo credits Michael Wayne
Evelyn Blackburn doing massage at 98 years old.
Photo credits Michael Wayne

That’s certainly not a problem for me. Actually, doing Thai Massage can keep you young and in good shape.

You use your body a lot, and the older you get, the more this is essential. Many of my students are over 50 and some are in their 60s.

One of them started a whole new Thai Massage career and opened a Thai Massage school. He did this when he was almost 70 years old and he was in great shape.

Or how about Evelyn Blackburn from England who still practiced massage when she was 98 years old as part of a 60-year massage career? Here is her inspiring story.

Don’t ever allow an old person to live in your body. You know the old saying “If you don’t use it you lose it”. This applies to both your mind and body.

I have always compared Thai Massage to a dance where two people move or are moved in a beautifully synchronized way, just like dancers. That’s why it is very appropriate to watch this clip about one of the most amazing dancers I have ever seen.

The big thing about this story is that she is 80 years old. This video will make you laugh and cry and forget about your so-called limitations.

Are you flexible enough to practice Thai Massage?

Many of my students told me in the beginning of a training course that they were not flexible enough, their ankles were too stiff, their knees did not cooperate, etc.

In almost all cases those problems went away with practice and they ended up being able to do Thai Massage just fine.

Here’s another inspiring example. According to Guinness World Records, Tao Porchon-Lynch was the world’s oldest yoga teacher at 95 years of age. She was also an excellent Tango dancer. And, by the way, she had a hip replacement which didn’t hold her back either.

If you want to check out her story, here is an article about her from the Huffington Post.

There are others like Australian Bette Calman who has been teaching yoga right up into her 80s or Bernice Bates from Florida who has been going strong with practicing and teaching yoga right into her 90s. So practicing Thai Yoga Massage in your 50s should sound a lot less daunting by now.

Can you be too small or light for Thai Massage practice?

Let me tell you that in Thailand the average female Thai Massage practitioner weighs around 50 kg or 112 pounds, and some even less.

I know excellent and effective therapists who weigh between 45 and 50 kg or between 100 and 110 pounds. And many of them work in tourist areas on foreigners who weigh up to twice as much as they do.

I know one therapist colleague of mine who has a physical handicap that does not allow her to do massage therapy with her hands. So she founded a successful business where she is practicing and teaching massage with her feet.

It appears to me that there are very few real limitations, or at least a lot less than you might have been thinking when it comes to learning Thai Massage – or any other massage as well as yoga.

Often our limitations are mostly in our own minds, and we can do a lot more than we give ourselves credit.

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Shama Kern, founder of Thai Healing Massage Academy

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

10 thoughts on “When Are You Too Old To Learn Thai Massage?”

  1. Incredible! Love this video! Thank you so much! I’m totally inspired & encouraged! I’m a Massage Therapist &energy healing practitioner, the biggest limitation we have is between our ears! Thank you!
    My birthday is May 20th & I’ll be 69 years old & I feel so young!????

  2. Sonja, I know that you are also on your way to become a yoga teacher. You are an inspiration to me and many others. Thanks for sharing your story here!

  3. Hi Shama, welcome back, we just finished our first month in Ladysmith, we actually did some 12 massages with some being repeats, we hope to keep increasing as the months go by. No teaching just yet, this may take a little longer, we need to take a slow approach in a small community, getting accepted is most important, everything else will fall into place. Saithong love’s the mild weather of the Island, people are loving her dearly, she his doing a massage at this very moment to a gentleman that came for a massage for the first time yesterday, he decided to come back today, great, she almost had a hearth attack when he gave her $120. yesterday and said that was by far the best Thai massage he ever received, and this man studied massage in Chiang Mai. Reading your article earlier, I had to laugh at the passage ( One of them started an entire new Thai Massage career and opened a Thai Massage school. He is pushing 70 by now and he is in great shape.) I just happen to know such person, HaHa Looking forward to speaking to you soon.

    • I figured you would catch on to that, Coco 🙂 Yes, you are the star of this story!

      I am so glad to hear that your massage business is coming off to a good start.

  4. Dear Shama,
    WOW! And Thank You for all and especially, this post. As woman of “a certain age”, who has been practicing massage therapy and teaching yoga professionally since 1998, any article that begins as yours did with a question of age, I pay attention! Given the current cultural ageism in the United States, and my own doubts and experience of this age bias, I commend you for sharing with us your journey and those of other inspiring and beautiful people all over this big blue marble. I have a bit more faith in my fellow humans that I didn’t think possible!

    • Dena, I am happy that this story resonates with you. I am actually amazed how many healing arts practitioners there are who are “of a certain age” and who are doing very well. Maybe I am just becoming more aware of it since I myself am in that category of “a certain age” now 🙂

  5. This is great Shama. I will be 61 in September and I am just now really coming into my own as a Thai Therapist. I am looking at it as my main profession after retirement. One of the ladies I work with is 73 and has now taken 4 Thai trainings with me. She has just started offering sessions for pay this year. She is an RYT so is a good fit for her. And yes it keeps us young, moving, engaged and the mind active! I love this work.

    • Wow, that’s great Mark – the 74 year old lady who is studying with you.

      Actually my wife showed me this video about the 80 year old tango dancer, and when I saw it, I thought this is a great topic. I know that there are many students of Thai Healing Massage Academy who are in their late 50s and early 60s.

      So we are all good examples that this can be done! I think I will use this article and the comments to show to people who have doubts that they can do Thai Massage at “their age”.

  6. Hi Shama! You are very right in saying that there are very few real limitations, or at least a lot less than we might have been thinking when it comes to Thai Massage or any other massage as well as yoga. Often our limitations are mostly in our own minds, and we can do a lot more than we give ourselves credit.

    Excellent Inspirational Article!

    • Thanks Virender. I think in India there have been many examples of very old yogis who could do amazing things. I don’t know about dancing or massage in India. But we can all agree that there are much fewer limitations than we might think.


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