It's great to learn Thai Massage techniques, but this is only the first step to becoming an excellent therapist. Here are twelve elements which are essential ingredients to study Thai Massage for best results.

1. Not getting stuck with a standard whole body routine or sequence

Unfortunately it is quite common for students to learn Thai Massage as a fairly fixed routine, a "one-size-fits-all" sequence. This blocks a lot of the creativity, flexibility and therapeutic potential that can make Thai Massage so effective. The fixed routine application is like driving a car but never getting out of first gear.

2. Learning how to work therapeutically

Thai Massage was never designed as a general relax massage. It was used as a therapeutic system to help people with their aches and pains and ailments. We have to remember that Thai Massage has been part of the Thai medical system long before there was modern medicine, and it has proven itself to be effective for centuries.

3. Working with your entire body, not just your hands

It is a well known fact that many massage therapists develop problems with their hands, thumbs or wrists due to constant use. Joint infections, carpal tunnel syndrome and hand fatigue are threats to a massage career.

The best way to learn Thai Massage is on a floor mat which is one of the main advantages of this system. It allows for much better use of the body since on the floor knees and feet can be used to reduce stress on the hands and to give therapists much better leverage. Even small therapists can work on much larger clients effectively since they can get right on top of their clients which is not possible on a table.

That's the reason how those tiny Thai women can work on all those much large foreigners and still be very effective. Even if they weigh only 100 pounds, if this weight is all coming down on one point with their entire body behind it, they can make much larger clients cry.

4. Learning excellent ergonomics

A common problem when studying Thai Massage is not having correct ergonomics or body posture.

Without that it becomes a strain and a big effort to move the client's bodies around with all those stretches that are part of Thai Massage.

Without good ergonomics the therapist will sweat and tire and end up worn out. With good ergonomics there is hardly any effort, and the session just flows.

This is quite apparent when you see small Thai women doing 6 or 8 hours of Thai Massage every day on often much larger clients. This would be impossible without good ergonomics.

5. Combining your movements with your breath

Thai Massage came out of India's yoga therapy system. It is well known that yoga postures are always done in conjunction with correct breathing. So it makes perfect sense to apply the same principle to Thai Massage movements which are often similar to applied yoga moves.

Correct breathing synchronizes and focuses the therapist's energy. It helps with speed and timing of techniques and it helps to establish a connection with the client's energy as well.

6. Being able to communicate effectively with your clients

It is essential to have a good rapport with clients so that they trust the therapist, know what to expect, have confidence in the therapist's knowledge and abilities, and participate in the session instead of just being a "victim" for an hour.

Clients who have a good rapport with their massage therapists are much more likely to book additional sessions, and their degree of satisfaction with the work is much higher. All this and more can be accomplished with good communication skills.

7. Using your hands to receive information

Often massage is seen as something which is done with the hands to someone else. However if you reverse this concept and learn to use your hands as a listening tool or feedback instrument, your sensitivity will be greatly increased, you are much less likely to cause unnecessary discomfort or pain, and the quality of your work will be significantly higher.

8. Using your mind to increase perception and intuition

Another misconception about Thai Massage is that it is primarily a physical interaction, a way to manipulate someone's anatomy. The problem with this approach is that it can make the massage feel mechanical or even lifeless.

However if therapists use their mind to channel healing energy and direct energy flow, an energetic connection between therapist and client will be established. This can move the session from a mechanical performance to a dance, a true healing art, a heavenly experience.

The difference between the two approaches is what sets true healing artists apart from more mechanical performers.

9. Understanding the power of softness

Power in massage therapy does not just come from pressing harder. Actually pressing harder often just results in more pain. However softly sinking into a muscle with body weight only, without any muscle pressure, will result in much greater power while at the same time reducing effort on the part of the therapist and painful sensations of the part of the client. This is the power of softness.

10. Using many body parts

This is an area where Thai Massage shines. When working on a table, therapists are mostly limited to using their hands and arms. However Thai Massage practitioners can use their hands, forearms, elbows, knees and feet. This is the great equalizer for small therapists working on larger clients. It is also the best insurance for a massage career since you never have to overwork your hands.

11. Knowing how to modify techniques

The real art of learning Thai Massage is not just to have a big repertoire of techniques, but an in depth knowledge how to

- combine them
- adjust them
- modify them
- apply them in the best way for any specific condition

This is the main difference between doing a one-size-fits-all session and a real therapy session.

12. Working FOR and WITH your client, not just ON your client

There is a big difference between working ON a client and working WITH one. Working ON a client is just doing your routine on a body, even if it is a skillful routine.

Working WITH a client involves understanding

- what exactly the client needs
- what techniques work best
- what would be a good treatment protocol
- what the client prefers and enjoys

It also involves good communication to build trust and the ability to ask the right questions. And it means to make the client a participant in the session instead of a passive recipient.

This can be done through several methods like the one-to-ten feedback method and other mechanisms. Those can empower clients to participate in the session instead of just having to accept whatever the therapist is doing.

This is just a brief overview of these 12 steps. The details are covered in depth in the many online video training programs of Thai Healing Massage Academy. For an overview of all our courses please visit:

Author's Bio: 

The author, Shama Kern, is the founder and director of Thai Healing Massage Academy which is headquartered in Chiang Mai, Thailand. He can be reached at

To learn more about Thai Massage, you can sign up for a free 6 part video training course here:
For more information about Thai Healing Massage Academy, visit