Anyone can learn massage techniques. You don’t have to be licensed and what’s good for you, is good for your family and friends. The Austin Thai massage group has been so active recently that we’re drawing attention from locals and others online via facebook. A licensed therapist was asking questions and trying to figure out what was up with the group because it didn’t resemble anything she’d ever seen before. The group has slowly turned out 20+ people every Thursday for the last several months and as we grow, we diversify and things get louder. There’s acroyoga in a corner, some flirting going on in the other.
It’s taken time for me to grow accustomed to what we do. In all honesty I’m a licensed therapist and teacher in TX so I began joining the group in a teacher/mentor role and taught little bits. Now it’s been so long I can watch people I taught teaching new people who come in. In some ways it’s a much more traditional model than the spa/client industry and marketing we do in the U.S. It’s starting to ruffle feathers. People aren’t licensed, don’t know contraindications or medical history and have never attended massage school.
When we work I usually look around the room to see if anyone is doing anything that could do harm. If so I stop, go chat with whoever is working and guide them. For the most part the acroyoga community has enough intuitive sense to avoid things that don’t feel good and based on that response to pleasure, they do really wondeful intuitive work. At the same time this open space allows for the most interesting improvisation I’ve ever seen. Acroyoga and Thai massage mash together with friends in something that’s akin to the anarchy at Burningman, all for free.
The form this takes looks nothing like the formality of going to see a massage therapist. That is where I think the problem or in my opinion, the solution comes in. What if massage becomes fun? A group activity? That last part, a group activity is what I’ve been pondering more and more on many levels. Thai massage, because you’re clothed can be done publicly. Think about that for a minute, let it marinate. Public massage where other people are around giving and receiving work. That one point is so contrary to our dominant model is it any wonder we’re ruffling feathers.
“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.”~~Jesus