Is Thai massage, massage?

Over the years I’ve grown past borders, boundaries and certain conceptions. The way I work is based on ten years of experience and the practical necessity of doing what works. My work comes out of helping myself first, then I pass that information on to you. I’m doing quite well and it helps me speak authoritatively on the subjects I address regarding health.

A client commented on my work and asked how I knew to work a spot on his leg. I told him that his arches are fallen, that it’s rotating his legs inwards and causing a case of flat back that contributing to his low back pain. No frills, no fuss, just alignment. He told me he didn’t think other massage therapists would have noticed his feet and I’m again reminded of why I’m teaching Thai massage and what I do. I’m good at it. Really good. I’m not just rubbing cream on you, I’m trying to find the key that unlocks your posture and allows you to heal.

Thai massage isn’t really massage as far as most are concerned. Someone told me recently that their spa job didn’t like them stretching clients. The concern was that she was helping make the clients better and therefore the clients would leave. How would they make money? Thai massage is so far out of left field to most people that they can look at it and be puzzled. I practice it, teach it and promote it because it works. Simple, so simple most massage therapists are ending their careers early and losing out on what I consider the best bodywork around.

Thai massage is done on a mat, not a table. Thai massage is done with clothes on, not nude. Thai massage is done without creams or lotions. Those three things can leave a massage therapist disoriented, I’ve seen it in my classes. They settle in quickly and I’m drawing the creative, the visionaries and healers in our profession to the work but I see the momentary bewilderment in their eyes. Thai massage takes what you think bodywork is and turns it upside down.

When I teach at a local massage school, the first thing I do is take off my shoes and do a headstand. The whole class looks at me puzzled and I ask them, “what does this do?” As they speak and we talk about it I’m sending a message visually, I’m here to turn your education upside down. If you grab what I’m teaching, take it and use it you’ll come out on the other side whole. No ego, no pat on the back, this is hard work but it’s worth every bit of effort.

Is Thai massage, massage? Depends on what you think massage is. What’s your goal? My goal was health. I wanted no back pain. I wanted to stand tall, to sit upright and be able to meditate. I can do all of those now. Do you want less back pain? Do you want to heal from old injuries? Do you want better posture? Do you want to make contact with your soul? Do you want to be centered and calm? Do you want a better life? Thai massage can help give you that.

No ego. Ten years experience. On a good day I sit and realize my spine feels cushioned, whole and supported by angels and clouds. I can only smile. My work, my life and my practice are the same. This isn’t a intellectual exercise, this is real life. Massage as most think of it only took me so far. I still use it when appropriate but most people need Thai bodywork or Thai massage. I see you stand and feel your pain from slouching. I sense your anguish and frustration with life. I feel it because I’ve been there, past tense. I’ve kept working on it and every day it gets a bit better. Less strain, less stress, better breathing. That can also be yours.

Come get a session, find out for yourself.

Massage therapists, forget what you’ve been taught. Step into a new way of doing things. You’ll save your hands and build a career, the kind that will allow you to prosper spiritually and financially. 20 years from now Thai massage will be as ubiquitous as swedish and deep tissue. Trust me.

Thai massage is deeper

Thai massage is relatively new to central Texas. I continue to promote the work and educate bodyworkers and the public as to the differences. I’ve worked for ten years and if you give me an option Thai massage is what I’ll get nearly every time I work with a therapist. When students ask me why I started teaching I tell them I need someone to work on me.

The depth that I need to access, the muscular insertions and alignment needed are easily provided with this bodywork. Fortunately for therapists it’s also easier on our hands and bodies.

Swedish and deep tissue massage are the most common forms of bodywork performed in the U.S. American schools have pushed massage and bodywork regulation that’s having most states license massage and this is the primary bodywork taught in most schools.

Swedish of course is originally from Sweden and is generally long flowing strokes over muscles and skin using creme or lotion. This flowing motion not only relaxes muscle but improves vascular flow of blood and lymph in particular.

Deep tissue is a western anatomically based focus on particular muscles or groups of muscles. This is usually done after some Swedish work to open up an area. The superficial muscles are relaxed to allow the therapist in so to speak. Then using fingers, elbows, forearms or knuckles the therapist sinks into the tissues to relax and flush specific muscles that are tight.

Both of these kinds of bodywork are effective and there’s a reason they’ve become nearly ubiquitous. As I once heard someone say, “You can’t sling a dead cat in Austin without hitting a massage therapist.” Yep. Most of those massage therapists are doing swedish and deep tissue.

So how does Thai massage fit in?

In my professional opinion Thai massage is deeper than deep tissue. It does not use cream, you’re not undressed but Thai massage can access musculature that most deep tissue therapists overlook in my experience. Thai massage doesn’t cancel out this other work, I use it myself daily depending on a client’s needs but Thai massage differs in a very specific way. It honors movement.

When I lift someone’s arm and rotate their torso I’m getting their trapezius and rhomboids to lengthen. Even without pressure what I’ve done is taken the muscles and lengthened them all the way down into their insertion and origin. Tendon is what connects muscle to bone and in Thai we work down to it easily while saving my hands.

Thai massage in this way allows me to use my body more efficiently and accesses that deep spot the client wants worked on. Once you figure out the pattern and unwind it you feel like you’ve done a great job and the clients respond very well to the practice. I’ve had clients tell me repeatedly that they can’t believe they wasted their time and money on those “other” massages.

Like deep tissue? You’ll probably love Thai massage. Leave your clothes on and your preconceived notions at the door.

See you soon for Thai massage in Austin, Texas.