What Kind Of Massage Do You Do?

I’ve got lots of folks asking me questions these days and I’ve been formulating an elevator speech. My work has diversified because I’m not just seeing clients, I’m educating and leading the forefront on CEU classes for massage therapists.

Currently I’m getting ready to unleash the following:

Robert Gardner Wellness Thai Massage Leg Work

A regular pain clinic where clients can receive a 30 minute session while others observe and do yoga therapy.

Classes are coming up in the form of a short course here in Round Rock, and an Intro to Thai massage and Table Thai combo class that’s 5 days. Arkansas and Louisiana are going to receive the same treatment. I’ll post more info and dates when I have it.

So, what do I do? I’m still not sure it has a name. I think it’s the best bodywork I’ve ever seen. It’s not really massage, could be called bodywork but I don’t work on cars. Selling something that doesn’t have a cultural box has been quite the challenge. I will say, my clients get better, whatever we desire to name it.

If you’re in physical pain, contact me. This isn’t what you’re used to when you think massage but it works. When asked for an elevator speech I say, “It’s the best bodywork you’ve never had.”

Keep Going

I spent 6 years in central Texas without ever receiving another Thai massage from a practitioner. I decided to teach because the work wasn’t available anywhere and the community desperately needed it. Along the way things have grown and changed, developed in ways that even I couldn’t have foreseen. Class this weekend in Houston will be the last of the spring and every class has been fun, eventful and fortunately profitable as well.

I’ve gathered critics. I’ll continue to gather more. A trusted friend had a phone conversation with me and what I heard was a complete mirror. His only true feedback was, “keep going.”


There are more classes coming soon. Table Thai classes will start in several months and I’m working on the pain clinic in my home studio again. Stay tuned and if you have not, please subscribe to my email list. You get a free Thai massage workbook and it gives me direct access unlike social media which is increasingly filtering posts and information.

Much more to come. Stay tuned.

<3 Metta

Thai Massage Is The Best

Lately things have been hectic with classes and business plans. We’re hopefully going to have videos of the sequence used in the Free Thai Massage Workbook available sometime in November. In the midst of all the teaching and sharing I’m amazed at how advanced such an ancient tradition is.

I gave a demonstration to massage students at a school in Houston yesterday and heard a loud laugh. I looked around and asked what was funny and everyone’s eyes went to the door. I looked behind me and saw a student gazing through the window at my demonstration with this look of complete amazement. Thai massage doesn’t often Look like other kinds of massage. 😀

Robert Gardner Wellness Thai massage cobra

I wrote a brief article for Massage Career Guides about Thai massage as well. It’s been wonderful to share this ancient healing art.

Teach to learn more

Teaching the Intro. to Thai massage class this past weekend at Casa de Luz this weekend was great fun. We had I believe 12 or so students at final count and everyone was excited to receive work and learn to help others. Every group of students is different and brings their own unique flair to class.

This time I noticed we had at least 4 students with no formal yoga or massage training. 1/3 of the entire class just decided, this stuff is great I want more and decided to take a 14 hour class in it. I think that speaks volumes for how popular Thai massage is becoming.

One student has told me that they believe this will change their entire massage practice of over ten years. Their whole way of working, flipped and changed for the better. We helped do all of that in 14 hours. I don’t think that speaks volumes for my teaching, so much as the power of Thai massage itself. If you don’t know what it is, learn soon.

If you’re a massage therapist looking for a different way, if you want to save your hands and avoid burn out, this is it.

Thank you to all my students, for teaching me with beginners mind.

What do you teach?

When students ask me what I teach I typically tell them bodywork or Thai massage. If they ask more questions I say that I teach yoga, yoga therapy and help people with back pain. I do whatever I can within my power to heal and help others do the same. As a human, I’m a flawed, errant and odd individual but therein lay my divinity, I embrace that duality.

Thai massage and yoga aren’t different things to me. They’re just two sides of the same coin. The person I am, always is. What do I teach? All that I know. Come learn. We only have 3 openings left in the Thai massage class this coming weekend. Click here to register.

New years resolutions

New years resolutions are a common end of year event. People typically desire to lose weight, feel better, spend more time with loved ones and eat more nutritionally dense food. In thinking about my own new years resolutions I always resort to the basics, to do better than I did the year before.

This TED talk spoke to me. I’d seen the video they use as a demonstration before but his breakdown of how a leader leads spoke to me. Tell you’re friends! We’re dancing to the beat of our own accordion at Robert Gardner Wellness.

My path has been a long winding 35 years and continues to bear ample fruit that’s pleasing. I’m on the right path, more steps are to be taken and at its core, what I want is to be more me and offer you a service you can’t get elsewhere. My work and my life are the same. I jokingly told another Thai massage teacher that if you cut off my arms I’d massage people with my feet. There’s something about bodywork that grounds me, heals me, helps me and makes me thrive.

Abundance and sharing is the name of the game. I want clients who grok what I do and don’t accept less than what we’re doing together. In my speech I talk about our studio, our work, our adventure. That’s because it’s not just me! I don’t need every yoga student or Thai massage client in town, I just need the .01% of the population of Austin and Round Rock, Tx that understand what we do and desire to be well. Let’s get to work! Warms up accordion.


Over the years I’ve picked up many things from teachers. Often this has included technique in bodywork, a sense of holding space in a yoga class or a certain open heart and humanity that I’ve attempted to foster in myself, once I’ve noticed it in a teacher. Teachers will pass along things, even unknowingly, just as parents teach children by observation.

At the same time I’ve learned far more about who I wish to be as a teacher by negation. That is to say, I’ve noticed what I do not like and remind myself that as I teach I don’t wish to emulate the negative traits I’ve seen in others. Some of those things include:

1. Treating students or clients as if they are just another paycheck instead of a human needing assistance.
2. Expecting students to do exactly as I say as if it was handed down from on high.
3. Having students place me on a pedestal of some sort, energetically or otherwise.

I’ve worked towards not only high quality education where I value the students time and attention but I strive to be me, in my most true form as a human. My humanity and sense of humor comes through in class and that is as it should be. At all times I remind myself that we’re all in this together, all learning and worthy of time and assistance without ego.


Teaching yoga has gotten into my blood in the last 6 years or so. My classes are more Iyengar oriented than vinyasa flow but students are invited to open, express, explore and delve into poses while I correct alignment. When I have doubts, need more information or anatomy, I go look it up. If someone desires a teacher who knows it all, they’re out of luck. Even when I recently had a small injury to my knee I used it as an opportunity to look at knee anatomy and make sure my students are safe concerning what I teach.

I’ve taught mixed yoga classes, yoga classes to seniors, yoga classes in offices and yoga classes where I had to entertain a child running around during. Embracing the present moment is what yoga is all about. If you can’t throw yourself to the wolves and make it up, you’re not a very good teacher. Practice with all things.

My yoga will continue to grow. I’d like to work on the vinyasa and explore new poses to add to my sequences but overall I’ve grown comfortable teaching beginners, one day that may turn into teaching intermediate students.

Thai massage classes are another thing all together. The anatomy is the same but Thai massage classes are like teaching yoga to the 3rd power. You’ve still got many students but now you’ve got one student working on another and the first thing you learn is when giving instruction is to say, “You are the giver and you are the receiver.” The rest of the commands go from there, otherwise no one has a clue who’s moving and who’s relaxing.

My recent Thai massage class really made me feel like this is going to work. There are small things to improve but when therapists who’ve worked 20 years tell you this is the best CEU class they’ve taken, you’re onto something. The work is new to them, completely unhinged and out of left field. Massage therapists who work on a table, with naked clients and cream are told, “Get rid of your table, keep the clients clothed and lose the cream.” We change gears completely. Then on the second day I start to hear, “This doesn’t stress my hands as much. My shoulers are more relaxed.” I just smile.

This isn’t new. This work is 2500 years old and said to have been invented by the Buddha’s doctor. I’m just passing it along.

There’s an Austin Thai massage and therapeutics group on facebook and I’ve been asked on occasion to lead them. I relish any chance to talk about this work I’ve grown to love over the years. I find out what the students want to work on and off we go. I lead, talk, discuss, demonstrate and explore for two hours and I notice a familiar face. The students being worked on get this beatific expression. The muscles in their face grow slack and there’s a relaxed smile that reminds me of the smiling Buddha statues. This familiar expression is a person telling me unconsciously that they didn’t know life could be this easy, relaxed and effortless.

I just smile and keep sharing. Teaching gives me the opportunity to say things that even I find amazing afterwards. When I easily flow from a discussion about piriformis anatomy and function to Jesus walking on water I’m at home. The students feel the sincerity, they feel that it’s not about money, not about business or some scheme. Thai massage and the work I teach is about healing.

You want to learn? Come.

Holding on

In discussions about my business I vacillate on whether I’m good at what I do. It feels sad to write that but that is in fact the case when it comes to business, running a business and dealing with the ins and outs of marketing and management. My wife has expressed to me as have clients that what I do is amazing. Nothing short of the best bodywork they’ve ever received and that I just seem to be able to get into areas and release tension that no one else can touch. Clients will often tell me, “no one has ever worked on that area before.”

So I settle on the side of my bodywork is fantastic. It’s not ego, just ten years experience and work. Anything you work on that long you’ll get better even if it’s not a gift. If my work is then so good, why does my income, client base and public praise feel so low? This isn’t just a whiney post saying woe is me. This is my blog and my exploration of education, practice and business. So, in short, why am I not being hunted down by clients? Why are people not lined up down the block to see me? Why am I not to some degree materially wealthy from my work?

I have to be cautious about this conversation with people because I can get testy. I’ve spent ten years pouring my heart and soul into what I do so it’s meaningful to me. During a conversation with my wife about it last night she just declared, “people are attached to their pain, on some level they don’t want to heal.” In discussion we layed out that some people simply hold on to what they know. Healing is difficult and letting go seems painful, the pain you know is preferred.

Is that it? I’m not looking for an answer per se, this is just an exploration. Do people have a belief system, culture and background that simply prefers pain and endless medication/surgeries until the end of life? Even if that is the case what about the I guess 1% that actually want to get better? I only need that 1% of clients to follow me to have a wildly lucrative and fantastic practice.

So why doesn’t it spill over? When does the cup not overflow? I’m not really certain. I know that I dedicated myself to the healing arts in spite of income and over time have come to question whether what I do should be more lucrative. Where’s the lack in nature? There is no lack, nature provides glut, overabundance beyond what we need. A farmer grows so many apples he’s got to make cider.

In that same way, is it image? Have I focused on substance only to realize I don’t have a big fancy studio with wood floors? There’s no incense burning and future trips to Thailand for further education planned? I’m not really sure.

I do know that without a doubt I will not stop what I’m doing. I’ve devoted and dedicated myself to my own and my clients/students healing for ten years and will stop at nothing to continue promoting what I do. The general public knows nothing of what I do. Nothing. They believe health is an absence of symptoms and medications make symptoms go away. Surgeries cure things by cutting them out. Meanwhile, I’m focused on teaching the basics, here’s how you breathe, here’s how you stand.

I will not stop. If forced to live in a cardboard box I will continue what I’m doing. There is no other option, now I must only find those willing to come along. When it comes to many things I believe you get them when you let go, not when you hold on. When dealing with influence I remind myself that Jesus only had 12 disciples but he’s had a fairly large influence on people. So, I’m glad I have a place to discuss the process of letting go.