Being the savvy, knowledge-hungry massage therapist that you are, we at Massamio know that you are always looking for ways to expand your practice, gain a competitive edge, and find ways to serve your clients better.
One way to do this is to learn new modalities and techniques. One modality that is getting attention from many massage therapists is Thai Massage.
Thai Massage is a unique and interesting modality and can be a powerful addition to your “toolbox” as a practitioner.
So how do you get started in Thai Massage? We wanted to bring you more information so we reached out to Jeanne Coleman for some advice. Jeanne is a Thai Massage instructor from Boston, Massachusetts and has been practicing Thai massage since 2004.
Massamio: What is Thai Massage?
Jeanne: Thai massage is a sacred healing art that stimulates the healing energies in the body through a magical blend of massage, therapeutic stretching, acupressure, and reflexology. Traditional Thai massage is performed on a mat instead of a traditional massage table. However, there are modifications that allow work on a table. During a Thai massage the receiver is fully clothed and there are no lotions or oils used. The practitioner employs various parts of their body including elbows, knees, and feet and delivers the massage in a soothing rhythmic flow that is like a “moving meditation”. Thai massage is sometimes referred to as “lazy man’s yoga” and it addresses the body, mind, and spirit. It is extremely relaxing and meditative, yet, at the same time, rejuvenating and energizing for both receiver and giver.
Massamio: How was it developed?
Jeanne: Thai massage was said to have developed over 2,500 years ago and has deep roots in traditional Thai medicine, Buddhism, and yoga. The origins of Thai Massage are attributed to Dr. Jivaka Kumar Bhacca, a personal physician to the Buddha, who is often referred to as “Shivago” or the “Father Doctor of Healing”. However, it is impossible to accurately know the true history of Thai massage, as most of the info has been handed down orally…from region to region, village to village, teacher to student, and among family members. Many believe Thai massage originated in India and was brought to Thailand, merging with other forms of massage from neighboring countries. Others believe that it was indigenous massage that was influenced by Chinese medicine, and some believe that it developed solely out of Chinese medicine. Different styles of Thai massage were developed. The main styles today are known as the “northern” and “southern” styles.
Massamio: What do you love about doing Thai Massage?
Jeanne: There is sooo much I love about Thai massage…
- I love seeing my clients heal and totally transform
- The stretching and movement bring a sense of aliveness and great healing benefits
- It has taught me how to use my body more efficiently and I feel that it will help me have a longer and healthier career in massage
- It brings more body awareness to my clients and myself
- The spiritual traditions and teachings that it is grounded in
- The experiences that it led me to in Thailand… getting to know the wonderful Thai people and Thai culture, as well as meeting people from all over the world.
….and so much more!
Massamio: What are some issues that Thai Massage is suited for treating?
Jeanne: Headaches, low back pain, neck & shoulder pain, joint pain, mental/emotional exhaustion, sciatica, plantar fasciitis, arthritis, limited range of motion, overall wellbeing…
There have been studies showing Thai massage to be beneficial for stroke survivors and autistic children. I’ve also been exposed to a great deal of anecdotal evidence indicating that Thai massage is beneficial for neurological disorders such as Parkinsons disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Cerebral Palsy, and Traumatic Brain injury.
Massamio: How did you get your training?
Jeanne: I received my first massage in 2001, while I was a student at Bancroft School of Massage Therapy in Worcester, MA. I loved the treatment so much that I immediately knew I wanted to learn the modality. Literally, one day after finishing my last class at Bancroft I went to Omega Institute in New York where I took my first 10 day Thai training. I followed up with a great deal of practice, and then another 10 day class at Kripalu. Three months later I took my first trip to Thailand where I studied with Pichest Boonthumme, one of the great Thai masters. I have since made seven more trips to Thailand, studying with several different schools and masters. I always feel like a beginner and am always deepening my practice.
Massamio: What advice do you have for a massage therapist who is interested in Thai Massage training?
Jeanne: There are several different training options for Thai massage, ranging from one or two day classes to longer certification programs. One or two day classes are a great way to familiarize yourself with the practice and walk away with a handful of techniques that you can use in your existing repertoire. Fully embracing traditional Thai massage requires much more dedication, practice, and patience. I recommend a full certification program, followed up with a great deal of practice.
There are several reputable schools/Thai massage teachers in the United States. Prior to studying with anyone, I recommend asking how much training they have had and also where they have studied. There is no governing board on Thai certification in the U.S. and every teacher or school’s certification is different. Make sure the teacher has adequate and diverse training.
I also highly recommend going to the “source” and studying in Thailand at some point in your practice.
Massamio: How long is a typical Thai Massage training program?
Jeanne: My current certification program includes a level 1 certification and level 2 certification, which are 30 hours each.
Massamio: What continuing education options are there for those to want more advanced training?
Jeanne: I am an NCTMB approved provider and offer 1 day, 2 day, and certification courses. I teach workshops that I arrange myself, and also at massage schools, spas, and have also taught for local AMTA chapters in New England (Massachusetts and Rhode Island) as well as the New England Regional Conference.
There is a description of all the classes I teach on my website.
Massamio: What do massage therapists need to know before starting Thai Massage training?
Jeanne: Thai massage is not easy to learn and it requires a great deal of patience, persistence and practice…but it’s totally worth the effort! When first practicing, it can be physically demanding. Traditional Thai massage is not recommended for those who are not comfortable working on a mat, on their knees.
Massamio: Anything else you would like to add?
Jeanne: Whether you experience it by receiving a treatment or by taking a class…..
…Try Thai Massage. Its transforming!
Massamio: Wonderful! It’s so amazing to see how much Thai Massage has transformed your life! Thank you.
Jeanne: You’re very welcome!
Thai Transformations was established by Jeanne Coleman, a nationally certified and licensed massage therapist. Since graduating from Bancroft School of Massage Therapy in Worcester, MA, Jeanne has immersed herself in the study of Thai massage both in the U.S. and in Thailand, where she has made annual trips since 2004. Thai Transformations evolved from Jeanne’s love of Thai massage, Thai people, and Thai culture. Jeanne feels that this ancient form of healing is truly a sacred gift and is transforming for both giver and receiver. She loves to share Thai massage with others whether it be through giving massage treatments, through teaching, and/or introducing people to amazing and fascinating Thailand, the “land of smiles”. You can find more information about Jeanne and the classes she offers at http://www.thaitransformations.com.
Comments from original Massamio post:
I studied with Pichest in 2001. I studied with two other instructors while I was there, but he is by far “the master”. — Posted @ Tuesday, November 06, 2012 6:17 PM by Jason Peringer
Thai massage is really nice it can really help you relieve stress. — Posted @ Wednesday, January 30, 2013 3:37 PM by formation massage lyon
A lot of good information about Thai massage in here! 🙂 — Posted @ Sunday, August 11, 2013 8:01 PM by Pierre