Traditional Thai Massage works with indirect pressure. Pressure comes from the practitioner’s movement. Practitioners are usually used to exerting pressure but in TTM we only use our weight and the shifting of this weight to generate pressure. The rhythm comes from our movement and our breathing. Rocking back and forth or side to side is predictable and safe for the client.
- Chiang Mai
- No cracking
- Focuses on meridians
- Says hi/goodbye to the area to be worked on
Always keep your back and elbows straight, as well as your shoulder blades down. TTM works all the meridians, not only single pressure points. TTM has the perspective “we know nothing”. It doesn’t diagnose, rather it works the whole body in a 2-2.5 hour massage (min. 1.5 hours). This bodywork releases the problem or gets every thing moving: circulation, lymph, meridian energy, etc. TTM uses/works on fascia, which is the sheath surrounding fibres, muscles, organs, etc.
Always start at the feet, move energy out of the limbs towards the core and then back to the extremities. Always start from the bottom and go up. Always perform meridian work first, then joint mobilisation and yogic stretching. Always give a balanced massage.
So if doing the shoulders, apply pressure to acupoints on the feet to balance out. If doing the feet, massage the hands. And so on.
There is a lot of leg work in TTM. Asian people use their legs a lot more than westerners, e.g. they squat a lot, they sit on the floor to eat, and so on. That’s why a lot of work is paid to the legs, rather than the back area, where they have less problems, but which is the opposite for westerners. Westerners sit a lot and don’t have a very active pelvic/hip/leg region, and suffer because of this. Leg work helps lower back problems and releases them.
Always start with left side of woman, and right side of man. You can wear sweat bands if you have bracelets. Keep nails short, no rings. Always wash hands and feet before and after massage.
From less to more:
- Finger circle
- Thumb circle
- Palm circle
- Finger press
- Thumb press
- Palm press
- Forearm press
- Elbow press
- Knee press
- Foot press
- Heel press
What to avoid while massaging
- Heart and circulation problems: avoid placing the legs above the head and all blood stops.
- Inflexible joints and muscles: choose easier forms but keep in mind the ideal and help your client achieve that.
- Stress and anxiety: perform the massage at a slower pace.
- Back pain or inflexibility: avoid some of the back stretches, or choose the side position which is more comfortable.
- Chronic pain: massage that aggravates injuries should be avoided.
- Low energy: perform the massage at a slightly faster pace to energise.
- Menstruation: avoid the abdomen
- Pregnancy: only if you are trained in massaging pregnant women do this. Always in the side position.
- Age: be considerate of the very old and young, babies benefit from light joint and squeezing
- Imbalance: always do the whole body and both sides equally
What to keep in mind
- Vigorous massage for healthy active clients
- After the massage there may be an emotional release, a minor energy imbalance
- Take a 30 minute break between massages
- Use music that is natural like a forest or water, rather than music with a beat as this interferes with the rhythm of the massage
- Can use tiger balm or other balms to soothe worked muscles
- Arthritis: take care, but generally yogic stretching is effective in loosening joints and muscles. Go gradually and back off at limits.
- Chronic Pain: Only stretch the client within their limits.
- Back, hip, sacroiliac pain: concentrate on steps that loosen the hamstrings and psoas. Skip advanced stretches.
- Lower gastro: forward bends, spinal twists, help to expel gas, promote digestion and excretion. Beware of direct abdominal pressure.
- Upper gastro: avoid the above.
- Respiratory: may not like lying down, prop them up with a pillow, seated variation to flush chest and abdomen.
- Menstruation, post partum, obesity: back massage from side, no pressure on abdomen.
- Kidney: beware of lower back stretches, no direct pressure on kidney which is at line 3.