Thai Table Massage
By: Kristine Mitchell
I had no idea what to expect from my Thai Table Massage course. Although I knew it was one of the methods included in the Therapy Massage Practitioner Program, it was a style I had never really been exposed to before, meaning I was a total beginner when I walked into the school on day number one. It turned out that this fresh perspective and complete lack of expectation really helped me to just enjoy and absorb the teachings of this unique kind of bodywork.
Thai Table Massage is a relatively new method that blends styles from Northern and Southern Thailand, resulting in a soothing massage you can give on a table (as opposed to the floor). As the practitioner, you perform a series of rhythmic, flowing movements, dynamic stretches and joint manipulations while your client remains fully clothed and passively receives a delicious massage. These moves are done while the client is a supine, prone and side-lying positions, and everything from the legs and arms to the back and abdomen get some attention.
Beforehand, I had some confusion over how effective a fully clothed massage could actually be and was also a bit sceptical of how it would feel to give a massage without making contact with the skin of the client; I was accustomed to always using oil and touching bare skin when offering massages in the past.
After watching Jorge demonstrate the various movements on the model, while patiently answering all the questions of my group, it was my turn to practise on a partner. From the first day, I was pleasantly surprised—the different presses and stretches felt totally natural and somehow intuitive as I stepped into the role of a practitioner.
Throughout our practise sessions Jorge made small adjusts and helpful recommendations for how to use my body weight and take advantage of gravity so that the motions became more economic for my body while still feeling great for the person receiving. A lot of massage is actually about incorporating momentum and gravity, rather than using pure muscular strength, to deliver a good session. I distinctly remember the ‘a-ha moment’ when Jorge explained this—it has been a real game-changer for my massage work and means that I am less exhausted by the end of each session.
Within the three days of the training, we covered quite a lot of information. I must say, this was one of the more intensive courses I have attended. We were shown a lot about the different energy lines in the body and specific acupressure points, as well as many new kneading, pressing and rolling techniques. Not for the first time I had the thought while practising that it feels like a kind of therapeutic dance: once you learn the steps you can stop thinking too much and really focus on the movements and enjoy the flow.
I think that this method of Thai Table Massage is incredibly effective for many different people, and the course offered a lot of great knowledge that can be applied in different ways. I would definitely recommend it.