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What is an Authentic Thai Massage – As Taught By Wat Pho

As I travel the world, I find that the Thai massage is really misunderstood. People seem to just think of oily spa treatments ending in happy endings. Here’s what you can expect from a real Thai massage.

What is a Thai Massage

Just like most religions, there was an original “style” of Thai massage. Over time, hundreds if not thousands of other methods have branched off. That original style goes back over 2500 years, and some of the earliest practitioners delivered massages to Gautama Siddhartha, the Buddha. It has since been perfected over the centuries, and was finally made available in the 1950’s for public to learn when the Wat Pho Massage School became the first Thai medical school approved by the Thai Ministry of Education. Since then, hundreds of other schools have opened up around Thailand and the rest of the world, but Wat Pho continues to teach Thai massage in its original form.

Despite the massage style being exported and taught the world over, there still seems to be considerable misunderstandings and misconceptions about the practice, and certain media (looking at you, The Hangover) have done nothing to vindicate it. Yet Thai massage remains enormously therapeutic and should be received by practically everyone. It is also recommended that you receive the massage two or three times a week.

The full Thai massage, as taught at Wat Pho, is a two-hour massage consisting of 150 steps, with the recipient moving through five positions. The first position is laying on the back, then on their side, next on the stomach, on the back again and finally sitting up cross-legged. The massage therapist’s position is mostly sitting or kneeling beside the person giving the massage, so it is best done on a mattress or thick blanket on the floor, or a large bed. The massage is also done fully clothed, and there is no oil or rubbing involved.

Different than Chinese, Swedish, Japanese or other forms of massage, Thai massage almost entirely consists of steady pressure with the thumbs, moving along very specific lines of the body. Each of the 150 steps consist of a series of thumb presses along those lines, moving up and down each line. The pressure is steady and strong, but not intolerable. While there can be some discomfort, it disappears as soon as the thumb is removed and the lasting therapeutic result is beyond compare. Interestingly enough, many people I have massaged have told me they bruised easily, yet not one of them had any bruises after the massage. There are also no tickling parts of the massage, no matter how ticklish you are.

Get Yourself Trained in Thai Massage

Training in Thai massage was one of my favorite periods of education. Learning a skill so beneficial to others is what I enjoy the most. While you can learn Thai massage all over the world, training in Thailand is unique. As mentioned, the Wat Pho Massage School is the birthplace of such education. You can find out more about the classes here, and why you should train as a massage therapist here.

Hire Me for a Thai Massage

Unfortunately, all the descriptions in the world will never substitute for the feeling of receiving an authentic Thai massage.

Training at Wat Pho gives one a full certification as a Thai massage therapist. However, to practice professionally in some countries, like the USA, requires hundreds of hours of further medical training costing thousands of dollars, plus additional fees for tests, licensing and whatnot. As such, I cannot open my own practice in these countries. But there is no law forbidding me from delivering a massage to friends.

If you would like to donate to my travels, I can give you a massage in exchange. Feel free to contact me if you’re interested in receiving a massage when I’m in your vicinity on this planet. And if you want to sponsor me to come out to where you are, you will get unlimited massages from me during the time of my visit! Just use the contact form below.

Testimonials and Success Stories

I was one of Skye’s very first massage clients, and I’ve been lucky enough to have received at least three massages from him. He’s very much a natural and better than a lot of Thai massages that I’ve received, and I was getting them almost every other day when I was in Thailand! Skye will apply a nice, strong pressure (but not as painful according to Thai standards!) and he doesn’t skip any steps; he’s very detail-oriented. Go for the two-hour massage to receive the maximum benefit. Your body will thank you. -Celia[divider style=”solid” top=”20″ bottom=”20″]

I received my first Thai massage from Skye, and went for many more following this. He was professional and while at times it was tough it was only because my muscles were so tense. I had climbed the highest mountain in Sri Lanka just over a week before my massage and my calf muscles were still sore. The following day I felt great! Skye had done a wonderful job! -Emer[divider style=”solid” top=”20″ bottom=”20″]

I first received a Thai message from Skye in January of 2016.  Over the course of two months around this time I received Thai massage therapy from Skye once per week.  During this time I was amazed by the changes I saw in my pain level, mobility, and ability to handle strenuous activity.

I have dealt with nerve damage and rheumatoid pain for years, and tried many therapy options to alleviate symptoms such as swelling, fatigue and sensitivity.  After the first week, I noticed I was more mobile, and much of the daily pain I was accustomed to experiencing had gradually subsided. By the third week I was convinced the method was working.  I was more mobile, but I also had observed a complete cessation of daily pain and swelling.  I noticed feeling like my body now had miraculously gained the ability to repair itself.  I found myself standing up straighter, and my natural bodily alignment much improved.  I was sleeping better too! During the day I could think easier, because the pain was gone, and felt like I could get good, deep cleansing breaths regularly, where before my natural breath had been labored.  I now consider Thai message an integral part of my wellness.

Throughout the course of my message treatments Skye was compassionate and professional.  He listened to my needs and limits, and went above and beyond to make sure that I was comfortable.  I would recommend a Thai message from Skye to anyone experiencing pain, tension, or just needing to relax. -Kristin[divider style=”solid” top=”20″ bottom=”20″]

If you have already received a massage by me and would like to leave feedback, please use the contact form below.