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Thai Massage is Love, by Shai Plonski


My dear friends, I have been searching for a way that describes what Thai Massage is all about and why training in this modality is truly unique, and infinitely rewarding.

I think I managed to sum it up in the 4 words which are the title of this article. I said it, and I mean it. Thai Massage is love, a love of the highest order. The reason d’etre behind my teaching is to help understand what this is all about and why Thai Massage helps you to give the absolute best treatments you ever thought possible.

Thai Massage on the back using elbows

In Thai Massage you can use elbows, forearms, knees, hands, and thumbs to massage the back

I know those of you who are trained professionals have all learned some of the greatest techniques from some of the most accomplished and successful therapists and teachers in the field. I believe many of you already have thriving practices and a full roster of clients. My question to you is there room for improvement to make it even easier on your body?

The fundamental structure of a Thai Massage and of our courses is meditation and compassion. Meditation in the sense that we take time to know our body in three dimensions and what helps us to feel ever better when giving a treatment. The rule of thumb is that the best massages have to feel great to receive and to give. The better it feels to give the better the massage. When you give a Thai Massage your whole body is a massage tool and you understand how to gain leverage in such a way that every part of your body supports the next. You learn to massage so that you fall in love with what you do again and again and since you get stronger with each session, you help to buck the trends that say the average career in massage therapy is only 7-10 years. Here we are talking about learning how to give for the long term. Massaging until your 80, 90 even 100 years old- and absolutely loving it? Why not!

When it comes to giving a table Thai Massage, what comes to mind is how it is like taking a walk in the park. Picture yourself, calm, centred, and totally at ease on a beautiful summer’s day and you begin to get an idea of what it feels like to bring Thai Massage onto the table. Imagine being able to sit for long stretches of your massage, not because you’re tired, but because it’s the best way to use your body for optimal pressure and for your own comfort! And when you give the massage think of how great it would be to use your feet, your elbows, your knees, your forearms to help out your hands and thumbs and you gain a deeper sense of how a Thai Massage comes together.

The Nataraj or dancer pose

Here is a great example of combining a stretch with massage techniques. With one maneuver we can target and release tension from the glutes, the lower back, the IT band and the hip flexors. Or as I like to call it: heaven!

Now with all this talk of how it helps you to feel great, well how about your clients? One of the things that make Thai Massage so intelligent is the understanding that so many of the issues that our clients present with are the result of improper or overuse of their body. By bringing movement and stretching into the massage you recreate the natural healthier movements that their body is built for. Whether it’s repetitive strain, poor posture, too many hours on their feet, not enough hours out of the chair, sleeping with their neck crooked or any number of additional examples, there are stretches that we can use which bring some instant relief and that feeling of having your body move and relax in ways it hasn’t in years. Now think of adding some wonderful massage techniques while being stretched or after you’ve been stretched and how nice that can feel­­, how profound the results are.

So what does it all mean? We have a modality that is born out of being kind to ourselves and our body which touches others and the inherent deeper intelligence of their body and all their muscles. And these are techniques that you can’t help but want to apply to all your other modalities. They are also techniques that you will be able to master in 3 days of training. Sounds like love to me!

Thai Foot Massage

Sitting on a chair we use a massage stick, hands, forearms and elbows to give an extended foot massage. Everybody wins!

About the author and teacher:

Shai first discovered Thai Massage in 1999 while traveling in Thailand. Upon returning to his native Quebec, Shai was delighted to find that Kam Thye Chow, one of the original North American teachers, lived less than two blocks from his home in Montreal.  From that point on, Shai worked hand-in-hand with Kam Thye, learning the practice, teaching, acting as manager of the Lotus Palm School, and eventually developing curriculum and helping to write many of the books currently in use, including the Teacher Training program and advanced training courses.

Over the past twelve years Shai has taught at some of the largest yoga centers in the world including the Kripalu Center and Omega Institute.  He brings a passionate and patient approach to his teaching, confident that anyone can excel at giving Thai Yoga Massage. He is founder of the Still Light Centre based in Toronto Ontario.  Learn more at www.stilllightcentre.com.


5 responses to “Thai Massage is Love, by Shai Plonski”

  1. Roger peters says:

    dear Shai,

    Thank you for your inspiring article…please keep writing…I’ve learned that tai chi is not only about relaxation and using the body in a much more efficient way, but about love and compassion as well…
    This is but one similarity between the two arts…there are many more…years ago, I began to write an article on this…but never finished…I just wanted you to know that you have inspired me to dig it out, dust it off, and finish it…thank you for that…

    With love,compassion, and loving kindness,


  2. Shai Plonski says:

    Wow Roger, Much very happy you like this article! I am just learning how to blog, so my apologies for the delayed reply 🙂

  3. Shama says:

    That’s a really wonderful description of Thai Massage – thank you! As a 15 year practitioner of Thai Massage I can really second your point that the use of the whole body and its weight allows you to extend the average massage career by many years without real limit. And the energetic connection is another essential factor.

    I also really liked your point that if the massage feels really good to you, it will feel really good to your client. The secret is to be really tuned in to this work.

    Thanks for your insightful article.

  4. Vanessa says:

    I am totally new to the word of Thai Massages… Thanks for posting stress free Thai massage article.. looking more from your side.

    Hearty Thanks.. .

  5. Shai Plonski says:

    Wonderful Vanessa! I’m happy you’re enjoying them 🙂

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