The Art of Massage in Thailand – Part 1

Published | Updated March 2, 2020

Ancient Thai art mural on Wat Pho temple grounds Bangkok
IMAGE BY HELISSA GRUNDEMANN

A series of thoughts, proverbs, and aphorisms about Thai Massage.

Don’t get fooled—Thai massage is not massage. It’s only called massage.

Feel, touch, sense. Work. Accept both highs and lows. It takes time—for sure. But what a time it is.

It’s not about fancy poses or new techniques. That’s all good, nice, and perhaps even needed—at first. But finally, it’s not at all about that.

In our efforts to become the perfect Thai Massage practitioner, we should always remember that we can’t be perfect at all. But still—let’s move, toss, turn, change, and grow. It’ll keep us busy and it’ll last us a lifetime.

We all make mistakes. Let’s not worry too much about it. It’s why we have a liability insurance in the first place. And besides that—it urges us to act more carefully, more gently, to finally become better practitioners.

This thing we readily call spirituality is much more physical than we like to imagine—or maybe even want. It’s through sustained bodywork we can come to get a glimpse of that.

Reaching our promised land is a first big step, but after that there’s still a whole lot to do. In fact, right then, the real work of learning, growing, trial and error, is basically just about to start. But the beauty is, that the search is over. And that—makes all the difference.

The body is very real. If you tend to have any doubts, just smash your head against the wall and you’ll remember. It’s not the reality of the body we need to question, but the images we have of it.

On traveling this road, you meet lots of people, ideas, things—stuff. And there comes a time to reject it all. Like a child that rejects all its parents say or stand for. It’s just how it seems to work. It’s probably how one grows to become independent and free.

What makes Traditional Thai massage a sort of slippery, is the vast amount of perspectives. But then again, every approach actually includes the whole thing. It’s somewhat like the thousandfold reflection of an extremely clear diamond—each individual beam proves her undeniable existence, but she herself stays out of sight.

Although the preconception of Thai Massage as a spiritual practice isn’t necessarily a false one, it’s a far more better practice to let the work speak for itself.

When it comes to judging practitioners, it would be fair to make a difference between those who learn by failure and those who earn by failure.


Disclaimer: All content on this website is for informational purposes only and not intended to serve as a substitute for the consultation, diagnosis, or medical treatment of a qualified physician or other professional healthcare provider.

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The Art of Massage in Thailand – Part 2
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