More specifically in the northern part of Thailand, in the Chiang Mai Lanna region and among certain Hill Tribes, so-called Walking Massage or Thai Barefoot Massage is a form of Thai Massage application. Moreover, some hill tribe healers only use Barefoot Massage techniques.
Treatments where the masseur uses the feet have a more “earthy” quality than the ones done with the hands, or with other parts of the body. In general, more pressure can also be applied. Sometimes the practitioners use a stick, rod, or rope to keep their balance while “walking” over the patient.
In addition, using the feet to give massage can avoid repetitive strains for the hands and wrists of the masseur making the work more balanced for the masseur’s physical wellbeing.
In itself, Thai Massage done with the feet is not something extraordinary — Thai Massage is typically given by a practitioner who uses all parts of their body as a massage tool. In that sense, Thai Barefoot Massage techniques are applied as part of a “normal” Thai Massage session if the therapist thinks they’re better or necessary for the receiver.
Today, we see that some Thai Massage schools offer complete Thai Barefoot Massage training courses that teach students to do a full body Thai Massage solely using the feet.
Nevertheless, it’s very rare to find Thai (or other) massage salons, parlors, or spas that offer complete Barefoot Massage treatment sessions. At best there are therapists that integrate foot work into the massage session.