When you teach Thai Massage, students will often ask you “How do I start with a Thai Massage session?” and “What kind of sequence or routine to follow?”
Basically, students ask where to start with massaging the body (what body parts) and how to continue. Is it with the abdomen, the feet, legs, head, or the back? And questions are asked about what receiver position to start with: prone, supine, side, or sitting?
When it comes to traditional Southern Thai style massage, one would start with working on the abdomen (and thus supine position, that is, face up) because all Sen Energy Lines have their starting points around the navel. It would mean starting a session in the traditional way, one would start with opening the Sen Energy Lines.
In Northern Thailand, one would usually start massaging the feet and legs. This has most likely historical reasons: the Thai people would work in the mountainous areas of the North, walking and climbing a lot, and often got tired feet and legs at the end of the day.
But over time things have changed. Nowadays, one can start with massaging the head, back, legs or feet, in the seated or supine position, or whatever a specific Thai Massage school or lineage teaches. And this applies to both Northern and Southern style Thai Massage.
There are many other options though. Still. Or again. Or despite of. For instance, some massage therapists will always start with the client lying in prone position (that is, lying face down) and work on the back first, others start in the side position, and so on. Generally, there are really no strict rules nowadays. Only opinions. Ideas. Certain principles applied.
You will find a broad variety of motivations for starting with some specific body part or in a specific position: cultural reasons, environmental reasons, practical reasons, medical, biological, spiritual, and traditional reasons and yes — even commercial ones. Well, I suppose it’s all fine and justifiable. Nowadays, it all depends.
As for me, it depends on my mood, on my client, on all of the above, and on — I don’t always really know. I just choose an opening and give a session. A specific, adapted one. Just as I feel to do. Just what I think the receiver needs at that particular moment.
That’s it. No rules, no reasons. Just sense. Adaption and intuition … whatever exactly that may be.