Thai Massage is for young and old, and although you can find quite some info about Thai Massage for babies and infants, Thai Massage for pregnant women, and Thai Massage for elderly people, there’s very little written about Thai Massage for teenagers. So, I thought to tell you a bit about it, mostly of what I encountered in my practice as a therapist.
But first this: what is a teenager? Usually teenagers are described as those aged from 13 to 19 years old. Some other definitions go from 10 to 19 years old, or even from 10 to 24 years. Synonyms used for the term teenager are teen, adolescent, and young adult.
Now, I never had a teenager walking into my practice out of their own will. They were always brought to me by their parents, and the first time it was actually always, well, rather unwillingly, to say the least.
Typically, a parent who had benefited from one or more of my Thai Massage treatments thought it a good idea if their (difficult) teenager would have a massage too. But as it often is with teenagers: they don’t want to do what their parents do (or tell them to do), and that immediately creates a problem for the therapist.
You see, it’s not a very good start if you need to massage someone who actually doesn’t want a massage. Ideally someone should relax, let go, and accept an impending treatment. It’s why I was never too happy when I needed to work with a (newly brought) teenager. Teenagers go through a profound time of transition of both physical and psychological development, have a lot of internal emotional stuff going on, and then needing to do something unwillingly doesn’t promise good results.
I soon discovered that the body of a teenager is usually very hard, stiff, contracted, and resisting (and not only because of not wanting a massage). Many teenagers cope with anger issues and frustrations, which is often (also or even primarily) a result of the transition stage their in. This emotional baggage very much reflects in their bodies.
It’s a rather strange discovery, because you would think that young people are flexible, elastic, and moldable. Well, teenagers maybe still very flexible and moldable on the emotional and mental level, but there’s often very little of that to be seen in their bodies. As such, I also found that you can actually do great work with them as soon as you have gone past their initial barrier of getting a massage from you.
I have seen profound emotional release with teenagers who are willing to let go. A lot of their boiled up psychological tension can find a way out through massage. Moreover, when they discover what Thai Massage is, how it works, specifically when you work with them on the floor on a mat and include lots of stretches, they actually start to find it sort of “cool.”
Teenagers who do a lot of sports activity are often easier to approach when you tell them that it’s good for their sports performance. Another way to approach them is when they have a specific health complaint such as headaches or back pains; they can become more willing if they start to get the idea that you can maybe help them get rid of those.
So, my experience is that Thai Massage for teenagers can be an excellent tool to assist them in regulating their emotional stress. Of course, all the usual health benefits of massage therapy also apply, but for teenagers benefits like hormonal regulation, stress, tension, and anxiety relief, and postural correction may even be of more importance than for other age groups.