Taking Thai Massage Classes

Bangkok is a popular tourist destination for shoppers and vacationers. But if you want to do more than just the standard sight-seeing and shopping, try and join a Thai massage class.

Thai massage is one of several forms of ancient Thai healing. Unlike modern massage therapy, Thai massage practice is based in a belief in energy pathways in the body called “sen lines.” When these lines are obstructed, the life-giving force that keeps the body healthy is unable to travel smoothly. Consequently that part of the body becomes diseased. To heal it, a Thai massage expert manipulates the lines and pressure points to allow the energy to flow again.

A similar and related discipline known as Ruesri Dat Ton or Thai yoga operates under the same principles. However Thai yoga has the added benefit of being a solo practice – you do not need a massage therapist to do it for you.

To learn Thai massage or yoga, you can join English-speaking classes in Bangkok, Chiang Mai or wherever there are classes on Thai massage that speak your language. At Wat Pho, you need only your passport, some I.D. photos and Thai baht currency to pay for your tuition. A class costs a few thousand to several thousand bahts depending on the course and the duration of the class.

At a Thai massage class, you are expected to wear loose but decent attire. You will probably be partnered with another student with whom you will take turns doing massage. You will be assigned a teacher although in practice, teachers in the same massage room can assist any student in the class.

During a Wat Pho massage class, you will be expected to review your massage manual, observe the teacher perform the massage, and then do it yourself. There is a lot of practice involved. You will repeat massage techniques over and over. After a break at midday you resume again in the afternoon.

After several days of practice, you can volunteer to take an exam. If you pass the exam (it’s not hard) you will be awarded a Thai massage certificate.

Make sure you practice what you learned at home with family and friends (who ideally took the course as well) so you do not forget it. It is also important to know massage laws in your area before you attempt it on anyone whether professionally or in private.