Thai Massage School
Bangkok Travel Blog› entry 35 of 38 › view all entries
I started my Traditional Thai Massage course today at the Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha) Thai Traditional Medicine School today. There were more than 10 students in class, with students from Thailand, Brazil, Germany, UK etc.
The course started with a prayer to Dr Shivago, the founder of Thai massage. None of us knew the meaning of the prayer but respectfully paid attention. I think the doctor is quite famous ... wasn't there a very long movie about him ... but strangely set during the Russian revolution? Hahaha!
The course is purely practical … we were taught a broad range of massage "moves" which had been assembled into a strict sequence. For the purpose of the exam on the final day, we were required to know the sequence strictly.
There is no room for creativity, understanding or theory. I guess the best of everything that is basic has been distilled into these moves in order to pack the training into five days … actually three days plus two days of practice and final exam.
The course was hard work. The instructor would demonstrate a set of moves on me (or my course partner), then we would take turns to attempt the same set. We’d keep doing this until we were somewhat competent.
The instructor (and her colleagues assigned to other students) hawkishly pick up any wrong moves. They are very particular about where you put your hands, feet or legs … usually with good reason, eg:
- When working near the crotch area, you should have your hands and fingers pointing away from the client’s privates to avoid embarrassing slips.
- We use our body weight to provide a strong massage … the shoulders are usually directly above our hands, the pressure being transferred through straight arms.
- When stretching or twisting the clients, we’d extend one of our legs (and the correct one too!) to get the most leverage.