Before and After the Thai Massage

The Therapeutic Environment:

The therapeutic environment is a vital factor in the comfort of the client and, therefore, of utmost importance to the practitioner of Thai Massage. Thai massage is generally considered a unique, expensive, and private experience, and practitioners must take care to ensure that their clients feel comfortable and relaxed throughout the appointment.

For this reason, the space in which the therapy takes place is an important consideration.

Safety, cleanliness, an uninterrupted peaceful atmosphere, soothing lighting, and neat appearance are all vital to the massage center.

Other considerations particular to Thai Massage include:


Use a thin mattress on the floor, such as a shiatsu mat or Thai Massage mat, instead of a massage table. A good Thai Massage mat will usually be a pressed-foam slab with a removable washable cover. This material is ideal because it is thin, unsupportive, durable, and lightweight. The best kinds of mats for Thai Massage are those that allow both the client and the practitioner to remain on the mat throughout the entire routine.

Remember, the type of mat you use will partially determine how your massage feels to the client. If your mat is too stiff or too thin, as you press your client’s body into the mat, it will be uncomfortable. Ensuring you have a proper mat is essential and a wise investment.

Thai shiatsu mat


Keep plenty of pillows of different sizes handy to prop up different body parts throughout the massage. Blocks used for yoga practice also make great supports, although they may be a little hard without additional padding. In the winter, keep a blanket or sheet nearby to cover the parts of the body not being worked with, particularly when using herbal compresses. You may wish to keep a chair, ceiling rope, or walker in the work space for back-walking maneuvers.


Thai Massage is always performed fully clothed, and under no circumstances should clients disrobe. Proper attire for the client and practitioner should include light, flexible clothing such as that used for yoga class. The practitioner should keep some clean, suitable clothing on hand, in case a client comes unprepared.

Thai Message Fisherman pants

Thai fisherman pants (or khang gang lay) are commonly used in clinics in Thailand for both the client and practitioner, as they provide a comfortable fit for all body types and do not inhibit movement.


Musical rhythms interfere with the natural rhythm of breath and movement that develops during a Thai Massage and should not be used. You can use soothing, nonrhythmic sounds, such as recordings of rain or a bubbling fountain, if it helps a client to relax and enjoy the massage. This ambient noise can also help absorb distracting sounds, such as traffic, that may enter the therapy space.


In Thailand, it is common practice for the practitioner and client to wash hands and feet before and after each massage. Basins and soap are kept nearby for this purpose. In the West, hand-washing and proper care of bedding are recognized as key components in halting the spread of infectious diseases, and are an intesupportivegral part of any massage clinic’s safety regimen. For a touch of authenticity, you may wish to provide an attractive basin with soap and water and a towel for your client.

Interviewing the Client

It is vital to interview the client before each massage. It is important to be aware of each client’s symptoms and limitations, and of any possible contraindications. Even a familiar client may present different symptoms or concerns at different times. It is important to get as complete an assessment of the client’s total health condition as possible, as well as to discuss specific trouble areas before beginning.

The following are some general considerations to bear in mind when conducting client interviews. The answers to these questions will help you to determine the type of massage you will give each client:

Client’s Age

You will have special considerations for very old and very young clients. The younger the

individual, the more naturally flexible he/she will normally be. Very young clients, such as infants and toddlers, do not require acupressure or yogic stretching. These individuals should

not receive more than light joint mobilization, gentle squeezing of the limbs, and superficial rubbing of the sen. By age 8−10, children may enjoy beginning full-body poses. Older clients will usually be restricted in their movements, particularly in the more advanced stretches.

Elderly individuals usually cannot withstand deep presses or acupressure. They will, however,

benefit greatly from the hot herbal compress massage.

Flexibility of Joints and Muscles

In clients of all ages, you will have special considerations for varying levels of flexibility. who are not as flexible, or those who are extremely flexible and need more of a challenge. Always keep in mind the alignment of the ideal posture, and help your clients to work toward this goal. In time, you will see an increase in their flexibility.

Chronic Injuries, Pains, or Problems on Any Part of the Body

Massage that may aggravate existing injuries should be strictly avoided.

Back Pain or Inflexibility

You may want to avoid many of the back stretches. When you are working on your client’s back, he or she may be more comfortable in Different side position will be described later

Heart, Circulation, or Blood Pressure Problems

Stress and Anxiety You may wish to perform the massage at a slightly slower pace, with more of a relaxing intent.

Fatigue and Low Energy

You may wish to perform the massage at a slightly faster pace, with more of an energizing intent.

Food Intake

Determine if the client has eaten recently. Clients should not eat three hours prior to a massage. If they have, be sure to skip the abdominal massage. You may also have to omit some (or all) of the full-body stretches.


Due to abdominal distention and sensitivity, menstruating women should not receive direct pressure to this region unless the therapist is trained in this specialty and the client requests this service.


Under no circumstances should pregnant women receive Thai Massage or acupressure from a therapist who is not trained in this particular specialty.

During the interview, the practitioner should also take into consideration the client’s body size and shape in order to predetermine any additional props or equipment that will be needed.

A small practitioner giving a massage to a very large client or a large practitioner giving a massage to a small client will present unique challenges.

The skillful use of bodyweight gives therapists leverage, enabling them to handle even the most mismatched clients. This level of skill takes time and practice to perfect. When faced with any doubt as to your ability to perform specific massage steps, they should simply be avoided.

The practitioner should always use his or her judgment when delivering a Thai Massage.

Working with Specific Conditions