If you are curious about Thai Yoga Massage treatments there are a few things to consider before you fully commit to trying it out.
After all I am well aware of the many urban legends surrounding the beautiful art of Thai Yoga Massage. Some say it’s painful, others say it’s sleazy, others say it’s scary…
Yes, in some instances the above may be true, but serious practitioners will do their utmost to offer their clients a memorable experience. For all the right reasons!
Although I am clearly biased, Thai Yoga Massage treatments are awesome for your health in their own rights. However, there are ways in which you can ensure you get the most out of them.
Here is what you need to know to ensure your first treatment is a success:
1. Choose a qualified practitioner
It may seem like an obvious statement to make but by taking the time to research your local practitioner will ensure that you won’t get any unpleasant surprises. There are no rules in the holistic practitioners world that say you have to have any kind of qualification to offer massage services, however learning your trade from a reputable education provider means that they had to demonstrate their skills and knowledge of anatomy and physiology.
This allows your practitioner to become a member of a professional organisation AND public liability insurance. The fact that they are qualified to the required standards is in itself insurance that you are unlikely to get any nasty surprises when you visit them, however we all know that shit happens and in the unfortunate events that it does you will both be covered.
The Federation of Holistic Therapists is a great place to start to search for your nearest qualified Thai Yoga Massage practitioner.
2. Prepare yourself for a Thai Yoga Massage
Although nothing dramatic happens during a Thai Yoga Massage treatment it’s a good idea to come prepared. Passive stretching is a big part of what makes Thai Yoga Massage treatments unique so if your muscles are very tight and your joints stiff it would be a good idea to do something to loosen them up a bit before you see your therapist.
The treatment will help you get better but if you warm up a bit it will help your practitioner to help you out. You don’t have to do much, a simple relaxing walk before your treatment should do the trick. However, if you feel that you need something stronger you may want to try some Qi Gong to help you relax. This short practice from a Shaolin Temple specifically addresses muscle and tendon health. Give it a go.
3. Nourish and hydrate
In other words eat and drink before your treatment.
Drinking water during your treatment is natural and necessary to help your body detox itself, however getting hungry will disrupt the peace and distract you. The best thing to do is to have a light meal an hour or so before your treatment so that your stomach won’t be full and you won’t feel hungry for another couple of hours leaving you plenty of time to enjoy your Thai Yoga Massage treatment.
I would recommend a small meal consisting of a protein source and plenty of vegetables with perhaps a small serving of starches for extra fullness. And of course plenty of natural mineral water before your meal and to take with you to sip throughout your treatment.
4. Familiarise yourself with the treatment
I had a few clients showing up for a treatment who didn’t really know what to expect but they heard they were great so they made a booking. I applause their courage and curios mind, however had they done some research beforehand they would have been able to relax more and not be on the defensive all the time for fear of what was going to happen next.
Also, please remember that treatments are carried out on the floor so if you struggle with this you may want to check that your local practitioner can offer the treatment on a massage table instead.
There is a page on my website about what to expect from your first Thai Yoga Massage treatment and I am thinking of making it a mandatory read for new clients who have never been to Thailand. 🙂
5. Dress for the occasion
The beauty of Thai Yoga Massage is that you don’t have to undress for the treatment. However, you will be moving a lot and will be put in all sorts of positions to challenge your current range of movement and push beyond your boundaries. Wearing the right clothes will ensure you can move freely and without wardrobe malfunctions.
I had plenty of people showing up wearing inadequate clothing (jeans, work trousers, shirts) and therefore not getting the most out of their treatment. I also had the occasional patient showing flesh that I didn’t want to see. It’s embarrassing for both of us so please guys cover up.
You also need to consider that in addition to the stretches there are long sequences of more gentle action as your practitioner works on your acupressure points. During this time you may start to feel cold. Ideally your clothes will be lightweight but warm too. Not needing a blanket will make it easier for your practitioner to work on your body and this in turn will help you get more out of your treatment.
6. Get mentally ready (i.e. relax)
If you tend to be anxious or find it hard to trust people I would recommend spending some time before your treatment doing some relaxation exercises. Perhaps you can listen to some chillout music on your way to the clinic or maybe you can meditate for a while before you set off. Another option is, of course, to arrive 10 or 15 minutes and follow the prompts from one of the many mindfulness apps available for your phone.
Being mentally ready for a treatment that you may find scary at first will help you enjoy it more.
Remember your therapist is not there to hurt you or kill you or humiliate you. He or she is there to help you feel better and move better. There is a lesson in learning to trust your practitioner even if she or he is a complete stranger to you.
In fact, if trust is an issue for you perhaps you could spend some time “stalking” your practitioner on social media to get a feel for what they do, say and see the world. You will also have an opportunity to interact with them before you commit to a booking.
7. Open up to your practitioner
Well done! You made it to the clinic and through the door! Whoohooo!
The best thing you can do at this stage is to tell your practitioner everything. Let them know how you feel about having your first treatment, any problems you are experiencing in terms of physical discomfort, any allergies, anything that might be causing you stress, your exercise routine, what you would like to accomplish, where you struggle, what prior experience you had with treatments and ask as many questions as you can think of to set your mind at ease.
The more information you can give your practitioner at this stage the better he or she will be able to serve you. I usually pre-empty this phase by asking clients to fill in a questionnaire so I am pre-warned about any important issues, however having the initial chat with a new client gives me a better idea of what they are all about and what I can do to help.
There are many different techniques that a trained practitioner can use during a treatment, however some may be unnecessary at this stage and having good background information can help your practitioner choose the techniques that will give you the results you expect.
8. Listen to your practitioner’s advice
As your therapist works his or her way around your body they will be able to give you advice on actions that you can take to overcome the issues that brought you to their treatment room. Sometimes it’s your diet that is less than ideal, or it could be the exercise you do or the fact that you don’t do any.
Most therapists will only be interested in your wellbeing and therefore they won’t have a secret agenda and their advice will be sincere.
Others, however, will have an affiliation with sellers of wellness products like supplements, lotions and potions. Be discerning and decide whether they are more interested in your or their bottom line.
9. Take action after your Thai Yoga Massage treatment
If it all goes well after your treatment you will experience lightness and a sense of increased wellbeing. You will feel peaceful and your body will respond in kind by being less tense and more flexible.
The secret at this point is to do nothing for a couple of days to allow the effects of the treatment to sink in fully. However, after that you want to start looking for ways to maintain and compound the benefits of Thai Yoga Massage.
The best advice I can give you is to incorporate some gentle exercise that focuses on movement and flexibility in your daily routine. You don’t have to spend too much time doing it, a 20-30 min routine every day or every other day will be sufficient. I especially like Strala Yoga for this purpose because it doesn’t involve holding poses for any particular length of time and involves a lot of movement. I don’t think there are that many instructors in the UK but you could start by subscribing to Tara Stiles’ YouTube channel and follow along some of the videos. Here is a good one:
10. Don’t leave it too long before your next appointment
For me Thai Yoga Massage is all about sports performance. It’s the same for most of my clients too. Others come to feel younger and able to move fluidly again.
Regardless of the reasons that brought them to my treatment room those who have regular treatments are the ones who see the biggest improvements in their quality of life and sports performance. Depending on your goals you will benefits from more regular treatments, the keyword here being “regular”, not necessarily frequently.
Not everyone has the budget for weekly treatments but unless you see your practitioner on a regular basis all the benefits you got from your visit will eventually be lost. This is because it’s very easy to slowly slip back into bad habits that were established over a long period of time. If you are serious about making changes you will have to make treatments a part of your exercise or wellbeing routine.
If you are based in North Essex and you would like to have a Thai Yoga Massage treatment but you are not too sure it’s for you give me a call, tell me what you are struggling with and I’ll do my best to advise you accordingly.