Sunday, 7 June 2015

How many Levels of Thai Massage should I do?



Every student who registers for our courses asks this question. In this article, I will attempt to answer this. It is important to understand that traditionally Thai Massage has never been taught as levels. The structuring of Thai bodywork into levels is the outcome of the education being adjusted to suit western students travel plans in Thailand.

Traditionally Thai Massage was taught over several years by first observation and then practice.

In modern times, most schools divide basic Thai Massage education into two five days sections (typically from Monday to Friday) comprising of 30-40 hours of instruction each.

Some schools will not offer this option and instead will offer a combined ten-day course.

The first five days a student is taught how to work with a client lying in a supine (on their back) position. 
Thai Massage with client in Supine position
Thai Massage with Client in Supine position

Thai Massage in Prone position
Client in Prone Postion

Thai Massage with client in side lying position
With Client in Side Lying Position

Thai Massage with Client in seated postion
Client in Seated Position
The next five days (Level 2) the student is taught how to execute new and some of the previous exercises with the client now lying in prone (on their stomach), side-lying and seated position. In these positions, the student will learn to work on the back and hips of their client.

The main reasons for structuring the course like this is that in Level 2 the student will be stepping, kneeling and sometimes standing on their client. It is, therefore, important that the student takes the first five days to understand the pressure and other safety considerations before proceeding to more complicated moves.

How many levels should a student do? Depends on what their objectives is! If the goal is to get a flavour of Thai massage and learn a few techniques that one can apply informally then a three day, five day or introductory course is sufficient.

If however if you wish to practice this healing art with any seriousness, then the students must do at least two levels or a ten day /60-80 hour course. I recommend this for the following reasons.

  1. The second level covers working on the back and hips. Two crucial areas where everyone needs work on. Therefore for anyone planning to practice professionally, Level 2 is essential.
  2. If you are new to Thai Massage then memorising the sequences and techniques in 5 days can be quite challenging. However since Level 2 covers many of the level 1 techniques in the same series (except that they are done in prone, seated and side-lying) it allows the students to refresh their Level 1 and improves retention.
  3. While Level 1 teaches about One and a half to two hours of techniques when combined with Level 2, the total becomes almost 3-4 hours of techniques. The benefit of this is that with so many variations you can delight your client with new techniques each time they come for a session
  4. Finally, it has been my experience that most students who do only Level 1 rarely ever progress to become serious therapists. On the other hand, those who did both levels are today serious practitioners in their right, and some have even become Thai Massage teachers now.

Advanced levels can be done if the student feels confident enough with previous levels. The higher level course can be both theoretical in nature or can focus on more advanced techniques. Continuing your education after a ten-day course, however, requires sound practice. Please write if you need any further information by visiting this link.

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