‘You can go as deep as you want!’ If you are a massage therapist you will dread hearing this but probably will over and over again. Your eyes will roll, you know you are in for hard work. You find you are watching the clock because you have to work even harder to give them the massage they want and it’s not enjoyable.
This is where Thai massage comes into its own.
But first, let’s be totally honest because when you’re being invited to go as ‘deep as you want’ then I’m sure you would choose to work easy with a feather light touch.
Who wants to work really hard out of choice?
Also, it is likely when a client says this that no matter how hard you try it might not ever be deep enough or hit the sweet spot. If this is the case it makes me think this:
- They are numb, they have disconnect on some level and deep pressure won’t ever be enough. Do they think no pain no gain is the only way to feel anything?
- You should not have to bust a gut to work on someone, you should only use your body in a clever way that isn’t tiring, and nothing should feel forced.
- Could you introduce some self-care massage or stretches to their daily routine? If they do their homework they may wake up some self-awareness and the next time you see them they will be further along the road. You cannot work miracles alone.
So, what can you do?
There are a few options for treatment and it would depend on what information has been gathered in the consultation.
Thai massage therapists can go SUPER deep without tiring if you have the right tools in your toolkit. It can be therapeutic to get in there and go in deep if you make sure you follow the basic rules of Thai anatomy. But deep pressure shouldn’t be hard work for you.
- You could sit on the client or use feet, knees and shins a lot in the session to apply deep compressions with long holds, followed by strong twists.
- If they are really bound up in the muscle layer you could do some beating and plucking. These are really intense, effective techniques that get in deep, hit the spot and get results but aren’t hard work.
- Go to the opposite end of the scale and work with gentle pressure but with therapeutic techniques such as working on the neurovascular bundles (the nerves and vessels) to stimulate nerves and encourage sensation again through these pathways. In Thai medicine we call the neurovascular bundles ‘the Windgates’.
- You could work on activating the nerves that are deep to the myofascial channels. In Thai medicine these are called ‘Sen’ and they are pathways of movement in the body. When we work on Sen we are activating movement through these structures and it has a strong physiological effect.
One of the many things to LOVE about Thai massage is that there is ALWAYS a way to get the job done so we don’t have to roll our eyes and fear the client who asks for deep pressure. We can make decisions about what will help them most and enjoy giving an effective treatment.