FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What exactly is a Thai massage?
Thai massage blends acupressure and passive stretching techniques with assisted yoga. This means the therapist moves the client’s body into yoga-like positions, pulling and rocking their body, and applying pressure with the hands and feet along the body's energetic pathways (sen). Traditional Thai massage is performed on fully clothed clients, on a mat or floor mattress, without using oils, creams, or lotions.
Do I need special equipment to add Thai massage to my services?
There are five main Thai massage supplies that you need before offering this service to your clients: Thai mats or mattresses, Thai kneeling mats or pads, a Thai massage bolster set with multifunctional pillows, herbal compress balls, and a herbal ball steamer.
Which Thai massage products are 'must-have'?
- Thai mats. Opt for a dense and firm folding mattress, like NRG® Thai Massage Mat. Its tri-fold design and accompanying carry case help any therapist on the go.
- Thai kneeling mats. Besides using them for your comfort when performing Thai massage on your clients, you can also use kneeling pads as extensions for Thai mats, to accommodate taller clients.
- Thai massage bolster set. Bolsters filled with kapok can be used as knee support by therapists and can be combined with positioning pillows to stabilize a side-lying client.
- Herbal compress balls. You can typically get poultices for Thai herbal ball massage in two sizes — 50 grams (facial) and 150 grams (body) — and with different herb mixes. Traditionally, they are made with herbs and spices like turmeric, Prai ginger, lemongrass, kaffir lime, tamarind, and camphor. Sa-Wan herbal balls, for instance, follow the recipe of the Wat Po temple in Bangkok.
- Herbal ball steamer. Herbal balls have to be soaked for five minutes, followed by 10-20 minutes in a special steamer. Some products, like those from thermaBliss®, combine the herbs with Lava Gel® mineral heat technology, which makes the balls ready for use after just three minutes in warm water, without any steaming.
What type of massage oil is best for Thai massage services?
Since the client is clothed during traditional Thai massage sessions, there is no 'Thai massage oil' per se, but you can use any oil you like for a complimentary foot massage. While the client undresses for Thai herbal ball massage, this service is also performed without the addition of any oils, to allow the herbal blend to penetrate the skin and work on the muscles. Coconut Thai massage balls can be used as a skin emollient, as they release coconut oil when steamed, which makes the skin smooth, soft, and supple.
What size mat do I need for Thai massages?
Thai mats are typically 75 inches long and can be extended with kneeling pads if necessary. Most Thai mats are between 28 and 39 inches wide, but their width can vary from 20 to 57 inches. Note that a 20-inch width is way too small for a comfortable Thai massage experience and we would only recommend that for meditation.
What is the best way to use Thai herbal balls?
Thai herbal ball massage is a type of hot treatment, which means herbal balls must be handled with care after removing them from the steamer and the therapist must always test their temperature before applying them to the client's body. Once they can be used safely, five basic techniques can be employed with Thai herbal balls: rocking, rolling, stamping, dragging, and stationary pressing. The most common Thai herbal ball massage involves rocking and rolling the balls while applying steady pressure, perpendicular to the treated area.
How do I clean Thai kneeling mats and bolsters?
Authentic Thai kneeling mats, massage mattresses, bolsters, and positioning pillows are traditionally filled with Kapok. This is a very soft, hypoallergenic cotton-like fiber that is very resistant to mold, mildew, and any kind of moisture. The exterior of these Thai massage supplies can be 100% cotton or a cotton-poly blend. Either way, the recommended method is dry cleaning, and you can use any type of spray or wipe-off carpet cleaner for that.