One receiver of Thai traditional massage describes the practice thusly; "You lie on the floor mat and the masseuse is sometimes standing on you, or walking on you. He is pulling you into different positions and you just relax into it,'"
Hughes 148) the practice is essentially, and in western tradition said to increase range of motion, and especially for the sake of athletes and dancers.
Alfaro 32) a reviewer for London's Evening Standard newspaper notes that his or her experience with Thai massage;
did relieve muscle tension, stress and joint pain, all of which I had, though at times the treatment was undeniably painful itself. I like a strong massage, but wouldn't recommend it to anyone who doesn't want their muscles stretched and flexed vigorously. This is an intensive treatment, but no pain, no gain, is one of those ghastly but true quips. Seventy-five minutes went in a flash and when I left the salon I felt totally rejuvenated. It also seemed to have had an affect on my metabolism and appetite. ("FEELGOOD FACTOR; a Thai" NA)
In general the process might seem invasive and even stressful to a western receiver of the practice, especially a novice to massage therapy and manipulation, as the expectations of the western individual are much different than those of the eastern cultures, when it comes to massage. Thai massage is relatively new to the western repituar of available practices and should not be taken lightly, or without some information prior to a session.
Hughes offers a significant list of consumer awareness and safety pointers that will allow him or her to safely benefit from any type of massage, but especially an aggressive type of massage that could, if done incorrectly or with untoward client resistance could harm the individual receiving the treatment.
Make sure you are dealing with a certified, licensed massage therapist operating out of a clean, reputable salon.
Visit your doctor prior to scheduling a massage to make certain that you do not have any pre-existing health conditions that could be aggravated. Also, give your massage therapist accurate information about any injuries or health concerns that may be worsened by stretching or rigorous, rhythmic touching.
Do not eat prior to your session.
Communicate with your therapist before (i.e., letting him / her know your needs), during (i.e., letting him/her know if you feel any discomfort or if the room isn't suitable to your taste) and after your massage. Let your therapist know immediately if you feel there is inappropriate action going on.
Arrive at least 30 minutes before your appointment so that you can unwind; if you're running late or arrive in a rushed state of mind, it will be harder for you to relax during your massage.
Relax your body. Take a deep breath and let your masseuse/masseur do the job. Tightening your muscles during a massage is counterproductive.
Drink hydrating fluids immediately after your massage, Also, unwind in a quiet room or rest area to fully absorb the benefits of your session.
It goes without saying that massage can be one of the most rewarding experiences of ones life and time, and Thai massage is an essentially helpful type of treatment. Prior knowledge of the procedures and fully understanding the process is essential to relaxing to such a degree that the treatment is helpful rather than potentially harmful. A well trained practitioner of any massage style will have the ability to sense when a client is not receiving the full benefit of therapy and is or is not relaxing into treatment to such a degree that they are safe. It is therefore very much an aspect of the western expectation that therapists are fully trained, licensed and responsible with their practice in order to ensure the safety and benefit of their art. Bottom line, if you are in the least bit uncomfortable with a place, person or procedure communicate these concerns immediately and allow the practitioner a response before proceeding any further in treatment.