Attention to Detail Sometimes Exceeds Experience

A Thai massage delivered with care and consideration following a set sequence can surpass even those given by practitioners with years of experience.

In my journeys seeking out Thai massages across Canada, I once travelled to four different places on one trip and received four Thai massages from different practitioners over four days. My most memorable experience on this adventure was in a beautiful spa that offered various massage modalities. I booked myself a Thai massage, and things started normally. My practitioner gave me clothing to change into, and once dressed, I lay down on the Thai massage mat she had rolled out in the vast treatment room.

When my practitioner came in, I noticed she had a stack of recipe cards. To my surprise, my practitioner began to follow the instructions on her cards and continued for the 90 minutes I had booked. When the massage was over, I asked her about the cards, and she told me that she usually did Balinese massage. She had taken a Thai massage course many years earlier, but since she rarely ever performed a Thai massage treatment, she needed the cards to remember how to do the Thai massage.

The incredible thing about this Thai massage, however, was not the fact that my practitioner had to follow written instructions for the entire treatment. The astonishing thing was that her Thai massage was better than the other three Thai massages I had received that week on my trip.

Since then, when first-time customers have raved about their experience, I often tell them that as important as a practitioner is for the experience, Thai massage by itself, when done with care and consideration, stands for itself. The analogy I use is to compare Thai massage with calligraphy. Calligraphy is an art that takes exceptional skill, but if a person has a suitable stencil and a good pen, it is possible to make great calligraphy without knowing what you are doing. You will not be a calligrapher, but you can create beautiful calligraphy if you keep the stencil in place and stay within the cut-outs of the stencil.

In my experience at that spa, my Balinese massage practitioner knew how to massage people, but she did not know Thai massage intuitively. But rather than fake it, she took great pains to follow her instructions on the recipe cards and gave me an excellent massage. My Thai massage would have been very different and much shorter without the instructions. But like the layperson using a stencil to make beautiful calligraphy, she used her written instructions to their full potential and gave me a beautiful Thai massage.

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