What is Reasonable Compensation?

The Thai massage Code of Ethics requires practitioners to set a fair price for their services that reflects their experience and expertise.

Traditional Thai massage practice emerged within Buddhist culture, and the traditional ethical framework has been to promote harmony, compassion and peace among humankind. Thai Healing Alliance International (THAI) took this framework and created a code of ethics for everyone studying and practicing Thai massage worldwide. These rules combine Thai traditions’ precepts with Western massage associations’ legal concerns. These ten principles are central to both our Thai massage clinic and our Thai massage school.

While many principles align with Western ethics, some contradict the spirit of running a business. For instance, the third principle is that a Thai massage practitioner agrees to charge a fair price for their service and set fees that reflect the experience and expertise of the practitioner. You must recognize your skill and knowledge and only charge according to these credentials, even if customers are willing to pay more for your service.

In the West, most businesses are fine charging the market rate or more if they have a customer base willing to pay those prices. But in Thailand, Thai massage was a service that healers and priests provided to those in need. Instead of being paid cash, healers would accept gifts for the healer or temple. Or they would prepare Khan Kru, an offering dish filled with three colours of flowers, four candles, four sticks of incense, rice and nine coins.

I have also seen some brilliant ways Thai massage practitioners worldwide have tried to embody this precept. Some have a pay-forward jar at their business for clients instead of a tip jar, and the practitioner uses this money to give massages to those who cannot afford the service. Others have a pay-what-you-can policy, where clients only pay what they can afford.

My contribution is that I set up a tent at various events in the summer and spend the day giving free fifteen-minute massages. This is a great way to show my skills to people who have not heard of Thai massage. But I offer my massages to anyone and everyone, young and old, and I get to see many people who would never be able to afford a massage in my clinic.

Second, to ensure that my rates correlate with my skills, I purposely created a practitioner roadmap when I first started my business to connect my cost of services with explicit criteria, including association membership, hours of hands-on training, practice, years of experience, and certifications in Thai massage modalities. So instead of arbitrarily giving myself a wage increase when I deemed it possible to charge my clients more, I now have to complete my requirements, which take a minimum of ten years.

What Are The Thai Massage Code of Ethics?

Who created the Thai Massage Code of Ethics? How does the code reflect the Buddhist origins? How does the code compare with Western equivalents?

Ethical decision making
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