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Thai Table Massage by Ruth Bell

I love to practice traditional Thai Bodywork on the floor, yet over the years I have

adapted Thai Techniques for the table.


Because there are times when working on a table is more appropriate for a multi-faceted approach to treatments. I can combine therapeutic massage, myofascial release, deep tissue work and neuromuscular techniques with the dynamic mobilisations and stretches which come from the Thai massage discipline.

As a bodyworker, my practice contains a wealth of tools learnt over the years, which allows me to adapt each treatment to the individual.

If a client is presenting with lower back pain I will often begin the treatment in a supine.

Hamstring, adductor and abductor stretches, with hip flexor openings and

mobilisations for the lower back can gently ease out this area, whilst also offering the

opportunity to see the muscular imbalance. In this way, I can affect chains of muscles

with stretches and mobilisations rather than focusing on one area. In prone, I can

work along the back energy lines and fascial chains with palm presses and rocking.

Hip flexors and quad stretches are accessible in this position.

With side lying, we can offer a 3D approach to the body as we mobilise the shoulder

and open the thoracic spine and front of the chest. If it is appropriate to only work on

the side, a whole treatment can be offered here.

The principles of listening in and meeting people where they are, working within a

range of pain-free movement and encouraging self-awareness is integral to this

practice. We can encourage people to become more body aware and learn where

their holding patterns are through our touch, bringing conscious awareness to

particular areas. The Thai bodywork approach is not about ‘fixing’ a problem, it is

centred on whole-body integration and energy work. We can give and receive a lot of

information through this close contact and full body awareness.

Fundamentally it is the mutual benefits to both client and therapist that I love the

most. I feel more energised with less pressure on individual joints of my own body

and more whole-body awareness. I move around the table, shifting my weight,

leaning in, grounding my legs to gain balance, and receiving self-stretches as I offer

sustained traction through a limb, freeing my own spine and joints as I dance and

move around my client. I am sure they sense this flow of energy as my own body

also becomes freer and more mobile within this practice.

To see a video of Thai Table Techniques in supine and prone:

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