Thai Massage – ‘No Pain – No Gain’?

This may be true for some therapies; everything has its place. A Thai massage treatment at Simply Relaxation / Thai Bodywork however is not meant to be painful. Anything that goes beyond a comfortable stretch is too much and will more likely cause resistance and even more tension than it would release.

Your practitioner will sense this resistance immediately and what is meant to be experienced like a dance, becomes more like a fight or a matter of power struggle, which is unpleasant for both sides.

So what you want to do instead is…


The problem with that is that some people find it very hard to relax their muscles.

This can have either mental or physical causes or a combination of both:

Mental Causes For Difficulty To Relax:
Relaxation is a matter of trust. If you had reason to become a ‘control freak’, you will be facing a challenge here. Remember that what you put in is what you get out. Give yourself permission to be open for the experience.

If you can’t seem to allow yourself to let go, talk to your practitioner who will help you to find a way to become comfortable with her or him.

You can ask yourself beforehand what your intention is to have the treatment. If the outcome you are looking for is more appealing than your need for control or fear to trust, it will be much easier for your ‘ego’ to allow trust as a necessary presupposition.

Physical Causes For Difficulty To Relax:
Have you ever really learned how to relax your muscles? Dualism is an interesting thing. We can only experience one thing through its opposite or when the opposite is present. Sometimes we get stuck one side and as a result of that we forget what the other side feels like – we even forget that there is another side. Like when we are really sad, we forget what happiness and joyfulness feel like.

At Simply Relaxation we have seen people receiving Thai Bodywork who thought they were relaxed, while most of the muscles below the hips were tight as concrete.

In that case, there is almost only one way out: make it worse! Tauten every muscle you can feel, try to get stiff as a rafter, clench your fists, press your teeth together, tighten everything from head to toe, your eyes even, try to make yourself so tight as if you would condense yourself to the size of an atom. When you feel you can’t hold it no longer, let go. Feel the difference?

A combination:
If you are injured or have a weak spot, like your knees, hips, shoulders or your neck, you might be fighting a dual battle.

In order to spare yourself pain, you are trying to find ways to somehow protect that area. This could mean you put more weight on one leg than the other, you avoid bending your knees or carry your bag on one shoulder only.

When you are about to be massaged at or around that spot, you are almost expecting pain to come – and in a normal massage it probably would, because there is that ‘no pain-no gain’ mentality, which probably has its place too. It is normal that you feel like you have to protect that spot, which will usually result in more tenseness, hence more pain.

As your Thai treatment therapist will explain, there is no room for pain in a Nuad Thai, at least not as the Thai Bodywork is practised at the Simply Relaxation. A traditional Thai Yoga Massage treatment has your health as much as your well-being in mind.

Our approach is holistic, which means it considers the powers that are active when body, mind and spirit work in unity. We also believe that you have everything you need to heal from within and the treatment provides you the support and the space to re-connect with these resources.

In a space of trust, connectedness and revitalisation there is no room for pain, so you don’t need to expect it. If anything is out of your comfort zone or goes beyond a comfortable stretch, let your practitioner know. She or he will adjust the pressure, firmness or even the sequence to suit your preferences.

The approach of avoiding pain in a Thai Massage treatment at Simply Relaxation is one of the features that distinguishes us from most other practices that still hang on to the antiquated motto of ‘no pain – no gain’. Our intention is to provide relaxation and in our belief this works better without pain. Thai Massage is the perfect treatment to cater for this approach, because it does not have to be painful to be beneficial. If a Thai Massage practitioner tells you otherwise, take that as a red flag to check their qualifications!

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