At Bahn Thai Spa we understand the importance of getting the right amount of feedback to ensure you stay on track. After all, bad habits learned early on can lead to injury down the road. As part of our commitment to learning and in accordance with the teaching method of ITM (the universal VAK, visual, auditory, kinesthetic) we offer a Student Clinic for practice with another student for free or have the option to get some feedback from our very helpful staff. Once you are ready and confident, you will be able to massage on the public at the Student Rate and be paid for your service.
The key to giving the best Thai Massage is one thing only: practice, practice practice! The more you practice, the more returning customers you will get and there is an opportunity to advance to Apprentice Level and beyond with us. All we ask is that you are willing to commit to one shift a week. You can grow your client base and continue to learn and practice with us .as well as take advantage of upcoming Specialty Workshops offered from time to time to staff only. These courses are taught by a growing international community of visiting teachers.
Bobbi Dedman is a Practitioner with us. She trained at our school in 2015. We asked her to share her experience with others and here's what she had to say.
1. What brought you to the art of Traditional Thai massage?
I've always been in very high stress jobs and I was seeking a new fulfilling career that would allow me to relieve stress while helping others at the same time. I began searching for various holistic practices and stumbled upon Thai massage. Not knowing exactly what this was (other than what I had read), I decided to book myself a 1.5 hour treatment to get a better understanding of it. Afterwards I felt amazing and could see the many benefits it has to offer. Needless to say, I signed up for their course immediately.
2. What are the advantages you felt Bahn Thai Spa had over other schools?
I took my first course at a different school and soon realized that I couldn’t advance as quickly as I wanted to. I needed the support and guidance from teachers and practitioners to ensure that I was doing the postures correctly and using my body appropriately. I was often second guessing if what I was doing was right. I began looking for schools that offered such support and came across Bahn Thai Spa through my google search. They are the only school that I found to offer a student clinic and give you the chance to work one on one with other practitioners at the spa. This is a huge advantage as you are able to get valuable feedback from professionals as well as ask questions that you may have throughout your practice.
The student clinic was extremely beneficial for me. For one, it offers space for you to practice in and for two, you’re able to work with other students where you have the opportunity to exchange massages - it’s just as important to receive than it is to give because you’ll get a better understanding of what feels right and what doesn’t. If this isn’t enough, when they feel you’re ready, they allow you to work on customers at a student rate. This only makes you better as you will have the opportunity to work on many other body types and really get the feel of how to help people with their individual needs.
Bahn Thai spa is truly unique compared to other schools in Toronto. It’s a place where everyone collaborates with each other to become better at their practice. They are accommodating to everyone’s individual needs, give you incredible support and are always there to answer questions. They offer Student and Apprentice program once you receive your certificate, train you on the duties of working in a spa, and teach you how to sell yourself as a practitioner. Really, what more can you ask for?!
3. Did you experience any difficulty in asking friends and family for your case studies?
Not at all. Who doesn't want a free massage?! I started working on those I was most comfortable with as I was very new to touch therapy. Once I started getting more comfortable, I branched out to friends of friends, co-workers, etc. Shortly after, I started asking people if they knew of anyone that would be willing to let me practice on them. Before I knew it, I had people lined up weeks in advance.
4. What kind of commitment did you make as a student?
When I first started I made sure I set a realistic goal for myself and committed to at least 6 hours or 4 x 90 minute massages a week. I set up appointments weeks in advance and if someone cancelled, I made sure that I filled that time with someone else. This was not difficult considering I had access to the student clinic and the help of the practitioners. Once Bahn Thai spa felt I was ready, I dedicated one day a week (mandatory if you want to work there eventually) to come in for online bookings and walk-ins. I also put a few hours a week aside to continue with off-site appointments with family, friends and referrals. This ensured that I would still reach my weekly goal. Also, I was never opposed to doing more. The commitments that I made were not only to get my certificate in a timely manner but to help me strengthen my practice and learn as much as I possibly could. After all, Bahn Thai spa offered me all the tools I needed to succeed. I still have a long journey ahead of me and will continue to commit to my practice and become better and better each day. I recently graduated and now have the same opportunity to continue to learn as an Apprentice - more money and the advantage of having advanced training and massages at a discounted staff rate.
5. What advice would you offer our future students?
The best secret/advice I can give is to practice as much as possible! There is no such thing as too much practice. It's also important to:
Set weekly goals for yourself and put aside a certain amount of hours/massages that your schedule allows you to do.
Line up appointments with students, friends, family, practitioners & referrals weeks in advance and stick to them.
Work on as many different body types as you can. This will help you gain confidence in your practice and get you out of your comfort zone.
Take advantage of the student clinic and get treatments from the practitioners at the spa. Like I said before, it’s just as important to receive than it is to give. And it will help you use your intuition more, by getting practice with those more experienced than you.
Don't wait too long in between practices. When first starting, it’s easy to forget the details of postures and you don’t want to fall into bad habits or forget postures entirely.
Pay attention to your body when practicing. If you feel you're uncomfortable, hurting, or something just doesn't feel right, discuss it with one of the teachers/practitioners. Best advice I received was if it doesn’t feel right, you’re probably not doing it right.