From the MASSAGE Magazine article, “Tradition Meets Modern-Day Pain Relief: Clinical Thai Bodywork,” by Chuck Duff, in the June 2009 issue. Article summary: Clinical Thai Bodywork is built upon Thai massage, a branch of traditional Thai medicine that involves very efficient methods of hands-on compression, stretching and rhythmic movement, with the client clothed on a comfortable mat on the floor.

by Chuck Duff

This is a brief overview of the Clinical Thai Bodywork treatment process.

1. Establish a precise visual map of the client’s pain pattern during intake and come up with an initial plan for treating specific regions of the body based upon Clinical Thai Bodywork charts and reference materials.

2. Assess ROM and dysfunction (such as muscles contracting upon passive shortening). This can be done in-session, as the therapist will naturally be moving the client through ROM. Do not attempt to fully stretch muscles before taut bands have been released.

3. Establish a treatment order based on relevant muscles and agonist/antagonist pairings. This may differ from traditional Thai sequencing; for example, we try to avoid shortening muscles that may be painfully activated before we have had a chance to treat and resolve any trigger points.

4. Treat using traditional Thai techniques with certain modifications; for example, we focus more on tender points. Generally, muscles are treated under partial stretch, followed by active contract/relax and ROM cycles. A Thai herbal compress may be used for initial warming.

5. Document improvements in pain, ROM, strength and posture for internal use as well as for referring to or collaborating with physicians, chiropractors, physical therapists and other health-care providers.

6. Discover lifestyle-based perpetuating factors that foster continued pain and give the client specific instructions for changes and self-care.