Yoga Tutorial: Thai Massage for Couples & Friends

Thai Massage is one of those “best kept secrets” type thing. Many of us are familiar with the term but haven’t actually experienced this euphoric art form. And yes I know – euphoric is a strong word but it’s the best description.

Trust me.

I’ve received quite a few massages throughout the world including Thailand & none of them compare to my experience with Rissa Wray. Her 90 minute Thai massage sent me into a dreamlike state where my body was lengthened, twisted, stretched, opened, and relaxed all at the same time. Thus, the word euphoric is the only term to describe it.

Here’s the deal – this is not a normal lay on the table massage with the therapist using only their hands. Thai massage is a movement between the giver and receiver, it’s a shared experience of inhalations and exhalations, and an opening of the mind, body, and soul.

Again – it’s euphoric.

If you’re still like what the hell is this chick talking about, here’s what to expect.

  • The receiver (as in me and you) should wear comfortable clothes that stretch and move easily.
  • Your only job is to lay on the pad/bed/comfy mat thing & play dead.
  • Allow the body to completely surrender for the giver – remember play dead.
  • Bring water to nourish & hydrate after the session.
  • Expect to pay $75 – $100 per session based on the session length.

A glimpse into this beautiful practice….

Before we dive into the below tutorial, I want to take a moment and educate both me and you on what Thai massage is & it’s benefits. After all, it’s always a good idea to gain education or at least that’s what my momma always told me…

  • Thai massage has roots in yoga, Ayurveda, and Buddhism.
  • Because of its connection to these ancient traditions, you can trace the lineage back quite a long time (some say 2500 years). But, Thai massage as we know it today, like yoga, is a modern reconfiguration of supposedly ancient forms of bodywork.
  • Thai massage is just one part of the unique and diverse practices of Thai healing arts as a whole, which stand alone apart from yoga, Ayurveda, and other Eastern healing traditions.
  • Thai massage is a form of assisted meditation lovingly nicknamed “lazy man’s yoga.” The traditional form is practiced on a futon-like mat on the ground, but some modern Thai fusion styles are practiced on a massage table.
  • Thai massage features assisted range of motion, compression, and thumbing techniques to activate the body’s sen lines (energy lines) and release blockages.
  • Like other forms of massage, these techniques help to alleviate aches and pains associated with chronic tension. The intention is energetic, but the structures of the body are undeniably affected in the process.

For the below tutorial, please do the following:

  • This tutorial can be shared between couples, friends, family members, or anyone you’re comfortable with.
  • The receiver should position their body as shown in the photos below. If unable to comfortably sit cross-legged, let the lets extend long in front or take a wide-legged position (similar to a straddle).
  • The instructions below are for the giver unless otherwise noted.
  • As this is a giving & receiving massage, make it a point to communicate with one another.

About Rissa:

Rissa Wray is a licensed massage therapist, Thai massage therapist, and yoga teacher. She is a born and raised Florida girl with a passion for healing people through mind, body, and soul work. Rissa has studied Thai massage extensively in Thailand, Bali, and the states and holds her 200 HR yoga certification with Yoga Alliance. If you’re a local to the St. Pete area, you must check her out. She’s the real deal yogis and I absolutely adore her!

1. Foot to Foot


  • Ground through the heel on the mat.
  •  Step forward into the arch of the foot.
  • Continue to step on the feet moving back and forth between the two.
  • Don’t overthink this one – just walk it out.

*For added pressure, turn around and use the heels to go deeper into the arch of the foot.

2. Hand to Shoulder Compression

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  • Begin in a kneeling position with the hips back towards the heels.
  • Position the palms as seen above, keep the arms straight, and lean your body into the receivers.
  • Palm walk across the shoulders, kneading like a cat as you go.
  • Use forward pressure into the heel, palm and fingers.
  • Move back and forth along the shoulder area doing both sides simultaneously.

3. Foot to Shoulder Compression

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  • Take a seat behind the receiver and position yourself as shown in the photo above. Take special note of the slight bend in the knee.
  • Bring the outer foot to the shoulder and trap area.
  • Step into the shoulder and lead with the heel.
  • Move back and forth  along the area and then switch sides.

4. Seated Shoulder Decompression


  • Plant your feet behind the receiver and let the knees connect into their back on either side of the spine.
  • Hinge at the hips and connect the hands to the shoulders.
  • Keep the arms straight and a healthy bend in the knees.
  • Lean forward to apply pressure while keeping length in the spine and neck.
  • Sink your hands slowly like an elevator or like water seeping into soil – take your time.
  • Exhale to lean in and inhale to gently lean back.
  • Move both hands at the same time and follow this pattern – edge of the shoulders, middle of the shoulders, closest to the neck.

5. Assisted Side Body Stretch


  • To setup – the giver will place the outer edge of the foot against the tailbone & ground down into the mat.
    • The body will be facing to the side at first, then rotate the torso and bring shoulders to face partner.
    • The receiver’s back will rest on the outside of the giver’s leg.
  • Receiver – interlace fingers and extend overhead.
  • Firmly grasp wrists and lean back to traction arms up and then back.
  • Inhale to lengthen and exhale to lean back.

*For the receiver, allow the shoulders to relax down and away from the ears to help create space.

6. Heart-Opener Pull

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  • Place feet in-between shoulder blades and on either side of the spine.
  • Keep a slight bend in the knees.
  • Take hold of the wrists – thumbs can face up or down here.
  • Support the body with the feet and gently lean back.
  • Inhale to lean forward and exhale to lean back.

*Be careful here to not pull too intensely on the arms. For the receiver, it can feel as though the arms are being detached so caution friends.

Just looking at these photos makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside….

Thai massage is a beautiful practice that I highly encourage you to research and seek out. Not only will your body thank me, but so will your mind and soul.

It’s that good friends.


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