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Thai Bodywork Apprenticeship

Traditional Thai Apprenticeship

In-depth Traditional Thai Bodywork training apprenticeships in Therapeutic Thai Bodywork emphasize the element of healing. Apprenticeships focus on helping students think and treat at the therapeutic level rather than learning acrobatics and modern techniques which have little to do with traditional Thai bodywork (Nuad Borarn). Students have the opportunity to study one-to-one with an instructor in a Thai-style apprenticeship through watching, practicing, and refining their skills.


We believe that no teachers are better than time, practice and experience. As in any studies, a solid foundation is necessary in order to build upon and expand one's knowledge, understanding and skills. Apprenticeship expands the student's knowledge and provides a deeper understanding of Thai bodywork and its varied applications. Therapeutic Thai Bodywork training refines student skills and focuses on treatments for particular conditions and long-term therapy: It is expected that students at this level will demonstrate not only skill but also compassion and a willingness to continue learning despite the knowledge they have gained. Perhaps most importantly, students will gain a cultural respect for the healing modality they are studying by practicing it and representing it with recognition of the Thai medicine tradition which Nuad Borarn is an integral part of: It is not Thai Yoga, Thai Yoga Therapy, Thai Yoga Massage, Lazy Man's Yoga, or any number of other westernized marketing terms. The Thais are fiercely proud of their medical tradition, and we hope to honor and respect their ancient traditions rather than diluting them. 


Apprenticeship Focus:​​

  • ​Modifying and adapting for specific conditions, illnesses, age groups. Correctly and gently applying Thai skills rather overlaying westernized models of therapy.

  • Less is more. Understanding proper body mechanics and protecting the back, shoulders, hips, hands. Effective and safe use of thumbs, feet, elbows, knees, body weight.

  • Developing respectful touch and sensitivity in Thai bodywork rather than simply 'attacking' a problem. Students will learn to observe the body and person as a whole and work accordingly. A strong emphasis is placed on proper palpation techniques, sensitivity of touch, unlearning formulaic and standardized 'sequencing', as well as traditional and courteous ways to avoid improper body-contact. 

Nuad Borarn takes years to assimilate, refine, and learn to use safely. Traditionally, a student studied directly with a master-teacher for years (over a decade!) before being allowed to practice. The skills learned were not considered 'techniques' as we call them today—instead, they were part of the vast Thai medicine tradition which included: understanding and working according to Sen lines and 'Lom' blockages, an entirely different system from that of Chinese or Ayurvedic medicine; applying herbal compresses, tinctures, salves, or ingesting extractions and diffusions; addressing psychosocial issues and spiritual unrest; ensuring proper diet based on a specific understanding of the person as a whole.

To treat someone safely and gently, let alone using appropriate skills and knowledge, was not something acquired in a few days... It was a deep, heartfelt study, over years. Traditional Thai doctors, or mo'borarn, will still quickly correct or outright criticize a student after decades of study and practice if they feel that the work is ego-driven, inappropriate to the context and client indications, and based upon 'doing' rather than careful, thoughtful treatment.

Therapeutic Thai Bodywork training is a serious commitment, both mentally and physically. For your sake we ask that you be fit, well, and dedicated to your practice. Healing is an art. Learning a healing art is a path in sincerity, compassion, and dedication to one's practice. The body is a whole, the sum of its parts... and more. We work on a human being, not a body. Our teaching approach is mindful of the very important relationship between practitioner and client. As practitioners, teachers, and students, we must cultivate and practice patience, compassion and understanding. Perhaps the most necessary, yet difficult task is to master ourselves in order to be better students and practitioners. This said, students are expected to arrive on time, in good humor, and ready to learn.

Apprenticeship Requirements

  • Scheduling must be done several months in advance, after an interview and acceptance as an apprentice.

  • Applicant must be a licensed bodyworker and have a minimum of two years prior experience as a Thai practitioner.

  • Two participants must be present for training sessions: This can be a Thai bodywork apprentice (licensed bodyworker) and a current client, or two apprentices. Please note that training fees are assessed per apprentice in training.

  • Training sessions are three hours in length, meeting at least six times within a six-month period.

  • A prepaid fee of $1800 will be charged for six sessions. Further apprenticeship sessions are charged per apprentice / per standard Thai therapy session fees. If training outside of Bloomington, corresponding travel fees apply.  

A welcome, and note, to aspiring apprentices. Traditionally, a student of Thai medicine and Nuad Borarn studied directly with a master-teacher, or ajahn, for years before being permitted to practice. As pop-up workshops, weekend trainings and online short-form courses become the new, accepted norm for learning, we are withdrawing from providing our three-level Thai trainings in an effort to sustain authentic methods. Apprenticeships are offered at our discretion based upon a student's interest and commitment in maintaining the Thai tradition—rather than simply adding a new technique to their portfolio.

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