Diploma Training

About Thaimassage Vacanza

Thaimassage Vacanza was founded in 2011 by Patrick Tanner to offer Thaimassage courses for those unable to travel to Thailand. This led to the organization of the first Thaimassage Retreat in the Swiss Alps, which has been held regularly due to its positive feedback.

After completing his Shiatsu training in 2000, Patrick discovered Thaimassage during a trip to Thailand. Inspired by his first course in a Lahu village in northern Thailand with Asokanda, his passion for this dynamic form of therapy began to grow.

During the same trip, Patrick met Krishnataki from Greece, who had also studied Thaimassage with Asokananda. Since then, a deep friendship has developed between them. Krishnataki is enthusiastic about Thaimassage and has led over 100 Thaimassage workshops and retreats in Europe, Asia, and the USA since 2001. He is one of the most popular and experienced Thaimassage therapists and teachers in Europe.

To offer participants a recognized training program with a diploma, allowing them to practice Thaimassage professionally, Patrick decided to introduce a recognized 303-hour training course. This program started in 2022, and the first participants successfully completed it in 2023.

Why Thaimassage Vacanza

Vacanza represents taking a break or holiday from the hectic pace of everyday life. Our retreats usually take place amidst the stunning Swiss mountain landscape, surrounded by serene nature, far from noise and stress. This environment provides the perfect setting to engage in the process of stillness, grounding, heart connection, and enhancing perception – naturally, also to delve into the world of Thai massage.

Vacanza does not mean spending the day lounging on a deckchair. Instead, we are active and work extensively on ourselves and with others. We meditate, practice yoga, train our perception, cultivate presence and compassion, and learn Thaimassage techniques involving pressure points, mobilizations, and stretches. While this may sound demanding to some, it is necessary to increase energy and establish a connection with our center and heart – an essential prerequisite for profound treatment. In each retreat, participants experience growth – personally, spiritually, and therapeutically.

The supportive circle of all participants acts as a catalyst in this transformative process. Participants always leave our courses feeling light, joyful, satisfied, fulfilled, nourished, and at peace, with a singing heart. The invested effort pays off and resonates in daily life long after. This is evident in the multitude of returning participants we welcome each year. For many, it feels like coming home, where they can share and exchange with like-minded individuals. They enjoy the oasis of tranquility and contemplation to reconnect with the heart and grow spiritually.

Our Philosophy

Our goal is to enable participants to realize their growth potential and bring them closer to spiritual essence. Personal growth, therapeutic growth, and medical growth. To achieve this, we not only share the principles and philosophy of Thai massage, anatomical, physiological, pathological, and biomechanical knowledge of medicine, but also ancient practices, wisdom, and techniques from Buddhism, Taoism, Yoga, and Vedas.

Our task is to disseminate the teachings that were crucial during our training as bodyworkers and profoundly shaped us so that others can benefit from them, cultivate their own practice, and recognize the power of touch.

We utilize Buddhist principles of Thaimassage to cultivate compassion, mindfulness, and present, compassionate, deep-touch. In alignment with yoga philosophy, we aim to align body, mind, and soul to enable healing. Combining Thaimassage principles with the precision and knowledge of osteopathy allows us to address the correct tissue level where energy flow is obstructed to harmonize it.

The philosophy of Taoism serves as a guide to establish a connection with the natural environment, find its rhythm, and balance the energy of Yin/Yang. We navigate between static and dynamic, silence and movement, fire and water.

During our courses, we address the physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of life by integrating movement, meditation, and massage. We deepen presence, attention, and loving-kindness, which are the fundamental pillars of our approach to manual healing. We seek to connect with our hearts and embark on the journey of self-acceptance and self-love, which we then extend to others. Retreats create a community of practitioners who support, share, connect, practice compassion, and spiritually grow together.

Educational Objective

Thaimassage Vacanza aims to train professionally and socially competent Thai massage practitioners. These individuals should apply what they have learned mindfully and responsibly in their dealings with clients and themselves to achieve the greatest benefit for all involved. The overarching goal of the training is to obtain the Thaimassage Vacanza Diploma.

At the same time, Thaimassage Vacanza places great emphasis on promoting and further developing personal skills through bodywork, mindfulness, and self-care. The belief is that experiences from these aspects positively influence the quality of Thai massage treatments.

Overall, within the diploma training, Thaimassage Vacanza promotes health awareness and self-responsibility among students. The training prepares them in a sustainable manner for professional Thai massage work with future clients.

Professional Training as a Thai Massage Therapist with Diploma

The professional training and associated Thaimassage Vacanza Diploma form the basis for professionally, methodically, and socially competent practice of Thai massage. Our teaching places particular emphasis on promoting health awareness and self-responsibility among students within the training to prepare them in a sustainable manner for professional activity in Thai massage. The training is modular.

Prerequisites for participation in the training are a minimum age of 18 years and successful completion of secondary school or equivalent education. The professional training forms the basis for obtaining the Thaimassage Vacanza Diploma and aligns with the criteria of the Thai Ministry of Health, Thai Ministry of Education, as well as the Swiss health insurance registration bodies ASCA and EMR. Additionally, we continuously exchange expertise with our partner schools Sunshine School/Chiang Mai/Thailand, Sunshine Network Center/Lahu Village/Thailand, and Sunshine House/Evia/Greece.

The Thaimassage training consists of 6 modules, as well as 4 units of self-experience, documented massages, practice workshops, and exam preparation, totaling 706 learning hours, including 303 in-person hours.

Some modules are also taught by our teachers abroad. These can be completed in addition to Switzerland, internationally, and are recognized if they comply with the hours and training guidelines of Thaimassage Vacanza.

Each training day comprises a theoretical and practical part. Training days generally last 8 hours (excluding meditation and yoga practice) and are structured as follows:

45 minutes: Meditation (Extra-Curriculum)
1.5 hours: Yoga practice, Chi-Gong practice (Extra-Curriculum)1.5 hours: Breakfast break
15 minutes: Opening of the day with prayer/chanting/questions
45 minutes: Theory lesson
30 minutes: Perception training/movement exercises
45 minutes: Practical lesson – Demonstration and questions
2 hours: Practical lesson – Massage exchange
1.5 hours: Lunch break
45 minutes: Theory lesson
45 minutes: Practical lesson – Demonstration and questions
2 hours: Practical lesson – Massage exchange
15 minutes: Day closing prayer/chanting/questions
 

A participation certificate is issued after each module. Confirmation of successful completion of the entire training is issued upon completion and attending at least 90% of the training time and passing the examination. A maximum of one absence day is allowed per module.

Module 1: Thai Massage Basic Course / Beginners Retreat

Conduct: 1-2 times annually in Switzerland and 2-3 times annually in Greece at the Sunshine House
Duration: 9 days (residential)
Hours: 9 x 8h = 72h (in-person hours)
Location: Schönried, BE
Participants: maximum 32

Content:

  • History, origin, philosophy, and understanding of Thaimassage
  • Theoretical foundation and principles of Thaimassage
  • Most influential old masters of the Thaimassage lineage of our school
  • Effects of Thaimassage
  • Indications and contraindications of Thaimassage
  • Techniques for inner alignment before and during treatment. Meditative movement practices, finding stillness for full attention in touch.
  • Morning chants & prayer, healing prayers & mantras
  • Body mechanics – Use of the body, correct positioning, working from the hara (center) in conjunction with gravity,
  • Leveraging for proper stretches during massage
  • Self-care – Development of a personal self-care plan
  • Preparation, hygiene & cleanliness of the workspace, and personal care/hygiene
  • Theory on energy lines (Sen lines), acupressure points, and chakras. Locating the major energy lines and acupuncture points in vivo
  • Basic Thaimassage techniques – Pressure techniques with thumbs and palms, and simple stretching techniques to stimulate Sen lines and acupressure points
  • The quality of healing touch, basics of touch, exploring touch quality.
  • Treatment sequences for supine, side-lying, prone, and seated positions.
  • Mobilization, stretches, pressure points, line work: feet, legs, pelvis, abdomen, chest, shoulders, arms, hands, back, buttocks, neck, head, face
  • To learn massage techniques, participants alternate massaging each other. Feeling the quality of giving and receiving.
  • Theory and practice of constructive feedback
  • Theory of the four Brahmaviharas: Metta (loving-kindness), Karuna (compassion), Mudita (sympathetic joy), Upekkha (equanimity)
  • Integration of the four Brahmaviharas into Thai massage practice
  • Introduction to Vipassana meditation
  • Submission and explanation of Sunshine Network & Thaimassage Vacanza Ethical Code
  • Submission and explanation of protocol templates for practice treatments with supervision sequence
  • Therapeutic process, imparting basic information on topics
  • Client dialogue, anamnesis, inspection, palpation, progress signs, treatment goals, treatment report

Learning Objectives:

Upon completion of the basic course, participants will be able to:

  • Independently perform a 2-hour Thaimassage in supine, prone, side-lying, seated positions
  • Locate and treat the major energy lines
  • Make necessary preparations for Thaimassage
  • Explain the effects of Thaimassage, as well as list the major indications and contraindications
  • Name the history of Thaimassage and the major old masters
  • Integrate self-care into their daily lives
  • Apply the prayer and chant for attunement before treatment
  • Apply the technique of Vipassana meditation correctly and integrate it into daily life
  • Name the four Brahmaviharas and integrate them into daily life and treatment
  • Utilize body mechanics and correct positioning
  • Apply healing touch at the appropriate tissue depth
  • Experience Thaimassage both as a practitioner and on their own body

After the basic course, participants will be familiar with:

  • The Thaimassage Vacanza Ethical Code
  • Basic information on client dialogue, anamnesis, inspection, palpation, function test, progress signs, and treatment goals.

Module 2: Dynamic Thai Massage

Conduct: Once annually in Switzerland, once annually in Greece at the Sunshine House
Duration: 5 days
Hours: 5 x 8h = 40h (in-person hours)
Location: Schönried, BE + Sunshine House, Evia, Greece
Participants: 24 – maximum 32

Content:

  • Benefits of dynamic Thaimassage
  • Indications and contraindications of dynamic Thaimassage
  • Difference between static and dynamic Thaimassage
  • Explanation of the mechanism of action of dynamic Thaimassage
  • Physiology of fascia and muscles. Theoretical approach to tissue fluids
  • Biomechanics of joints
  • Anatomy and physiology of the nervous system, somatic and autonomic nervous systems
  • Learning various dynamic techniques: rocking, rhythm, harmonious techniques
  • Quality of healing touch, deepening the basics of touch, exploring touch quality. Sensing and mobilizing tissue tensions
  • Dynamic application for global and local mobilization
  • Transition techniques from static to dynamic treatment
  • Treatment sequences with dynamic techniques in supine, prone, side-lying, seated positions for pelvis, lumbar/thoracic/cervical spine, extremities
  • Focus on spinal mobility, palpation training, and mobility tests of vertebral joints.
  • Eastern and Western perspectives on the spine
  • Recoil & impulse techniques (structural)
  • Sensing reciprocal tension and working with it

Learning Objectives:

Participants will be able to:

  • Name the mechanism of action of dynamic Thaimassage
  • Independently perform a 2-hour dynamic Thaimassage in supine, prone, side-lying, seated positions
  • Sense tissue tensions and treat them at the appropriate depth of tension
  • Apply global or specific dynamic techniques
  • Palpate, test, and mobilize the individual vertebrae of the lumbar, thoracic, and cervical spine
  • Apply connections and harmonious transitions from static to dynamic Thaimassage
  • Sense reciprocal tension and work with it.

Participants will be familiar with:

  • The difference between static and dynamic Thaimassage
  • The indications and contraindications of dynamic Thaimassage
  • The physiology of fascia and muscles
  • The anatomy of the central and peripheral nervous systems
  • The nervous system and how to regulate it
  • Common spinal complaints

Participants will have experienced and undergone Thaimassage both as practitioners and on their own bodies.

 

Module 3: Thai Massage Stretching – Advanced Level

Conduct: Once annually in Switzerland
Duration: 5 days
Hours: 5 x 8h = 40h (in-person hours)
Location: Schönried, BE
Participants: 24 – maximum 32

Content:

  • Indications and contraindications of stretching techniques
  • Difference between static and dynamic stretching techniques
  • Explanation of the mechanism of stretching in Thaimassage
  • Physiology of fascia and muscles
  • Biomechanics of joints
  • Focus on major joints: hip/shoulder
  • Stretching techniques with global and specific effects
  • Practice and deepening of touch qualities
  • Treatment sequences of stretching techniques in supine, prone, side-lying, seated positions
  • Improvement of lower limb mobility: foot, knee, hip joint
  • Improvement of upper limb mobility: hand, elbow, shoulder joint
  • Improvement of spinal mobility: lumbar, thoracic, cervical spine
  • Focus on following muscles: iliopsoas, quadratus lumborum, quadriceps femoris, hamstrings, erector spinae, trapezius, scalenes, levator scapulae
  • Musculoskeletal complaints.
  • Therapeutic realm: Training in presence and compassion

Learning Objectives:

Participants will be able to:

  • Independently apply advanced stretching techniques
  • Integrate the learned stretching techniques with fluid transitions into previously learned sequences
  • Utilize correct positioning, application of body mechanics, and leverage to enable gentle and energy-efficient stretching
  • Perform joint mobilizations and stretches correctly and use them sensibly

Participants will be familiar with:

  • Absolute and relative contraindications, precautions, and limitations of treatment.
  • Theory of stretching and anatomy of fascia
  • Major muscles, their functions, and how to stretch them correctly
  • Major joints, their axes of movement, and how to mobilize them correctly
  • Common complaints of the musculoskeletal system and respond appropriately

Participants will have experienced and undergone Thaimassage both as practitioners and on their own bodies.

Module 4: Thai Energy Lines – Advanced Level

Conduct: Once annually in Switzerland
Duration: 5 days Hours: 5 x 8h = 40h (in-person hours)
Location: Schönried, BE
Participants: 24 – maximum 32

Content:

  • Theory of Thai energy lines (Sen lines)
  • The 5 Koshas – The 5 layers of our energy body
  • The 7 Chakras – the 7 energy centers of our body
  • Theoretical and practical learning of the pathways of the main Sen lines
  • Drawing the Sen lines on the body
  • Effect of the Sen lines on the emotional, mental, and structural body
  • Discussion of the major Sen lines:
    • Sen Sumana
    • Sen Ittha & Sen Pingkala
    • Sen Kalathari
    • Sen Sahatsarangis & Sen Thawari
    • Sen Lawusang & Sen Ulangka
    • Sen Nanthakrawat & Sen Khithana
  • Treatment sequences of different Sen lines in supine, prone, side-lying positions
  • Learning harmonious transitions to seamlessly integrate learned techniques into existing Thaimassage routine.
  • Applying rhythmic oscillations in specific areas
  • Perception training, developing and deepening gentle touch qualities to sense stagnant energy blockages
  • Exercises to refine tissue pressure
  • Building tactile sensitivity to sense areas of tension
  • Refining and optimizing independent treatment approaches
  • Therapeutic realm: Training to deepen presence and compassion
  • Specific anamnesis to assign complaints to Sen lines
  • Client conversation post-treatment to explain the interaction between energy and complaints. We help identify perceived sensations and assign them appropriate meanings. Any uncertainties are clarified during this conversation.

Learning Objectives:

Participants will be able to:

  • Assign complaints to the corresponding Sen lines
  • Locate and treat the Sen lines on the body
  • Perceive, sense, and treat stagnant energy blockages and imbalances
  • Apply presence and compassion deeply during treatment
  • Explain to the client the interplay of energy and complaints

Participants will be familiar with:

  • The effect of the major Sen lines on the body
  • The pathways of the Sen lines on the body and how to smoothly treat them in different positioning and integrate them into existing routines

Participants will have experienced and undergone Thaimassage both as practitioners and on their own bodies.

 

Module 5 – Therapeutic Applications in Thai Massage

Conduct: Once annually in Switzerland
Duration: 5 days (in 2024, 2 sessions of 2.5 days each)
Hours: 5 x 8h = 40h (in-person hours)
Location: Schönried & Basel Participants: maximum 32

Content:

  • Specific sequence of Thaimassage treatment for pain
  • Localization of acupressure points for specific complaints
  • Therapeutic applications of acupressure points for specific complaints
  • Physiology of pain
  • Physiology of acupressure points
  • Examination of common complaints
  • Treatment of back pain, headaches, neck pain, shoulder pain, knee pain, digestive issues, menstrual complaints, respiratory issues, cardiovascular complaints
  • Autonomic and central nervous system
  • Recognizing and appropriately responding to autonomic nervous system overreactions
  • Application of Thai oils and balms
  • Familiarity with the production and therapeutic application of herbal compresses
  • Complaints assessment

Learning Objectives:

Participants will be able to:

  • Recognize and appropriately respond to overreactions of the autonomic nervous system
  • Treat complaint areas with herbal compresses and Thai balms
  • Produce and correctly apply herbal compresses
  • Recognize and treat specific complaints using acupressure therapy
  • Explain and elucidate complaint conditions to the client, as well as provide practical tips and instructions for home exercises to support recovery

Participants will be familiar with:

  • Indications and contraindications for treating complaints
  • Acupressure points for specific complaints, and how to locate and treat them appropriately on the body
  • The physiology of pain and how to address it
  • The basic principles of the autonomic and central nervous systems

Participants will have experienced and undergone Thaimassage both as practitioners and on their own bodies.

Module 6 – Hands-Free Thai Massage with Foot/Knee/Elbow

Conduct: Once annually in Switzerland
Duration: 5 days (in 2024, 2 sessions of 2.5 days each)
Hours: 5 x 8h = 40h (in-person hours)
Location: Schönried Participants: maximum 32

Content:

  • Deepening understanding of body mechanics and correct positioning to work with foot/knee/elbow
  • Balance training for one-legged stance while working with one foot
  • Foot techniques while standing on one leg
  • Indications/Contraindications for working with foot/knee/elbow & vascular circulatory system
  • Anatomy & biomechanics of foot/leg/knee/hip/hand/arm/elbow/shoulder
  • Static and dynamic techniques with foot/knee/elbow
  • Treatment sequences with foot/knee/elbow in supine/prone/lateral/sitting positions
  • Static techniques for the vascular circulatory system
  • Discussion of preparation and procedure for the final examination

Learning Objectives:

Participants will be able to:

  • Perform an entire Thaimassage without using their hands
  • Execute learned treatment sequences using foot/knee/elbow
  • Apply proper body mechanics
  • Maintain balance during treatment sequences in one-legged stance
  • Integrate learned techniques with foot/knee/elbow into the standard routine
  • Apply techniques for the vascular system

Participants will be familiar with:

  • Indications and contraindications for treatment with foot/knee/elbow and treatment of the vascular circulatory system
  • Anatomy and biomechanics of the upper and lower extremities
  • Requirements and procedure for the final examination

Participants will have experienced and undergone Thaimassage both as practitioners and on their own bodies.

Diploma Unit 1: Practice Treatments with Protocol & Supervision

Conduct: Total of 30 massages + 3 supervision sessions
Duration: For the first 25 massages: 2 hours per massage. Begins after Basic Module 1
For the last 10 massages: 75-90 minutes of therapeutic treatment focusing on the presenting complaint Submission upon registration for the final examination Hours: 90 hours (learning hours)
Location: Own facility Scope: 30 Thaimassage sessions, each lasting 2 hours (including documentation)
After every 10 protocols, students undergo supervision to discuss the protocols, clarify questions, receive feedback, make adjustments to existing therapy and treatment routines, improve the therapeutic process, efficiency, and focus of treatment.

Content:

  • Participants complete a total of 30 Thai massage treatments after the Basic Course until the examination.
  • Deepening of the therapeutic process: Understanding the treatment needs according to method-specific criteria, goal setting, action planning, treatment implementation, pre- and post-treatment discussions.
  • The treatments are documented according to
  • the guidelines of Thaimassage Vacanza. Thaimassage Vacanza supports aspiring practitioners in this process.
    After every 10 protocols, there is a supervision session to answer questions and make improvements to existing therapy.

Learning Objectives:

  • In the context of guided self-study, aspiring Thai massage practitioners become familiar with the following aspects of the therapeutic process. Constructive exchange with supervisor in the process of training to become a professional therapist
  • Understanding the treatment needs according to method-specific criteria Providing information to clients about Thai massage, associated costs, payment methods, and insurance coverage
  • Goal setting
  • Action planning
  • Treatment implementation
  • Pre- and post-treatment discussions

Diploma Unit 2: Self-Experience

Duration: 4 treatments of 2-3 hours each
Hours: 10 hours (learning hours)
Location: Practice of Thaimassage therapist

Content:

  • Experience Thai massage
  • Aspiring Thaimassage practitioners receive massages from already certified Thaimassage therapists at least 4 times during the course.
  • The massages must occur during the training.
  • It is recommended to receive massages at the beginning, middle, and end of the training.
  • Each massage must be reflected upon and documented in writing.

Learning Objectives:

  • These massages with self-reflection serve as self-experience. They promote reflection on the entire process (pre-treatment discussion, anamnesis, treatment, post-treatment discussion) and contribute to quality control of one’s own work.

Diploma Unit 3: Advanced Workshops

Conduct: There are 6 advanced workshops held per year – one workshop for each module.
3 are mandatory. These can be chosen freely.
Duration: 3 half days of 5 hours each = 15 hours (presence hours)
Location: Basel/Bern/Zurich/Lausanne/Geneva/Lucerne
Participants: maximum 10

Content:

  • Review and deepening of the learning material
  • Reinforcement of massage techniques and therapies taught
  • Question and answer sessions
  • Guided practice with support from course instructors

Learning Objectives:

Participants will:

  • Demonstrate proficiency in performing massage techniques
  • Reflect on their practice and build confidence in treatment execution

Diploma Unit 4: Exam Preparation and Diploma Examination

Conduct: Once annually
Duration: 2 days
Hours: 16 hours (in-person)
Location: Basel
Participants: Maximum of 24

Content:

  • Preparation day: Massaging, asking and answering questions
  • Oral examination
  • Practical examination
  • Written examination
  • Diploma ceremony with diploma presentation

Learning Objectives:

  • Review and assessment of existing knowledge

Medical Basics Training

If certification with the medical registers ASCA and EMR is sought, participants of the diploma course must additionally complete an external 150-hour Medical Basics Training and pass an examination.

The basic training can be completed at many massage and naturopathy schools.

The Thaimassage diploma, together with the Medical Basics diploma, can now be submitted to EMR and ASCA for recognition by health insurance companies.

Currently, the following health insurance companies cover Thaimassage treatments.