Liz Watt graduated from the 2015 Practitioner Diploma course in Thai Yoga Massage (TYM). Here she shares her experiences of being a student at Central School of Massage, and advice for prospective massage students
I had done all sorts of jobs before – working in offices, and for the Forestry Commission for five years – but I always knew that I eventually wanted to run my own business, and was always interested in massage.
I initially signed up for an online anatomy and physiology qualification and a basic couch massage course. At that point I’d never heard of Thai Massage, but I went on one of Kathryn’s half-day workshops and was completely sold on it. TYM is a truly holistic approach to bodywork, with lots of different elements to it. It was also important to me to learn how to be a therapist – how to connect with clients and help them – not just how to perform a massage routine.
These kinds of things weren’t part of the course curriculum, but they came up through discussion. I learnt a lot this way. Kathryn’s breadth of massage experience also really helps. She is not just a Thai Massage therapist, she does sports massage as well. I think, as a result, we learned a lot about anatomy on the course, even though it wasn’t formally part of the curriculum. That helped my confidence a lot, as being able to perform some of the more demanding moves requires a sound understanding of how people’s bodies work.
The other students on the course were a real mix – some were existing therapists and others were just starting out, so they had the same concerns as me. It was nice to have that variety. There were lots of people asking questions, feedback and discussion, so you could learn from everybody on the course, not just the tutor. Because the course began with an intensive burst of time spent together, our group really bonded and I’ve stayed in touch with other people from the group. In fact, I went to Thailand with one of them, and I now go to French classes with one of the others!
Between the second week and the assessment I was given access to a mentor: Sioda, a student who had done the course before. That for me was invaluable, a really key part of getting to the end of the course. Not only was Sioda an excellent practitioner – obviously, she had been taught by Kathryn, so it showed me just how good someone could be – but she herself was also really good at sharing what she’d learned.
Kathryn’s really good at pushing just the right amount. I needed that challenge. With most courses I could have done, I don’t think I would have been pushed enough, and I don’t think I would have continued with it. In May, Kathryn invited some of her past students to the Holistic Health Show and we gave Thai Yoga Massages to raise money for charity. We were fully booked both days and received some really confidence-boosting feedback.
I am now a self-employed Thai Yoga Massage therapist, and am really enjoying the freedom of running my own business. Doing the Diploma course has empowered me and enabled me to realise that I can actually do it, and in the way that I want to, in a meaningful way, not just working in a hotel or a spa doing massages that don’t really mean anything to anybody.
I would recommend the Practitioner Diploma course to anybody. It’s definitely challenging enough for an existing therapist, but it’s also great for someone who hasn’t done any form of bodywork before, and wants to train to become a TYM therapist from scratch, and even for people who don’t want to run a business, but maybe just want to learn so that they can work on a partner or a friend.
Liz is based in Bascote, Warwickshire, and offers both mobile and studio-based treatments.
To book a Thai Yoga Massage treatment with Liz, please call 07710 428445 or contact her by email: firstname.lastname@example.org