In Thai, the most important thing about a massage is that the practitioner understands each body's limitations and needs. Your therapist will sit down with you before your session to discuss exactly what issues or discomforts you have, and/or any limitations.
Here, the practitioner is compressing the feet, both using them to "feel" the structure of the body, and also create a relaxing base with which to work
The therapist is using sustained compression on the shoulder girdle while gently stretching the arm, allowing the shoulder to open up and relax in its own time
Once an understanding is formed and the practitioner knows where and how to approach the body, he works up along the body with deep compression, acupressure and stretching to open the blocks and free up restrictions.
This process is extremely tailored to the individual, so a session on one person can be quite different from a session on another, depending on each person's needs. For a young, flexible yogi who is generally healthy, the session may manifest into deep, long stretches and more acrobatic poses. Yet another person who is older, more stiff and with possible joint limitations or injuries will require more compression, working the muscles to soften and loosen them and gentler stretches to open the joints safely and with little discomfort.
Every body is unique. Each has its own abilities, limitations and needs. Because of this, the approach of the Thai practitioner is to meet the body in its current state, and greet it. It is only through completely understanding the body that we can know how to approach it.
Each session begins with the feet, gently assessing and "reading" the body. Like a fisherman feeling the subtle tugs on his line can find the fish, so can the therapist, by feeling the ripples in the feet, can find the blocks.