Thai massage has been around for over 2,500 years.
Thai massage has been around for over 2,500 years.

Traditional Thai massage differs from other types of massages in the following ways:

  1. The massage generally follows the imaginary designated lines ("sen") in the body.
  2. The therapist uses their hands (thumbs, elbows, forearms) and sometimes, even their feet to reduce tension in the muscles.
  3. The massage does not use oils or lotions.
  4. The therapist will move the person’s body into yoga-like positions (assisted yoga) in addition to pulling and rocking the body in various other ways. The combination of stretching, movement, and pressure distinguishes Thai massage from other types of massage.
  5. A typical session lasts 30 to 120 minutes.

Thai massage is done with clothes on. The massage center may provide a loose-fitting top and bottoms made of cotton or satin. The massage is performed on a mat or floor mattress and not on a massage bed, which is usually used in western massages. This is because the therapist performs multiple stretches and uses their body weight and pressure, hence the massage is done on the ground.

What are the benefits of a traditional Thai massage?

Thai massage has numerous health benefits. They are:

  • Relieves headaches: Thai massage can help reduce or eliminate the symptoms of migraine or tension headaches.
  • Reduces back pain: Thai massage can be effective in reducing back pain and improving flexibility.
  • Relieves joint stiffness and pain: Thai massage improves joint flexibility and function.
  • Increases flexibility and range of motion: Thai massage increases range of motion, flexibility, and improves athletic performance.
  • Reduces stress and anxiety: Thai massage can help reduce stress, anxiety, which is relaxing and energizing. It also helps with insomnia.

What are the risks of Thai massage?

It is important to let the therapist know if you experience any discomfort during the massage, if you have an injury or a particular part of the body, or if the body is sore or sensitive to pain. The presence of the following medical conditions requires a doctor’s approval before getting a Thai massage:


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Medically Reviewed on 3/10/2021
Keeratitanont K, Jensen MP, Chatchawan U, Auvichayapat P. The efficacy of traditional Thai massage for the treatment of chronic pain: A systematic review. Complement Ther Clin Pract. February 2015;21(1):26-32.