Thai massage lumbar stretchThai massage lumbar stretch

What is Thai Massage?

Thai massage is an ancient massage style that combines stretching and acupressure along pressure points and sen lines. Recipients wear loose-fitting clothing and the massage takes place on a cushioned floor mat. Thai massage is typically a full body massage that can last up to two hours.

Book an Appointment

Thai massage can be found just about anywhere in Thailand for a very low price, both in spas and in stalls on the streets. Numerous schools also exist such as Watpo Thai Traditional Massage School in Bangkok, and the Thai Massage School of Thailand and the Old Medicine Hospital in Chiang Mai.
Street massage in Chiang Mai
A Thai massage is typically a full body massage that can last up to two hours. During a treatment, therapists use their hands, elbows, arms, knees and feet to massage and stretch the clients. Techniques include pulling fingers and toes, moving limbs through their full range of motion, applying deep pressure called acupressure along energy lines call sen lines and moving the recipient's body into many different yoga-like positions. The client plays a passive role during the treatment, and so Thai massage is sometimes called lazy man’s yoga or assisted yoga.
Professional Thai massage practitioners are regulated by the Ministry of Education in Thailand, though there is a limited oversight in other countries. In Canada, this governance is provided by the Natural Health Practioners of Canada (NHPC); the largest holistic health association in Canada.

Types of Thai Massage

Thai massage has many names including traditional Thai massage, Royal Thai massage, Thai stretching massage, and Thai yoga massage. Even in Thailand, there are many variations. The Thai word for traditional Thai massage is nuad boran. But Thai massage can also be called nuat phaen thai (Thai-style massage), nuat phaen boran (Ancient-style massage) or nuat boran (traditional Thai medical massage).
The massage styles vary from north to south in Thailand. Massage in southern Thailand is sometimes called Bangkok Thai massage, or southern style. Massage in northern Thailand is sometimes called Lanna style Thai massage, or northern style.
Common Thai massage

Northern Styles

Royal Thai Massage

Royal Thai massage uses techniques that retain a respectful distance between the therapist and the client for massaging the Thai royal family and aristocracy.

Learn more

Royal Thai Massage

Herbal Ball Massage

Thai Herbal Ball massage uses a herbal pouch containing a selection of herbs that is steamed and then applied to the body to invigorate the effect on the body.

Learn more

Herbal Ball Massag

Tok Sen Massage

Thai Tok Sen massage is a type of massage traditional to Northern Thailand that utilizes a wooden mallet and wedge made from the wood of a tamarind tree.

Learn more

Tok Sen Massage

Origin of Thai Massage

Thai Massage is thought to have been developed by Buddhist monks in Thailand 2,500 years ago. But Thai massage is really a combination of influences from Indian, Chinese, Southeast Asian cultural spheres, and traditions of medicine.
For centuries, Thai Massage techniques families passed down their knowledge from generation to generation. Formal manuscripts were written in ancient Pali by the Buddhist monks, but in 1767, many of the manuscripts were destroyed by the Burmese invaders.
In 1832, King Rama III commanded his people to use the epigraphs at Wat Pho to reclaim the last collect the remaining fragments of the original texts carved into stone as descriptive epigraphs at the Pra Chetupon Temple in Bangkok (popularly known as Wat Pho).
The style of Thai massage practiced today is the product of a 19th-century synthesis of various healing traditions from all over Thailand. But there is considerable variation from region to region across Thailand, and no single routine or theoretical framework that is universally accepted among healers.

Thai Massage in Canada

Thai massage has been practiced in Canada since the 1990s when Westerners began practicing it. Thai massage is more commonly found than it used to be at Canadian spas, but you can't find it everywhere for two reasons. First, the spa needs a room with a large, padded mat in order to offer Thai massage. It's easiest if the room is always set up for Thai massage, and yet it is more of a specialty request. It just makes more economic sense to have the room set up with a table for a Swedish massage.
Some places do offer "table Thai" a modified form of Thai massage that can be performed on a regular massage table.
The second reason it is not that commonly found is that it requires special training. Many Canadian massage therapists are serious students who have traveled to Asia for intensive programs, but others might have to take a weekend workshop. You might want to inquire about their training before you sign up. If you live in a major city, you might be able to get a high quality, no-frills Thai massage for a reasonable price.