Traditional Thai Massage

Articles, Attraction, Entertainment February 4, 2019

Traditional Thai Massage

Getting a real Thai massage is not for the faint hearted and is far removed from the back street venues offering erotic soapy or oily massages. Find out what to expect and what it costs in this article on traditional Thai massage.

I had heard of a traditional Thai massage a long time before I actually came to live in Thailand. Of course if you mentioned the topic in the UK amongst friends you usually got a few knowing looks that perhaps suggested that it was something that was found in the back streets of Bangkok and had little to do with a traditional way of healing that is part of the Thai culture.

Mind you even today there are plenty of places in Thailand that you can visit that perhaps give some credence to the knowing looks you might get back home. Take a trip down some of the small soi’s off Sukhumvit in Bangkok and you will see what I mean. You don’t have to look to hard to find adverts that include words like “soapy massage” or “Thai oil massage,” outside dimly lit establishments that have little or no connection with a true traditional massage.

What is a Traditional Thai Massage?

Well in the Thai language, traditional massage, it is called, นวดแผนโบราณ, which would sound like “nuat phaen boran,” in English. In practice traditional massage in Thailand employs a technique that is definitely not erotic since it is based on pressure and stretching. It also doesn’t involve soap or oil under normal circumstances and it certainly isn’t delivered by some scantily clad Thai lady.

No a true Thai massage is based on Ayurvedic practice and Yoga imported from India and complimented by Chinese medicine many years ago. Thai massage, can be both therapeutic and relaxing.

What’s it Like Having a Thai Massage?

Well each Thai masseur or masseuse will have a slightly different approach to a massage session, however you can expect them to lean into your body applying firm rhythmic pressure using hands and often arms locked at the elbow. Legs and feet are also used in several positions during massage, but no oils are applied.

A normal traditional Thai massage lasts around two hours and costs around 250/300 Baht. It can be quite intense, including pulling fingers and toes and cracking the knuckles. Also don’t be surprised if your masseur or masseuse actually walks on your back or bends you into different positions during the session that usually starts at the feet and finishes at the head.

So while Thai traditional message is a global brand for Thailand it is also not for the faint hearted and people with pre-existing complaints like arthritis should certainly explain this to the masseur or masseuse before a session or perhaps opt for something slightly more gentle like a Swedish massage.

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