Traditional Thai Massage

Traditional Thai Massage

Restore energy and balance with an active massage technique based on traditional healing systems

How can traditional Thai massage nourish you?

Traditional Thai massage (TTM) is a deep, full-body treatment that combines pressure techniques and stretching or rocking manoeuvres[1], often starting at the feet and progressing up to the head. It aims to enrich both the body and soul by strengthening the muscles, restoring energy, and relaxing the mind and body. 

TTM has been practised for over 2500 years[2] and was influenced by the healing systems found in China, India and Southeast Asia[3]. These origins make it one with deep spiritual roots, in addition to physical therapy. Some academics believe a key element of TTM is borne from the Buddhist healing principle of “giving from two hands and the heart[4]”, which involves the therapist focusing energies in their hands and sending loving-kindness or compassion from their heart to the other person.  

The focus of TTM is on creating harmony and balance[5] in the body, which is achieved by focusing the massage along the ten main ‘sen’ (or energy) lines through which the body’s life force flows. It is believed that the pressing and massaging along these sen lines removes energy blockages[6], eliminates pain and restores normal tissue mobility[7]

To ensure you receive the highest standard of treatment, choose a practitioner registered with a professional association such as Massage & Myotherapy Australia[8]. This national organisation is committed to upholding excellence in practice, accepting only massage therapists with formal qualifications and requiring its members to abide by its code of ethics.

Benefits of traditional Thai massage

Well-known benefits include lowered stress levels and increased blood circulation.[9] Research into the clinical effectiveness of TTM is continuing worldwide although it has been reported to assist with chronic back pain, which is a leading cause of disability worldwide[10]. Studies also suggest it can be as effective as joint mobilisation [11]in bringing about short-term reduction in lower back pain. 

A clinical study found that administering traditional Thai Massage to basketball players[12] during match breaks decreased anxiety, increased mental clarity and the movement and elasticity in athletes’ joints and muscles – leading to improved performance in the second half of the game.

The physical effects of TTM have also been shown to positively impact the walking ability of those with knee osteoarthritis; and increase upper limb muscle strength in patients with Parkinson’s disease[13]. There is also evidence to show it may provide psychological benefits for people experiencing depression[14] by causing a reduction in their heart rate and anxiety.

Traditional Thai massage may assist in relieving symptoms related to:

Anxiety Arthritis, rheumatism and osteoarthritis Back pain Circulation and cardiovascular conditions Depression Energy and vitality Foot, heel and ankle issues Joint issues Muscle spasm, tightness and cramps Osteoporosis and bone density Relaxation Sports performance Stress and tension Show all

What to expect from a traditional Thai massage session

Before a session begins, a qualified therapist should ask you questions about your health history and obtain your informed consent[15] to the treatment. You should also inform your therapist of any injuries or areas that cause you concern. To prepare for the session, you are likely to be asked to wear or change into comfortable clothing to aid movement during the massage.

A session generally lasts between an hour or two, and is often performed in a quiet and meditative environment[16] to allow you to fully relax. Unlike other forms of massage such as remedial massage, TTM is often performed on the floor, with you actively participating in the massage[17] to facilitate the stretching. Therapists may also use ‘the hands, elbows, knees and feet in unique and innovative ways’ during the massage to achieve the desired effect.

Traditional Thai massage differs from other massage techniques in that oil is not usually applied[18], except to heal certain conditions such as muscle trauma. You may also be offered the option to have heat applied, for example through sauna treatment or herbal compresses, as the application of heat is believed to aid blood flow[19] to any affected areas.

As with any exercise or wellness program, please consult your medical professional before commencing traditional Thai massage. If you have an injury, health issue, or any concerns at all, do advise your therapist who will be happy to address these and make sure the session is personalised to your individual requirements.


  1. Thai Massage |
  2. Traditional Thai Massage |
  3. Thai Massage |
  4. Educating the heart: Mindfulness and Compassion |
  5. Traditional Thai massage: unveiling the misconceptions and revealing the health benefits | Thai Healing Alliance
  6. The Birthplace of Traditional Thai Massage | 
  7. The effectiveness of traditional Thai massage versus massage with herbal compress among elderly patients with low back pain |
  8. Home |
  9. What are the health benefits of Thai massage? |
  10. The Global Burden of Low Back Pain |
  11. The Effectiveness of Thai Massage and Joint Mobilization | 
  12. The Acute Effect of Traditional Thai Massage on Recovery from Fatigue in Basketball Players |
  13. Gait Analysis of Patients with Knee Osteoarthritis Before and After Thai Massage Treatment |
  14. Immediate Effects of Traditional Thai Massage on Psychological Stress as Indicated by Salivary Alpha-Amylase Levels in Healthy Persons | PMC
  15. Home |
  16. Thai Massage |
  17. What are the health benefits of Thai massage? | MedicalNewsTodayWhat are the health benefits of Thai massage? | MedicalNewsToday
  18. Thai Massage |
  19. The effectiveness of traditional Thai massage versus massage with herbal compress among elderly patients with low back pain |


Frequently asked questions

Traditional Thai Massage, also known as Nuad Boran, is an ancient healing art that originated in Thailand. It involves a combination of acupressure, yoga-like stretches, and energy balancing techniques. Practitioners use their hands, thumbs, elbows, knees, and feet to apply pressure and facilitate a full-body stretch, promoting physical and mental well-being.

Unlike typical Western-style massages that involve oils and focus on muscle manipulation, Traditional Thai Massage is performed fully clothed on a mat on the floor. It combines rhythmic compressions with assisted yoga stretches, aiming to improve flexibility, release tension, and balance the body's energy flow. It provides a unique and holistic approach to wellness.

Traditional Thai Massage offers a range of benefits, including improved flexibility, reduced muscle tension, enhanced circulation, stress relief, and increased energy levels. It is believed to support the body's natural healing processes and promote a sense of deep relaxation and overall well-being.

While Traditional Thai Massage is generally safe for most people, it may not be suitable for individuals with certain medical conditions or specific physical limitations. It's advisable to inform the practitioner about any health concerns beforehand to ensure a tailored and safe session. Pregnant women and those with certain injuries or medical conditions should consult with a healthcare professional before receiving a Thai massage.

The duration of a Traditional Thai Massage session can vary, but a standard session often lasts between 60 to 90 minutes. Longer sessions may be available for a more comprehensive experience. The practitioner will work with the client to customize the session based on individual needs and preferences.

Traditional Thai Massage involves a combination of gentle pressure and assisted stretches, and it is generally not intended to be painful. However, some stretching techniques may induce mild discomfort, especially if the recipient has tight muscles or limited flexibility. Communication with the practitioner is crucial, and they can adjust the pressure and intensity based on the client's comfort level.
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