You will come across Thai Massage under a variety of different names -  Nuad Boran, Thai yoga massage, Thai bodywork, Thai massage and yoga therapy are all fairly interchangeable.

What is Thai Massage good for?

Thai massage is essentially like paying someone to do your yoga for you, its dynamic stretches and massage work your body in a steady, meditative pace. Not only is it great for maintaining general good health, it also helps with the following:
  • Muscle or joint stiffness
  • Headaches
  • Back pain
  • Digestion issues
  • Painful menstruation
  • Low energy conditions
  • Toxicity and sluggishness
  • Anything stress related
Lucinda Monks, Thai massage therapist says: “It’s a whole person treatment. The physical work introduces movement and links the body together, but it also works on the emotional level. It's like a reset for mind, body and spirit”.

What happens in a Thai Massage Session?

Your treatment will be given either on a futon or seated on a chair while you are fully clothed. Once you have given your medical history and explained what you want from your session, the fun can begin. Whether your therapist is trained here or in Thailand, the treatment includes passive stretches, movements like yoga asanas, massage techniques and pressures along the meridians using thumbs, arms, feet and body weight. The work will start on your back working from the feet up towards your head, and if you've booked a full session, the treatment will include the sides and front of your body too. Thai massage is practised differently over here than it is in Bangkok, where it can often be too vigorous for our delicate Western sensibilities. Although, the ‘Royal’ style taught at Wat Pho in Bangkok isn't exactly a relaxing treat, you will undoubtedly feel fantastic the next day! As practised in the west, this approach is balanced by the 'Chang Mai' style from the north of Thailand, which has a more relaxed fluid approach that is more suited to our expectations of complementary therapy here. All in all, Thai Massage is designed to suit your individual constitution and get the results you want. While being an intense massage it should also feel good to receive.

What else is included in a Thai massage?

There are other Thai treatments that may be included in your massage or offered as stand-alone sessions: Thai foot massage – Thai-style reflexology that will allow you to drift off and relax. Great for sore feet and like reflexology, affects the whole body. Thai compress massage - Thai massage can also include work directly on the skin, with steamed herbs tied in a muslin bag. The herbs are carefully chosen to have a therapeutic affect on the body. As the pressure is considerably lighter, this is more suitable for the frail and elderly. Thai abdominal massage – Thai massage for digestive and reproductive health.


Though Thai massage is said to have been created 2,500 years ago by the Buddha’s physician Shivago Komarpaj, what you experience today is likely to be influenced by a blend of Indian, Chinese and South East Asian healing practices. It is part of Thai traditional medicine which includes herbs, bodywork and spiritual healing, the principals are similar to those of Chinese medicine in that the focus is to stimulate the free flow of energy through the meridians known as sen.

Who should go?

If you like yoga or are an athlete or just love to move your body, this will be a good treatment for you. The massage is like a dance between therapist and client where the stretches can really get your energy moving.

Who should stay away?

Although this is a clothed treatment, the use of the therapist’s body weight in the stretches and movement means that it can also be surprisingly intimate. If you are not comfortable with being physically close, you won’t be able to surrender into the stretches. A good alternative might be to have a Thai foot massage where you are not bothered by your therapist moving around you. It is not a treatment if you have any of the following:
  • Serious heart condition or high blood pressure
  • Osteoporosis
  • Spinal fusion
  • Artificial joints
  • Hemophilia phlebitis
  • Illness or surgery
However there are therapists who specialise in particular areas such as pregnancy so it’s worth asking for a referral.

Where to find a therapist?

There is no governing body for Thai massage and therapists may have trained here or on Thailand. When choosing any therapist be sure to check that you feel comfortable with them and that they have insurance and are members of a massage association or complementary health governing body. Check out Embody  or Natural Therapy Pages.