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Discovering the Art of Thai Massage: History, Benefits, and Top Recommendations in Thailand

what is thai massage

Thai massage is one of the most popular activities in Thailand, and today we’re going to explore further this treatment.

Wherever you are visiting in Thailand, you will find a Thai massage parlor on almost every street. It’s an integral part of Thai culture and a testament to the country’s commitment to wellness and relaxation.

As you traverse the bustling streets of Bangkok, stroll along the pristine beaches of Phuket, or explore the cultural richness of Chiang Mai, you’ll encounter countless opportunities to experience the rejuvenating effects of Thai massage.

It’s not merely a tourist attraction but a deeply ingrained tradition that locals and visitors alike indulge in.

Massage in Thailand : a therapeutic practice

Thai massage isn’t just about relaxation; it’s a therapeutic practice with a rich history that spans millennia. It combines the ancient knowledge of Ayurveda and yoga with the traditional healing methods of Thailand.

Passed down through generations, this art of healing has evolved into the practice we know today, focusing on restoring balance, reducing pain, and promoting overall well-being.

Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or planning your first trip to the Land of Smiles, understanding Thai massage is essential for fully immersing yourself in this captivating culture and rejuvenating your body and spirit.

What is Thai Massage?

You may be wondering what the difference is between a regular massage and a traditional Thai massage. Both are given by a professional massage therapist.

Founded over 2500 years ago, Thai massage is a traditional healing system. It combines the practices of acupressure, and assisted yoga stretches and incorporates Indian Ayurvedic principles. Today, there are over 10,000 massage and spa studios in Thailand!

Traditional thai massage

During a Thai massage, you should wear loose and comfy clothing, and you will lie on a massage bed or mat. It’s quite normal in Thai massage parlors to be surrounded by other people with no privacy.

You will be placed in a variety of yoga-style positions during the massage, with the masseuse using deep and rhythmic pressure.

You may find your first experience to be quite uncomfortable, but the benefits are well worth it!

Thai Massage Benefits

There are many different benefits to Thai massage, making it worth you receiving this treatment on your trip.


One of the most significant health benefits is reduced stress, as the treatment involves moving the body to relieve tension.

This can boost energy, stimulate your circulation and relieve headaches. Due to the stretching and physical nature of the massage, it can also improve your range of motion.

Great for body and mind

Moreover, Thai massage has been reported to improve posture, increase body awareness, and promote a deep sense of relaxation.

These holistic benefits make it a popular choice for travelers looking to unwind, rejuvenate, and experience the myriad advantages of this ancient healing art during their journey.

Types of Thai Massage

thai oil massage thailand

Traditional Thai massage: the therapeutic massage

The original Thai massage involves your whole body and helps to create harmony and balance. You will remain in your clothing throughout the treatment. Another alternative if you are looking for something less invasive is a Thai foot massage.

Thai foot massage

Foot massages use reflexology techniques and works to unlock energy, targeting your feet and legs. Treatments usually involve a foot wash and exfoliation and then a Thai oil massage.

Thai Oil Massage

Oil massages are a popular and luxurious variation of traditional Thai massage. During this treatment, aromatic oils are applied to the body, and the therapist uses gentle, flowing strokes combined with stretching techniques to relax the muscles and promote overall relaxation.

This soothing massage not only relieves tension and stress but also leaves the skin feeling nourished and rejuvenated, making it a delightful and pampering experience for those seeking both physical and mental wellness.

Oil massage - stock image

Royal massage

Thai Royal Massage is a prestigious and exclusive form of Thai massage that has been historically reserved for Thai royalty. This highly specialized massage combines traditional Thai techniques with elements of energy work, providing a regal and deeply relaxing experience fit for kings and queens.

Thai massage prices

Thai massage cost can differ based on where you decide to go, ranging from fancy hotel spas with private rooms to budget-friendly street-side massage shops.

However, here’s a rough estimate of “standard prices”for a 60-minute-massage:

  • Thai massage: 250/350 bahts
  • Oil massage: 300/450 bahts
  • Foot massage: 200/350 bahts
  • Royal massage: 500/700 bahts

Best Thai Massage in Bangkok

One more Thai massage Bangkok
One More Thai Massage Bangkok. Source:

When it comes to indulging in the best Thai massage experiences in Bangkok, the options are abundant, catering to various preferences and budgets.

Here are four top locations in the vibrant Thai capital where you can savor some of the finest traditional massages:

Wat Pho Thai Traditional Massage School

Located within the historic Wat Pho temple complex, this renowned school offers authentic Thai massages in a serene and culturally rich environment.

The therapists here are exceptionally skilled and well-trained in the art of Thai massage.

After your massage, you can explore the magnificent temple grounds and its iconic Reclining Buddha statue.

 Wat Pho temple, credit photo to Melissa K - tripadvisor

Health Land Spa & Massage

With multiple branches throughout Bangkok, Health Land is a popular choice for both locals and tourists.

They offer a wide range of massage and spa services, including Thai traditional massage, in a clean and comfortable setting.

The skilled therapists and reasonable prices make it a favorite among visitors looking for an excellent massage experience.

Breeze Spa at Amari Watergate Bangkok

If you’re seeking a luxurious spa experience, the Breeze Spa at Amari Watergate Bangkok is a fantastic choice.

This upscale spa offers a blend of traditional Thai and contemporary massage techniques in a modern and tranquil setting.

The skilled therapists, beautiful decor, and an array of treatments make it a top-notch destination for relaxation.

Best Thai Massage places in Chiang Mai

Nimman House Thai massage Chiang Mai
Nimman House Chiang Mai. Source:

Heading further north, Chiang Mai also has many great quality massage studios. This is the perfect way to rejuvenate after a day hiking or enjoying the adventurous activities here!

Nimman House:

Ten minutes away from Maya shopping center, Nimman House has a wide range of treatments for the face and body. They use mattresses on the floor for treatments, and an hour-long Thai Massage costs 250 baht.

Nimman house, credit photo to Mindt, tripadvisor

Oasis Spa

With three branches across Chiang Mai, Oasis Spa is open from 10 am – 10 pm every day. They are a more pricey option, but there is a beautiful ambiance to the spa. A Thai massage will set you back at 1,000 baht.

Oasis spa in Chiang Mai, photo from management

The Chiang Mai Women’s Correctional Institution Massage Center

Offering a different but equally rewarding experience, this center is staffed by female inmates who have been trained in the art of traditional Thai massage.

The massages here are surprisingly professional and reasonably priced. It’s a great way to support rehabilitation efforts and receive a top-notch massage.

Photo Credit: Osaka, Tripavisor

See also: 

Best Thai Massage in Phuket

The Raintree Spa Phuket Thailand
Raintree Spa Phuket. Source:

To help you relax even further during your beach time in Phuket, consider one of these options for Thai massage:

Banyan Tree Spa

Nestled in the luxurious Banyan Tree Resort, the Banyan Tree Spa in Phuket is renowned for its opulent setting and world-class spa treatments.

The Thai massages here incorporate ancient techniques and are performed in private, open-air pavilions overlooking the tranquil lagoon. It’s a true sanctuary for relaxation and indulgence.

The beautiful Banyan Tree Spa Phuket
The beautiful Banyan Tree, credit to Halunamaatata – Tripadvisor

Let’s Relax Spa

With multiple branches across Phuket, Let’s Relax Spa is a well-established and highly regarded spa chain.

They offer a range of massages, including traditional Thai, in a serene and welcoming atmosphere. The skilled therapists and attention to detail ensure a rejuvenating and memorable experience.

Orientala Spa

Located in Patong, Orientala Spa offers a fusion of traditional Thai massage and contemporary spa therapies.

The stylish decor and skilled therapists create a serene ambiance, making it a popular choice for those seeking a well-rounded spa experience.

Their Thai massages are both relaxing and revitalizing.

Photo from management

Best Thai Massage in Pattaya

Health Land Spa and Massage PattayaHealth Land Spa and Massage. Source:

If you are heading to Pattaya, check out these great options for Thai massage:

Health Land Spa and Massage

Located on North Pattaya Road, this studio offers traditional Thai treatments and more modern options. Thai massage costs 600 baht for a two-hour treatment.

Health Land Spa and Massage entrance
Health Land Spa and Massage entrance. Photo Credit: Masaria19 – Tripadvisor

The Cliff Spa at Royal Cliff Beach Hotel

The Cliff Spa, nestled within the Royal Cliff Beach Hotel, offers a luxurious spa experience with breathtaking views of the Gulf of Thailand.

Their Thai massages incorporate traditional techniques and are performed in private treatment rooms with sea views.

The tranquil atmosphere and skilled therapists create an oasis of relaxation.

Five Star J Massage

Located in central Pattaya, Five Star J Massage is a local gem known for its authentic Thai massages at reasonable prices.

The experienced therapists use traditional techniques to ease muscle tension and promote relaxation.

It’s a favorite among budget-conscious travelers seeking an excellent Thai massage experience.

See also: Pattaya Nightlife Tips: What to Do in Pattaya at Night?

I trust that this article has provided you with valuable insights into the rich history and numerous benefits of Thai massage.

Indeed, indulging in a Thai massage is a quintessential experience when visiting the Land of Smiles, and once you’ve savored the therapeutic magic of your first session, you’ll likely find yourself yearning for more.

For those embarking on extended journeys that take you across the diverse landscapes and cities of Thailand, it’s essential to allocate time for relaxation amid your explorations.

As you traverse the vibrant streets of Bangkok, the tranquil beauty of Chiang Mai, the stunning beaches of Phuket, or the lively scenes of Pattaya, remember that Thai massage is more than just a spa treatment.

It is a voyage into centuries-old healing traditions, a cultural immersion, and an opportunity to rejuvenate both body and spirit.

So, embrace the chance to unwind, discover the secrets of Thai massage, and let the ancient artistry of this practice leave an indelible mark on your travel memories. Thailand awaits, ready to bestow upon you the gift of relaxation and well-being through the wonders of Thai massage.