Traditional Thai Massage and Other Treatments Offered in a Thai Spa

Updated on September 3, 2018
Thelma Alberts profile image

Thelma has lived and worked for almost three years in the Republic of Ireland as a wellness massage therapist in a Thai spa.

Types of Massage Offered in Thai Spas

Thai spas typically offer the following types of massage in addition to beauty treatments such as manicures and pedicures:

  • Traditional Thai massage
  • Thai oil massage
  • Wellness massage
  • Shoulder and back massage
  • Herbal poultice massage
  • Hot stones massage
  • Thai foot reflexology massage
  • Head and facial massage

A photo of a Thai Spa.
A photo of a Thai Spa. | Source

Traditional Thai Massage

Traditional Thai massage is a treatment that combines acupressure, yoga, and the manipulation and stimulation of body parts in order to unblock the energy meridians of the body. It is influenced by ancient Chinese, Indian and South East Asian traditions of healing the body from pain.

Traditional Thai Massage does not require the client to take off his or her clothes. The client lays down on a mat on the floor or on a lower bed. The massage therapist performs the massage by using the hands, the base of the hands, fingers, thumbs, arms, elbows, knees and feet. A lot of stretching is performed and the recipient is having a passive yoga-like experience while the masseuse stretches their arms and legs. The massage therapist uses her or his overall body weight when applying the techniques but is careful not to hurt the client. The overall pressure is very much controlled by the masseuse. The treatment is very specific and intentionally applied to the needs and desires of a client. This massage is refreshing and invigorating.

For me, as a wellness massage therapist, I think this is the hardest kind of treatment a masseuse can give, and also the most effective. Not only do I give this treatment to others, but I also love this treatment for myself after a long day of work.

Thai Oil Massage

Thai oil massage is a softer massage compared to the traditional Thai massage, but with the use of heated oil. The massage therapist gives the treatment while the recipient lays down on a mat on the floor or a lower bed. At first, the masseuse gives a warm-up treatment by doing Thai acupressure using the base of the hands and performing the acupressure by using their thumbs on the energy lines located on the recipient's back. Then, the therapist gives a relaxing massage with heated oil.


Some Thai salons have clients wear only underwear during a Traditional Thai massage. This is because they perform the massage with a little bit of heated oil. The oil ensures a smooth flow when massaging very tense and hard leg, arm or back muscles. This is only done when the recipient has first had an acupressure treatment.

Wellness Massage

Wellness massage is softer than a Thai oil massage. It is like an Ayurvedic massage with less oil. Wellness massage is good to those who want to have a relaxing treatment to unwind from the stress of a hard days work. There is less pressure applied in this treatment, but a client can ask for more pressure if desired. The client mostly sleeps on the massage table or bed while having this treatment—well, most of my clients did, maybe because I perform the treatment like a relaxing meditation.

Shoulder and Back Massage

Shoulder and back massages start with a traditional Thai massage by using the base of the hands going up and down on the sides of the spine, then unblocking the energy lines beside the spine by using the thumbs. This massage is concentrating on both sides of the back, the lower back, shoulder and neck. Pressure is applied to ease the tensions of the muscles. Heated oil is also used in this treatment. It is a deep and pressured back massage. Acupressure, effleurage and petrissage techniques are applied. Pretrissage includes kneading, rolling and wringing the skin.

A  massage bed at a Thai Spa.
A massage bed at a Thai Spa. | Source

Herbal Poultice Treatment

Herbal poultices are made of dried herbs and flowers like lemongrass, rose, lavender or jasmine. Some poultices contain dried coconuts. The content depends on what the recipient is being treated for. The masseuse holds a heated poultice in each hand, pressing and stroking these on the body of the recipient. This massage treatment is very good to tone the skin. It is a very relaxing massage treatment.

Hot Stones Massage

A hot stone massage feels very good in the winter. The stones used in this treatment are basalt stones mostly from Hawaii. The massage therapist heats the stone and checks the temperature for the safety of the client by putting each stone on their own arm before using it on the client. The warmth of the stones melt away tension, ease the muscles and is good for the blood circulation of the body.

Thai Foot Reflexology

Thai foot reflexology is very different than what I have learned before working in a Thai salon. A wooden massage stick is used on the pressure points of the feet to stimulate the connecting parts of the body. The masseuse is careful not to hurt the client. After using the stick, heated oil is applied to the feet for a gentle massage in an up and down motion. The therapist uses their hands, thumbs, fingers and knuckles in this treatment.

Wooden Stick for Thai foot reflexology.
Wooden Stick for Thai foot reflexology. | Source

Head and Facial Massage Treatment

Thai head and facial massage is the similar to other wellness massages that I have learned. With the use of facial cream or heated oil, the therapist massages the face with the use of effleurage massage techniques. Oil is never used to massage the head, just basic massage strokes and movements. The treatment is done slowly and tenderly to relax the recipient. This is the best massage for falling asleep.

Beauty Treatments Offered in a Thai Spa

Manicures and pedicures are beauty treatments commonly offered in Thai massage salons. However, they might not be the same kind as what you have in your country. Thai salons mostly offer a more simple and basic manicure and pedicure compared to other nail salons. So, before booking these treatments, ask the salon how they do their services. It's also a good idea to check with other clients who have used the same salon to see if they are high-quality.

Try it for Yourself!

Thank you very much for reading my article! I hope you will try a traditional Thai massage. To get an authentic experience with real benefits, you should get one from a Thai masseuse. It's great. However, not all Thai massage salons provide a "happy ending" if you know what I mean—and I am very sure of that.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2018 Thelma Alberts


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    • Thelma Alberts profile imageAUTHOR

      Thelma Alberts 

      21 months ago from Germany and Philippines

      You are very welcome Rajan. Thanks for dropping by and reading my hub. Enjoy your weekend!

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      21 months ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      It's nice to learn about the different Thai massages Thelma. I'm sure they are very refreshing and healing. Thank you for sharing.

    • Thelma Alberts profile imageAUTHOR

      Thelma Alberts 

      2 years ago from Germany and Philippines

      Yes, it is indeed Cynthia. I hope you can try that someday. All the best to you, too. Thanks for dropping by.

    • techygran profile image

      Cynthia Zirkwitz 

      2 years ago from Vancouver Island, Canada

      Hi Thelma, the Thai Massage technique looks like it would be very health-restorative and invigorating. I hope someday to try it out. Thank you for giving so many details in this post! All the best, Cynthia

    • Thelma Alberts profile imageAUTHOR

      Thelma Alberts 

      2 years ago from Germany and Philippines

      Hi Nell. I hope you can find a spa or a massage salon near your place. It is indeed wonderful. Thanks for dropping by.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      2 years ago from England

      I could definitely do with some of these Thelma! so warming and relaxing, wonderful!

    • Thelma Alberts profile imageAUTHOR

      Thelma Alberts 

      2 years ago from Germany and Philippines

      You are very welcome Linda. Thanks for dropping by.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      The activities that you describe sound wonderful and very relaxing. Thanks for sharing all the information, Thelma.

    • Thelma Alberts profile imageAUTHOR

      Thelma Alberts 

      2 years ago from Germany and Philippines

      You are very welcome Peggy. Yes, that massage would ease your aches and pains. Thank you very much for dropping by.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Thanks Thelma for telling us about Thai Massage. I was unfamiliar with it. That video is really good in showing how this is done. I helped my neighbor work in her yard today and wish I was having a massage right now. That would ease my aches and pains.


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