What to Know About Thai Massage


Thai Massage is a beautiful thing. It just might be a bit different from what you’re used to.

We’re spending the week in Thailand on a press trip with the Tourism Authority of Thailand (follow us on Twitter #amazingthailand) and today we had the pleasure of a 2-hour massage at Rarinjinda, a 5-star boutique wellness spa resort.

Ladies, I’m telling you, it was nothing short of amazing.

The staff are incredibly friendly and the facilities are top-notch. We have an action packed 10 days here, but I’m quite sure this will be one of my favorites.

But, Thai massage is far different than traditional Western massage. So, if and when you visit Thailand, I thought I’d fill you in a bit with the things you should know about Thai massage, so you don’t get surprised.

What to know about thai massage.

1. First, They’ll Wash Your Feet

It’s kind of strange to have someone soaping up your feet and legs, but this is how Thai massage will typically begin.

2. You’ll Be Asked To Change

But into another set of clothes they’ll give you–you won’t strip down and wait on the bed like you would elsewhere. You should also expect that your therapist will at some point be climbing on you, whether on your back or your shoulders and certainly on your table.

3. There’s a Fair Amount of Yoga Involved

You’ll be stretched and pulled in ways you didn’t know you could with a Thai yoga massage. And popped, too! They’ll likely pop your toes, and it’s almost guaranteed that your back will crack as well. Your masseuse will stretch you and put you into positions quickly and easily.

Thai massage tips.

4. Yeah, it Kind of Hurts

Because the focus is more on stretching and relieving pressure, your masseuse will press firmly along the lines of your muscles and that hurts (especially, for me, in the inner thigh). If you can’t handle it, ask them to go softer. It’s no fun if you can’t enjoy it and you certainly won’t offend anyone in asking.

Say “Bow Bow” for lighter, or “Knock Knock” for harder

5. Remember to Relax

Breathe through the pain, keep your muscles softened and relax and enjoy. Thai massage also tends to be a bit more “personal” than Western massage, in that areas like your inner inner thighs and hips may be pressed, which can be a bit strange at first. Relax!

Thai massage is a wonderful, if not essential, part of any trip to Thailand and it’s extremely affordable.

Once it’s over, your entire body is relaxed and you can really enjoy. There are thousands of small mom-and-pop massage shops, but I STRONGLY recommend going to a spa or a more upscale resort where the staff is well-trained at preventing injury. (Rarinjinda really was amazing–they give you mango and sticky rice afterwards!! Bonus points!)

At Rarinjinda, a 2-hour massage will cost you about $40.

You can find a massage for much less, but again, the yoga and the popping can lead to big problems if your masseuse is untrained.

Here’s One Last Tip: a full-body massage will focus largely on your leg and thighs and less on your back, shoulders and arms. If you are hoping more for deep tissue shoulder and neck massage, request a shoulder and neck massage instead, or ask them to focus there.

Have you ever had a Thai massage? What did you think?


About Author

Kelly Lewis is the founder of Go! Girl Guides, the Women's Travel Fest and Damesly. She's an optimist, an adventurer, an author and works to help women travel the world.


  1. A spa visit is a highlight of any trip for me and a massage is a must, so I would love this. The most interesting massage I ever had was at the Punta Cana Princess resort where my daughter and I had almost a full day of pampering for around $100. The massage was very…thorough…shall we say and parts of my body were massaged that would make Westerners a little nervous (um…upper parts only). I just relaxed and enjoyed it (after being a little shocked). I guess I should not have been shocked after seeing topless bathers everywhere!!

  2. Best massages. The kind that not only feel nice, but keep your body feeling good even days after. Though my first time I didn’t know what Thai massages were like, I showed up in a bathing suit because the place was right off the beach. Yeaaa, I’m pretty sure I showed the masseuse much more than she wanted to see.

  3. Pingback: What to Know About Thai Massage | Thailand eMagazine

  4. Nice post, try it couple of times in BKK and found it really helpful for both my mind and body. if you need more then combodia is best place

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