How To Get The Perfect Thai Massage In Thailand

Thailand is known for many wonderful things and one of the country’s specialties is Thai massage. There is nothing quite like these types of massages and people travel from all over the world to get a Thai massage.

Thai massage therapists are specially trained in many techniques including massage therapy and may use special tools during your time at the spa.

Communication is essential when getting a massage in Thailand. From the moment you walk into a massage parlor your ability to communicate can determine if your dream massage comes true. But don’t worry! Learning Thai isn’t difficult.

Ling aims to provide you with the necessary Thai phrases and vocabulary to help you talk to the masseuse in Thai during a Thai massage session.


Types Of Massages In Thailand

Thai massage has a unique style. The massage techniques used by practitioners are often aimed at deep tissue massage and often include assisted stretching. Thai massage is often confused with Swedish massage because both techniques have the same deep tissue focus. However, their methods are pretty different, with Thai massage focusing more on helping with ailments in the body. Each type of Thai massage offers different benefits and will make you feel sabai-sabai (relaxed.)

Common Types Of Thai Massages

  • Thai massage / นวดไทย nûat thai
  • Traditional Thai massage / นวดไทยโบราณ / nûat thai bo rahn
  • Foot massage / นวดเท้า / nûat táo
  • Oil massage / นวดน้ำมัน / nûat náam man
  • Head, back, and shoulder massage /  นวดศีรษะ หลัง และไหล่ / nûat see sa lăng le lai
  • Body scrub / ขัดตัว / kàt dtua
  • Facial massage / นวดหน้า / nûat nâa
  • Thai herbal compress massage / สมุนไพรไทย นวดประคบ / s’mon prai thai nûat bra khob


Here Are The Benefits Of Thai Massage

Traditional Thai massage involves the use of the masseuse’s body. He or she will use their elbows, wrists, knees, and sometimes feet during the massage. You will also be stretched into yoga-like positions to release tension, relax and improve circulation. Some of the techniques used are similar to Swedish massage but the overall experience is quite unique.

During foot massages, a special wooden reflexology tool called the acupressure massage stick ไม้นวดกดจุด mai nuat kod joodt may be used to provide many health benefits such as help boost your immune system, improve concentration or increase the flow of oxygen to internal organs.

Thai massage practitioners are also trained in improving facial circulation. Here, the acupressure stick may be used during a facial massage which is said to make you look younger! The experience is supposed to help your facial muscles feel relaxed giving you a more rested appearance.

If you choose an herbal compress massage, this is usually done during the second half of a two-hour massage following a Thai traditional or oil massage. The compress is full of relaxing or invigorating herbs (you can choose) and is heated up and pressed rather than massaged onto your body.


Useful Phrases When Getting A Thai Massage

Communicate in Thai during Thai massage

Most massage practitioners or masseuses have limited language experience, even in English. It will be necessary to know some useful phrases when getting a traditional Thai massage to make your experience the best.

Thai Massage Vocabulary & Phrases

  • Masseuse / หมอนวด / maw nûat
  • Massage / นวด / nûat
  • How much per hour? / ชั่วโมงละเท่าไร / chûa moong lá tâo rài
  • I want to have an oil massage / อยากนวดน้ำมัน /yàak nûat nám-man/
  • I want to have thai massage / อยากนวดไทย /yàak nûat tai/ 
  • I want to have a foot massage / อยากนวดเท้า /yàak nûat táo/ 
  • I want to have a back massage / อยากนวดหลัง / yàak nûat lăng
  • I want to have an herbal compress / อยากนวดประคบ / yàak nûat bra khob
  • I want to have a face massage / อยากนวดหน้า / yàak nûat nâa 
  • I want to have body scrub / อยากขัดตัว / yàak kàt dtua
  • One hour / หนึ่งชั่วโมง / neung chimung
  • Two hours / สองชั่วโมง / song chimung

How To Speak With Your Masseuse In Thai

If you have any specific points on your body you would like the practitioner to focus on or avoid, it will be helpful to know some body parts and phrases in Thai. To guide your masseuse to areas to focus on, you can say:

Please massage / ช่วยนวด__________ / chûay nûat __________(insert body part).

Please don’t massage / อย่านวด__________นะคะ/นะครับ / yea nûat __________(insert body part) naka/na krub.

Lower Body Parts

  • Foot / เท้า / tao
  • Ankle / ข้อเท้า / khaw tao
  • Calf / น่อง /nawng
  • Thigh / ต้นขา / tton khaa
  • Hip / สะโพก / sa pohk

Upper Body Parts

  • Waist / เอว / ehw
  • Back / หลัง / lang
  • Shoulder / ไหล่ / lai
  • Elbow / ศอก / sawk
  • Arm / แขน / khaen
  • Chest / หน้าอก / naa ohk
  • Neck / คอ / khaw
  • Head / หัว / hua

How To Ask For A Harder Or Softer Thai Massage

You may want to express that the practitioner changes their massage technique during a Thai massage. You are meant to relax and may have a muscle injury that you want them to attend to properly. This can be done by simple saying:

  • Softer / เบาๆ หน่อย / bao-bao nɔ̀ɔi/
  • Harder / หนักๆ หน่อย / nàk-nàk nɔ̀ɔi/
  • Too soft / เบาเกินไป / bao gǝǝn-bpai 
  • Too hard / หนักเกินไป / nàk gǝǝn 

If you wish to be more polite, you can state;

  • I want a strong/hard massage / ขอนวดหนักๆ หน่อย / kaw nuad nak nak noi
  • I’d like it strong/harder than this, please / ขอหนักกว่านี้หน่อย / kaw nak kwaa nee noi
  • I want a soft/light massage / ขอนวดเบาๆ หน่อย / kaw nuad bao bao noi
  • Please (massage) a little softer / เบาๆ หน่อย / kaw bao bao noi

What To Say If You Experience Pain During A Thai Massage

While masseuses try their best, sometimes Thai massage may be painful, especially during deep tissue massage or if you have an injury. You need to know the correct vocabulary to tell them that you are in pain in certain positions or want them to stop.

When describing pain in Thai, there are two different terms used. The first is เจ็บ JEP. This kind of pain is a stabbing, sharp pain. The second type of pain is ปวด PUAD. This refers to deep aches in your body, and you can use this word and point to indicate to the masseuse where you would like them to focus during the Thai massage.

  • Pain / ปวด / puad
  • Hurt / เจ็บ / jep
  • Stop / หยุด / yud
  • Ouch! It’s hurt! เจ็บ,  เจ็บ,  เจ็บ / jep, jep, jep (can also be used to say stop)


Can You Get A Thai Massage If You Are Pregnant?

Generally, the answer is yes. However, any type of massage for pregnant women should be avoided during the first trimester. You may find that many massage spas will refuse to give any type of massage if you are pregnant due to concerns about miscarriage. During the second or third trimester, the benefits of Thai massage may provide improved relaxation and better sleep. Please be aware that specific techniques can cause contractions and premature labor, and trigger points in the body. Only get a pregnancy massage from an expert or recommended masseuse.

How To Say That You Are Pregnant In Thai

  • I am pregnant / ฉันท้อง / chan tong


How To Communicate In Thai During A Thai Massage

Here is an example conversation you may have with a massage practitioner when you first enter a massage parlor.

How to ask for a Thai massage in Thai

Here is an example of how to communicate in Thai to explain what you would like during your Thai massage.

How to explain what you want in a Thai massage in Thai


How Much Does A Thai Massage Cost?

Thai massage is available all over Thailand, and the price will differ depending on location. Tourist areas tend to charge much more than massage spas, where prices above 3,000 baht can be seen. It is also possible to find a local Thai massage for only 150 baht per hour. You can still get spa experience in some massage parlors for only 200 baht per hour if you look around. It’s also common for Thai massages to be offered outside in markets, and those typically start at 60 baht for 30 minutes or 120 baht for an hour massage.

Sometimes prices are posted in Thai and English. It’s common for Thai prices to be lower, so it can be to your advantage to learn Thai numbers.


Do You Tip For A Thai Massage And How Much?

Yes, it is nice to tip for a massage in Thailand. The masseuses only take home a percent of the hourly rate, and it is common to tip up to 50 baht for an hour massage or 100 baht for a two-hour massage. Always give a tip directly to the masseuse following the massage to ensure that they receive your gratitude!


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