Thailand is synonymous with Thai spa or Thai massage, which is what the country is famous for many travelers. I always wanted to get a Thai spa during my visits to Thailand. I was not aware of Thai massage or how these massage services worked.

Also, as someone wanting to know or get a massage in Thailand, I had little information available. I had questions like what is a Thai massage? What to expect and so on.

Plus as a solo traveler, I was worried to enjoy a massage and it took me a few visits to the country to finally begin getting a Thai spa. If you are wondering what to expect from your first Thai spa or a Thai massage in Thailand, here are all the things that you need to know. These are the things that I wish I knew before getting these Thailand massages. This comprehensive guide will help you find all there is to know!

Combined with sex tourism in Thailand, which is rampant, Thai spa has attained several dimensions in the country. But I’ll come to that later, now let’s look at what a Thai massage is.

History of Thai Spa

Thai massage therapy has a history of over 2500 years and is linked to Buddhism. It originated in India and propagated to Thailand along with the religion. The Buddhist monks were the earliest people to practice Thai spa.

It has gone through various changes over time gaining influence by other spas, but it still adheres to Ayurvedic practices, which were the primary source for a Thai spa.

thai massage spa
what is Thai massage?

Thailand massage tourism has grown into a big thing in the past few decades, with the country earning a distinct reputation for all sorts of Thai Spas and massages. It is essential to know what to expect from a Thailand massage service.

Why is Thai massage famous?

As mentioned before, massage in Thailand was a gift of Buddhism to the world, a spiritual experience for the body and mind. It was well-known within the country, and an integral part of Thai culture, especially among the monks in Thailand.

Thai spa massage
understanding Thai massage definition

And at the end of the 20th century, an influx of international travelers and the gradual introduction of the young backpacking crowd in the 21st century after the war years made the Thai massage known outside the country.

People loved this experience – the relaxation, the feeling of being rejuvenated, and spreading the culture of Thai Spa to other countries, especially Thai Massage in the USA, and also gaining a lot of traction in many cities in Europe.

Thai massage what to expect
Thai Spa, or Thai yoga massage as it is famous, has been very popular for some decades

With various additions and variations, Thai Massage’s popularity grew in leaps and bounds, becoming a rage or a phenomenon. Today it is one of the most famous types of massages globally – with everyone wanting to experience the bliss at least once.

Recommended: 25 Gorgeous Thailand Hidden Gems You Should Add To Your Itinerary

Traditional Thai Spa or Thai Massage – How is it different?

A traditional Thai body massage is not what you see in pictures or the ads where a beautiful lady with a flower is seen relaxing and smiling, closing her eyes.

As with everyone, I had the same expectations hoping to feel pampered royally. But a traditional Thai spa works differently.

What Happens During a Thai Massage is as follows – It usually takes place on a futon mat on the floor, unlike the other massages where you lie on a table.

As the process follows, the practitioners will instruct you to lie down face up, on your belly, sitting on the side, or facing them.

where to have thai massage in Bangkok?
Getting a Thai Spa is a part of experiencing the country

The process starts with the licensed massage therapist joining you on the floor, getting to work on different body sections using the pressure principles or rhythmic movements.

What does a Thai massage include? It involves a mechanism of working on your muscles from head to your foot, and massage therapists use their different body parts, including hands, thumbs, elbows, and forearms, to work on your body.

They apply gentle pressure to knead your muscles. They push, pull and flex your muscles sometimes even walking on your body.

It may sound scary, but it is not. Read the last section of this post for my tips. A typical Thai spa is called a ‘Lazy Man’s Yoga’ or Yoga Thai Massage/ Thai Yoga Massage.

It is because, in a traditional Thai massage, you lie down and rest, while the therapist will make Yoga’s Asanas or postures, bending your knees or hands or back.

The therapists will work on every inch of your body, but never touching your genitals. They apply pressure and simultaneously attend to all muscles, rubbing and kneading with their hands and feet.

thai massage near me

If there are any unknown or known muscle knots, inform the therapists so that they’ll work on them to make it alright.

This unique Thai massage method is based on the principle that energy in our body flows along specific paths, and working on them one area after the other will do wonders to both and mind.

Thai Massage Benefits – How does a Thai spa work on your body?

If you are wondering if a Thai massage good for you or how often to have Thai massage or Does Thai Massage works, read further below to understand the benefits of Thai Massage.

I have had the chance to speak to seasoned Message Therapists or licensed massage therapists in Thailand, whom I have interviewed to get the answers that many of us might have around a Thailand Message.

So this information regarding the Thai massage benefits comes directly from the therapists, helping you find answers to – Is Thai massage healthy?

What are the benefits of a Thai massage?

Below are some of the benefits of Thai massage that have been found.

Thai massage improves circulation

A Thai massage may feel intense in the beginning, but your body will thank you for it. Thai spa helps in increasing flexibility of muscles, improves circulation to all parts of the body, and relieves stress.

The purpose of a Thai spa is to open and increase energy channels and their movement throughout your body.

thai spa near me
Don’t be shy to have a Thai massage

It is different from the Swedish massage, which is less intense and focuses on specific styles and areas, although the end goal is the same.

It helps you relieve stress and eases anxiety

Like any other spa or massages, one of the significant benefits of Thai Spa is that it makes you feel less stressed.

According to this medical case study, if you are thinking is Thai massage relaxing, yes, where it talks about how getting a Thai massage benefits your mental health.

thai massage parlor
You can get Thailand massages anywhere, but what’s better than getting when you are exploring the country?

Anxiety is one of the companions of stress, and a good, traditional Thai Spa will help you alleviate anxiety to a great extent.

It Makes Your Mobility Better

Since it is similar to Yoga massage or includes stretches and flexing like in Yoga, you will find your limbs to be more agile and more comfortable to move around, mostly if you have had frozen shoulder or rigid neck muscles or arms.

Thai Massage Energizes you

As you ease in and your body starts getting into the groves of Thai massage, you will feel better mentally. Still, after the massage, your energy levels are elevated thanks to the increased oxygen supply and blood circulation, making you rejuvenated.

massages back
the massage techniques will energize you

Although you may feel energized, it is best to relax and unwind for a while after your massage is not over-exert or injure.

It helps in reducing back pain, joint pain, and headaches

If you think, is Thai massage good for back pain or can Thai massage help lower back pain, the answer is yes. Help yourself by signing up for one of these massages in Thailand, please!

I mean, back pain has become a part of lives, whether it is due to backpacking a lot or a sedentary lifestyle, right? So one of the best benefits of getting a massage in Thailand is treating your back better – which is a fitting way to thank your back for having your back!

body massage with body

Another good news is that traditional Thai spa has been found to ease migraine headaches that sometimes seem annoying and impossible. This research talks about the magic of Thai massage on your lower back too.

If you have problems around the joints (pain or stiffness), you should probably give it a try because the Thai spa has been useful in easing the pain. Is Thai massage good for frozen shoulder? Yes, as the massage helps in loosening the muscles.

Who should not get a Thai Spa?

I am not a medical expert, so I cannot tell you in medical terms. Still, as therapists suggest, they ask you to check with your doctor for medical advice on Thailand massage if you have pre-existing health conditions, and if you are pregnant, you should not get it.

You don’t want to risk your health when you are on the road, so exercise caution and consult with your doctor before trying it if you are not sure.

Questions About Thai Massage/Thai Spa You May Be Shy To Ask

Understandably, you may have certain things that you would like to be checked, especially if you are getting a Thai Massage for the first time. 

In this section, I have tried answering more questions that you may feel embarrassed about or too awkward to ask, but it is best to know the answers.

What is a full Thai massage or a full Thai Spa?

If you are wondering What is a Thai full body massage, then it is the traditional Thai massage, which covers all parts of your body. 

You can either opt for a full back massage, lower back, limbs, upper body, and specific sections or go for a typical overall traditional massage. 

thai massage therapists
Full Thai Spa

I highly recommend going for a full massage, which is the best one. Note, though, that it is different from the body to body Thailand massage.

Does full-body massage include private parts? 

No, a massage in Thailand, usually the traditional Thai massages do not include private parts.

What type of Thai massage include private parts?

Thai soapy massage, also called by many names, including Thai nude massage, happy ending massage, and so on, is the kind of massage including private parts. Find more on this below.

Does Thai massage include happy endings? 

A typical Thai massage has no happy ending. So, no, please don’t expect a happy ending if you have visited a traditional Thailand massage parlor.

asian massage places near me

Those small Thailand massage centers on the streets are not the ones offering happy ending ones. Read more on that next.

Thai massage with Happy endings

What is a happy ending? Well, you might have heard about the happy ending massages a lot or less in Thailand. These are massage parlours offering physical services to customers.

happy ending in Thailand
what is a happy ending massage?

Prostitution is illegal in Thailand but is active and even popular among tourists. So if you are wondering are happy ending massages legal in Thailand, the answer is no.

Thai spa happy ending

It is a criminal offence to provide these services in traditional Thai massage parlours, and the government has been trying to prevent that by licensing massage and raid down spa parlors masquerading as traditional Thai massage centres.

How much do you pay?

A happy ending Thailand massage is not the same as a traditional massage. Find the prices for a happy ending Thai Spa, and where to find them in Thailand in detail in this post.

What is a Thai Massage Bonus?

The happy ending Thai massages are also called by various names. It is also known by the phrase Thai massage bonus by the masseuse who use it to indirectly hint at any requirement for ‘extra’ services after a regular massage.

Nobody tells you loudly about the Thai massage bonus as it is an open secret for anyone looking for sex massage in Thailand.

thai massage happy ending

Recommended: A Guide to Body to Body Massage in Thailand

As travelers wanting a traditional Thai massage, the best way to avoid stumbling on one of these shady massage service centres is to not opt for any parlours in the red light district and entertainment centres.

Also, the areas with many go-go bars and party pubs have many of these legitimate-looking massage centres offering adult stuff.

Thai Spa – To wear clothes or not?

Do you wear clothes for a Thai massage? Well, In most of the massage parlors in Thailand, a traditional Thai massage is done entirely clothed. So you don’t have to worry about taking off your clothes.

It is better to wear something loose and comfortable so that you can enjoy the massage better. In some upscale massage parlours, they provide you with a clean set of free clothes to wear.

thai massages near me

However, in Thailand massage centers in many cities in the USA and other countries, the therapists allow you to undress according to your preferences.

In these cases, the masseuses drape cloth around your body as per your choice. Many people may not be comfortable being entirely nude, so most retain the underwear or the hip areas.

What are the things not to do before I get a Thai spa?

If you have taken an appointment for a full-body Thai Massage or just massaging specific sections, you need to get prepared and avoid doing all these things: 

Don’t drink alcohol. Instead, drink more water, don’t have meals before your massage (eat at least 1.5 hours before), don’t take a shower before Thai Massage, avoid getting a massage if you are unwell or sunburnt.

Which massage is better Thai or Swedish?

If you want to loosen up your muscles, flex the rigid parts in your body, improve circulation, energy flow, and boost your mood, a Thai massage effectively achieves all of these – meaning you will find a Thai Spa better in healing. 

houston massage parlours

A Swedish massage is best for general relaxation, where rubs and strokes are used on the body to alleviate the pain without going further more in-depth, focusing on unwinding rather than healing.

Is Thai massage better than deep tissue?

Deep tissue massage takes place on a table, and it is the classic western style spa you can experience anywhere. Whereas Thai Massage, which occurs on a futon on the floor, is different – the therapist can nurture and flex more joints and muscles, better than the deep tissue, in some cases.

Why does Thai massage hurt so much?

If you have never gotten yourself a Thai spa, you may find it initially painful – like receiving beatings in all directions throughout your body. 

pattaya massages

But, hold on, it gets better – the therapist will reduce the pressure if you feel painful, and actually, you will not feel hurt as the massage progresses. Give it a few minutes to ease.

How much is a good tip for a Thai massage?

The tips depend on where you are getting a Thai Spa and vary from place to place. If you are getting a massage in Thailand, then the tip is approximately 5 to 10% of what you pay for the spa.

In small shops, they may not expect it or may not be the norm, but you can notice the therapists being upfront about their tips in some of them. 

In the USA and elsewhere, the tip is around 20% of what you pay for the massage.

Will I get turned on in a Thai massage?

It’s normal for men and women to feel aroused during a traditional Thai massage, although it does not involve any activity that way. Although it is embarrassing or awkward, know that it is a normal body response to touch. 

bangkok massage parlour

A professional massage therapist knows this and will ignore this, so you don’t have to feel uncomfortable if this happens to you.

How Do I Know If a Thai Massage Centre Is Legit?

A licensed massage therapist offering a traditional Thai Spa is not hard to find out. Read further to find how to weed out the unofficial massage parlors in Thailand to avoid being scammed, especially when traveling alone.

Your first Thai Massage – What to Expect?

Here are the things to know before your first Thai spa. This section will help you know What to expect during a Thai massage and how to prepare.

thai spa
A good ambience is one of the best ways to enjoy a relaxing Thai Massage
  • As mentioned before, be prepared to expect some intense pulling, pushing around and kneading of your body. The masseuses know precisely the pressure levels to apply based on your body. But for someone not used to any massages, the pressure levels can be high. I have had other types of massages before, and a Thai spa had more pressure compared to others. If it hurts or feels unpleasant, you can politely tell the therapist, and they will change accordingly.
  • At first, you may feel overwhelmed, but eventually, your body and will respond to it. After a Thai spa, you would feel very light, and your muscles to be more flexible and calm. You might also feel exhausted at first, but it’s going to get better after a few minutes.
  • The best way to enjoy a traditional Thai spa is to free your mind and body and leave the job for the therapist. He/She knows best, and you can feel rejuvenated only when you lie down without worrying.
  • Most of the Thai massage centers have females doing Thai spa for women and men for men. In some shops, men masseuse can attend female clients. If you are not comfortable, you can inform them, and they’ll understand.
Thai Spa first time
  • There is no reason to be scared to enjoy a Thai spa because of shady parlours offering happing endings. There are regular spa houses as well as adult Thai massage centres. You can identify by checking reviews online. If not, head to the ones where there are customers already present and choose the Thai spa centres with open curtains and along the main streets.
  • There are no oils used in a traditional Thai massage. So if you are opposed to the use of oils, you’ll not have to worry. Oil massage is usually done as a prelude to sex services, so it comes under adult stuff most of the time.
  • There are basically these types of Thai massages you can see in shops – Traditional Thai spa, foot massage, oil massage, Neck, and head massage, and body scrub.

Where to get your first Thai Spa?

thailand massage
Getting an amazing massage in Thailand is one of the top things to do

If you are traveling solo in Thailand, you might be unsure of choosing a massage place. There are Thai massage service parlours like mushrooms in Bangkok, at least one in every street, and also in all popular tourist destinations including Chiang Mai, Pattaya, Phuket, and other islands.

Because these are really popular tourist destinations, you will find a lot of Thailand sex massage centres in Chiang Mai, Phuket and Pattaya. Especially in Pattaya, which is known for sex massage parlours.

So how would you choose? Choosing a Thai spa parlour depends on your budget & time. Since Thai massage parlors are everywhere, irrespective of the city in Thailand, do a quick search – Thai massage near me’, which will show you a list of them.

full body massage near me

Then, check the reviews, visit their websites, if they have any, and make your decision considering the below things.

If you are traveling on a budget, you can opt for simple-looking shops with large glass doors along the streets which are highly recommended. They charge between 220 to 300 THB for a 60-minutes Thai massage typically.

There are many other variations including foot massage and other Thai spas for specific body parts at different prices, but I would recommend going for a full body Thai massage for best benefits. Also, one hour is the minimum time that you should try out to see the impact. The massages are available for 2 or 3 hours as well.

To feel safe and also get a Thai massage for a low price, head to the temples. Yes, the Buddhist wats have massage services for half the price, and they are as good as any other Thai massage parlours. It costs about 100 to 120 THB for a 60-minute massage.

body massage near me

If you don’t mind spending, you can head to boutique Thai spa parlours and superior Thai massage services, where there are private airconditioned rooms. The price varies between 15 to 20 USD for a 60-minute massage.

You may get a complimentary drink, and they would sometimes give you the clothing to change. These massage centres are not hard to find, and many exist next to simple massage shops, in hotels and guesthouses.

There are traditional Thai massage services that come to your doorstep as well. You can book via phone or inform the reception at your hotel and get pampered in the comfort of your room for higher prices.

So that’s my guide to enjoy an amazing Thai spa while traveling in Thailand. Have a relaxing time!


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