Top 3 Unique Thai Massage and Spa Experiences

In addition to visiting beaches, eating delicious food, touring temples and shopping up a storm, no visit to the Land of Smiles is complete without a Thai massage and spa visit! 

If you didn’t know it already, Thailand is one of the world’s most popular spa destinations. In addition to a range of age-old Ayurveda practices introduced from India thousands of years ago, Thailand boasts a plethora of unique home-grown treatments as well. 

If you’re keen to give a local spa a visit but aren’t quite sure what to go for, let’s us help you by introducing two of the country’s most popular therapies: Traditional Thai Massage and Thai Herbal Ball Compress. 

Traditional Thai Massage

Officially called nuadrachasamnak (aka ‘court massage’), and formerly only available to members of the royal family; Traditional Thai Massage is now the most commonly offered and loved massage offering in the Kingdom. 

In many ways, this massage is vastly different from what you might have come to know in the West, in particular, well-known and practised Swedish massage. This style is adapted from Chinese methodologies and focusses on circulation and pressure points, which help patients regain balance, internal health and proper energy flow (i.e., qi/prana) in the body. This is achieved through rhythmic compression to energy lines and pressure points, combined with deep stretching.

It’s not a great surprise that this treatment is commonly referred to as ‘yoga massage’ as the recipient is placed on a low mattress on the floor and the practitioner uses their whole body – hands, knees, legs, feet, weight – to stretch the muscles and release tension. Yes, you read correctly, the therapist will use every part of their body to move and manipulate your body like a pretzel.

Is it worth it? Yes! This unusual therapy is highly effective at relaxing, energising and assisting those suffering from pain, insomnia and office syndrome.

Thai Herbal Ball Compress

This herbal treatment is unique to Thailand and goes by several names: Hot Herbal Ball Massage, Thai Ball Compress Massage and Herbal Stem Massage. It is predominantly used to soothe inflammation, ease pain and increase circulation throughout the body. 

The belief commonly held is that the hot herbal compress massage originated from local folk medicine thousand of years ago. The tradition was passed down from generation to generation with little or no change in its secret recipe and techniques. 

The special ball compress used in the treatment is known as a lukprakob, it contains a special mix of herbs — turmeric, plai root, bergamot, ginger, kaffir lime, lemongrass, tamarind and camphor. 

This therapeutic mix of herbs is wrapped in a cotton compress, then steamed, traditionally in a bamboo basket over coals, now in an electrical steamer. When the ball is hot, the skilled masseuse will apply it to the body is smooth, circular rolling movements. The heat immediately penetrates and relaxes sore muscles.

As mentioned earlier, this technique has a variety of emotional and physical wellbeing benefits, such as improved circulation; tendon and ligament release; stress relief; deep tissue relaxation; fatigue alleviation; and internal organs’ stimulation.

For a truly unforgettable and unique Thai massage and spa experience, you can’t go past a Thai Herbal Ball Compress treatment anywhere in the Land of Smiles!