Will you visit Thailand and be too fearful or shy to experience a real, traditional Thai massage? Don’t be shy! You’ll always regret what you didn’t experience far more than anything you do experience and the traditional Thai massage, while a little confronting in places, will leave you so refreshed and relaxed that you’ll want to have one every single day … and you may never want to go home!

The video above will take you through an entire traditional Thai massage as delivered by a well-trained, professional massage therapist. You can find these qualified and experience masseurs all over Thailand, but they usually operate out of small shop fronts, not the big multi-seat operations typically seen in Thai markets and shopping malls.

Traditional Thai massage is heavily influenced by traditional Chinese medicine so it works on a system of pressure points and energy paths. You will not be asked to take your clothes off for a traditional Thai massage, but you might be asked to change into loose clothing. There are no oils used.

There is a fair amount of body contact during a traditional Thai massage. The masseur will lean into you with hands, feet, elbows and such to apply pressure to specific nerves and energy paths in your body. A full session can last up to two hours and will typically cost around 200-300 Bt (about $6-10).

The best way to locate a traditional Thai masseur is to ask the people at your hotel or guest house. Tell them you want to find a genuine, qualified massage therapist and they’ll usually be able to locate one operating nearby. All traditional Thai massage is governed by the  Traditional Thai Medical Professions Act, BE 2556 (2013), so look for the masseur’s authorisation under this Act which will usually be displayed on their wall.

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Tony and Tracy Gilbert are veteran Asian travellers with experience living and travelling in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, China, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and other Asian countries. Tony is a former journalist and editor who writes for many travel websites.