Nuad Chaloeisak is the most common style of Thai Traditional Massage in Thailand, originating and applied within family households and in the public arena.
It goes by several other names, such as Chaleisak, Nuat Chaloeyseuk, Folk Massage, Folk Healing Massage, Rural Thai Massage, Indigenous Massage, Northern Style Thai Massage, Commoner Massage, and Commoner Style Thai Massage.
The Nuad Chaloeisak style can be best understood when viewed in contrast to so-called Royal Style Thai Massage (also known as Court Style or Nuad Rajasamnak Massage). Chaloeisak is grounded on the same Thai Traditional Medicine concepts as the Royal Style, but uses not only the hands and fingers and acupressure, but also elbows, arms, knees, the feet or heels to apply pressure, stretching, spinal twists, chiropractic, joint mobilization, and other manipulations.
Chaloeisak Style is also considered less “polite” compared to the Royal Style because the masseur works very closely and intimately with the body of the receiver. Another typical characteristic of this style of massage is that techniques and procedures strongly depend on local regions, villages and communities, hence the label Folk Massage or Rural Massage.
Nuad Chaloeisak is commonly used for general health issues, preventive and relaxation purposes, but it can also be applied as a profound therapeutic massage. A session includes examination, diagnosis, and treatment, with the main intention to prevent disease and promote health.
In contrast to Royal Style Thai Massage, Nuad Chaloeisak has fewer rules, although a session will usually start with the feet and end with the head of the client. Commonly, the client will be treated in much more positions than Royal Style, meaning that the treatments are done with the client lying on the back (supine), stomach (prone), on the sides, and in sitting positions.
Chaloeisak Style is often considered a synonym for what is called Northern Style Thai Massage or Thai Yoga Massage. As it is, Thai Yoga Massage is based on Northern Style and got its name because of the many Yoga-like stretches in Chaloeisak. You can read more about this in our previous post Thai Massage or Thai Yoga Massage.
Another style associated with Nuad Chaloeisak is the Lanna Massage Style. The ancient Lanna Kingdom was situated in the north of Thailand, and Folk Massage or Nuad Chaloeisak has strong parallels with the Lanna Massage Style.
Nevertheless, they are not completely the same thing — Thai Lanna Massage includes very distinct methods to performing a massage session, such as Ched (removing toxins from the body), Yam Khang (fire or thermal treatments), herbal therapies, and Tok Sen (tapping the Sen Energy Lines), and sometimes includes shamanistic and spiritual rituals.