Thai Massage: What’s in a Name?

Published | Updated November 25, 2018
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Traditional Thai Yoga Massage. Thai Yoga. Traditional Thai Massage. Thai Yoga Massage. Thai Healing. Thai Healing Massage. Thai Healing Arts. Thai Traditional Healing. Thai Vedic Massage. Thai Bodywork. Thai Energy Work. Nuad Bo Rarn. Nuad Thai. Nuat Thai. Ancient Thai Massage. Ancient Massage. Integral Thai Massage. Classic Thai Massage. Thai Yoga Bodywork.

And let’s not forget… our good old—Thai Massage!

It’s basically all the same thing. Well… same, same (and not so different). It’s Thai Massage. But why all these “exotic” names?

I suppose there are mainly two reasons to do so. The first one is the association of Thai Massage with the sex industry. As we probably all know there is this notorious “happy ending” associated with Thai Massage. And… serious practitioners in the West trying to make a respectable living out of Thai Massage are desperately trying to avoid this link-up.

The second reason is the “massage” word. Because Thai Massage is not only massage. It’s also Yoga. And energy work. And healing. And stretching. Bodywork. A complete workout. On the floor. On a mat. And generally, no, oils are not used.

Nevertheless, in Thailand it’s mostly called Thai Massage, or… Nuad, Nuad Thai, or Nuad Bo’Rarn. Every Thai knows what it is about. No mix-up. Thai Massage with some sex (or the other way around) is one thing, Traditional Thai Massage another. Thai people know that Nuad Thai is more than just a massage and they know exactly where’s what, how’s what, and what’s what.

I for me personally, in formal conversations, prefer the term Traditional Thai Yoga Massage. Here in the West. Because, well, maybe because I just like the yoga-aspect of Thai Massage. Or maybe because of the schools I studied with initially. Or maybe because of the West. I don’t know really.

But I’ll tell you a little secret though—among friends I call it just Thai Massage. And not to be mistaken… I do it without “happy ending.”


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