Traditional Thai Bodywork

Traditional Thai Bodywork has its roots in Traditional Thai medicine and would be more aptly described as Thai physical therapies, not to be confused with western physical therapy. 

Techniques used in Thai bodywork include but are not limited to: 

  • herbal compresses

  • compression

  • passive stretching

  • deep tissue

  • fascial release

  • percussion

  • balms, liniments, and oils

  • cupping

  • scraping

  • abdominal massage 

  • range of motion

  • and more!

Thai massage is done on a mat on the floor. The receiver wears loose clothing that can easily be moved so that balms, liniments, and/or cups may be applied.  


More about the Tools

Herbal Compresses

Herbal compresses are delicious. They are balls of herbs that are steamed and then used topically. They can be generic or made specifically for certain treatments, e.g. paralysis and nerve issues and prenatal and postpartum times. 


Glass or silicone cups are attached to the body via vacuum, lifting the skin and tissue. Cupping is good for a plethora of things, such as, breaking up scar tissue, expelling excessive heat, bringing blood flow to a stagnant area, and more. 


Scraping, known as khoodt in Thai, Gua Sha in Chinese medicine, and most recently, Graston in Western circles, uses a tool to scrape the tissue. Some of the benefits include, release of excess heat and breaking up restrictions in soft tissue.  

Passive Stretching

Often what people picture when they think of Thai massage is the passive stretching. Passive stretching is just that, having somone stretch you while you sit or lay there passively. 

Topical Herbs

Balms, liniments, oils, and poultices are often used in each session according to your needs. 

A Brief Explanation of Thai Massage

Thai massage is known by various names, I generally interchange Thai physical therapies, Thai bodywork, and Thai massage easily.  Thai bodywork is one of the branches of Traditional Thai Medicine. It is a form of Thai medical massage that is steeped in Thai medical theory, In short, Thai bodywork evolved from Reusi Dat Ton, a system of self care created over the span of time by Ruesis, ascetic seers that are the holders of natural laws and sciences passed on for thousansds of years.  

Thai medical theory is a rich elemental theory that has similarities to both ayurveda and TCM due to geography but is its own medical system consisting of internal and external therapies, divination (astrology, palmistry, etc.), spirit medicine, buddhism, and midwifery. 


Thai bodywork, like all branches of traditional Thai medicine, is based on Buddhism as medicine and a strong spiritual component is woven into TTM. Thai bodywork is not only physical as the physical, energetic and emotional bodies are not separate; to touch one is to touch all.


About Karen

I got my start in massage through Thai bodywork. I had to practice Swedish massage while going to massage school, but it only cemented that my love is for Thai bodywork. I started my journey of learning Thai bodywork in Anchorage, Alaska, in 2012, with Lindsey Britt Miller, gaining a good technical foundation. 

Many people link Thai bodywork to Ayurveda or Traditional Chinese Medicine because they do not know that Thai bodywork is a part of its own rich elemental theory.  I knew that Thai bodywork had to have its own medical theory because I had never heard of a system of healing that was based on another system's theory. Of course there are similarities that can be found due to regional and religious similarities, but there is never a complete lack of theory. Due to translation issues and perpetuated by misinformation, knowledge of Thai medical theory is scant in the West. This yearning to know more was the impetus for my search for my current teacher Nephyr Jacobson. Under her I have started to study Thai medical theory.

Outside of being an LMT, I am a mother, a wife, a hockey player, a dancer, and a high school teacher. I am a voracious lover of americanos and licorice tea. I have climbed mountains to get to where I am, but sometimes it all feels like serendipity rather than hard work.