Can Thai Massage Be Harmful?

Thai Massage Is Everyone’s Favorite….I Get It!

I’ll start off by saying that by no means am I trying to be a debbie downer, I love me some Thai massage just as much as the next person! But as much as I love this ancient technique, I think it’s also important to talk about its dangers.

Thai massage is great and while there are many benefits one can experience, there’s also a few dangers to be aware of.

Everyone is focused on the good which is great, but it’s very important to understand the bad as well. Being informed of both good/bad allows you to make an informed decision based on your specific condition and situation!

We All Love Thai Massage
Don’t We All!


First Off….Let’s Talk A Little Bit About Thai Massage!

There’s a lot about Thai massage that most people don’t have a clue about. For one, Thai and deep tissue massage are not the same thing. Yes Thai massage does have elements that could be construed as deep tissue therapy, but that’s not it’s only focus.

For example, here’s a few things I bet you probably didn’t know of! (Source: Wikipedia)

#1 No Oils—Contrary to what you see in the plethora of massage establishments in Thailand and South East Asia, traditional Thai massage does not require the use of any oil or lotion.
#3 It’s A Very Intimate & Personal Experience—With the main purpose of healing on all levels, Thai massage is a very intimate and personal process between giver and receiver.
#5 It’s Customized Based On The Recipient—That doesn’t mean what you will experience is a full 180 from what your spouse will, but there will be adjustments and therefore differences.
#2 It’s Done With Clothes On—Quite different from what you see in South East Asia, where the feature massage is a one hour full body oil massage.
#4 More Than A Massage—I don’t think Thai massage can be limited to just a massage as we know it. It’s much more, I think of it like a fusion of massage and yoga.
#6 It Has Several Influences—From various countries close to Thailand of course, such as India, China, and even other parts of South East Asia!

So as you can see authentic Thai massage is not what you may have thought it to be. I’ve traveled tons and tons of times to South East Asia, but not once have I experienced the authentic thing. It’s usually been a fusion of oil massage coupled with a bit of Thai massage stretches, ending with a foot massage.

I guess there might be some hesitancy doing the real thing, because it’s just so physical that it might not appeal to everyone.

If you told most people that you’d be wrapping your feet all over their torso and trampling on their back, they may not be too thrilled! Especially if you’re a tourist, you will probably opt for an oil massage instead of an authentic Thai massage. It’s not for everyone, and it’s certainly not something I’d do frequently either.

Have you tried the real thing? If so, drop a comment down below and share your experience. I’d love to hear!


4 Thai Massage Dangers To Be Aware Of!

As I was researching for this post, I stumbled upon an interesting article written by Peter from The Thailand Life. Peter is a bloke who moved to Thailand at 29 years of age and has been living there for 12 years (Source: The Thailand Life).

Anyways, in his article, Peter talks about his experience with Thai massage and about all the “provable” benefits.

It’s a pretty interesting read with a ton of awesome information about the origin of Thai massage. Well worth a read for anyone who might be interested in Thai massage!

For this post, we’ll be covering the opposite of what Peter talks about in his article – the dangers of Thai massage!

#1 Too Much Pressure & Intensity—Resulting In Long Term Issues

This is in my mind the biggest danger of Thai massage, and one that often gets swept under the rug. I should note that this is more so a danger when language barriers exist.

For example, if you’re travelling in Thailand and the masseuse working on you has trouble communicating in your language, and supposing your knowledge of the local language is limited, it might be hard to communicate effectively.

This is where too much pressure and intensity can become an issue. I know people who have had Thai massage nightmarish experiences because of this! Someone I know has injured themselves pretty bad actually because of this very reason.

What was supposed to be a means to one’s well-being has turned into uninvited pain. Frustrating to say the least!

Even with all the language barriers, a properly trained masseuse should be able to read and understand their patient. I truly believe this, and after all my massage experiences around the globe, I have seen my mix of both good and bad therapists.

Too Much Intensity

#2 All The Other Dangers One Would See With Deep Tissue Massage

While Thai massage is not the same as deep tissue therapy, it does contain elements within it that are similar to deep tissue work. As such, all the dangers associated with deep tissue therapy are also the same for Thai massage.

So what are all of these dangers you should be aware of? Risk of fracture, tissue tears, blood clots are some of the more dangerous ones that come to mind!

I know it sounds pretty scary to talk about, right!? The good news is that all of these are unlikely dangers, which could only happen in extreme cases. We list them here as there is a possibility, however small, it’s important for you to understand.

I’ve previously written a post on the dangers of deep tissue massage where I talk about some of this stuff in a lot more detail. Feel free to check it out here!

Risk Of Fractures

#3 Pain, Which Could Last For Extended Periods

Massage was supposed to relieve your inflammation and pain but instead it’s exacerbating the condition! In some way this is related to point #1 about too much pressure and intensity.

These days the attitude seems to be “no pain, no gain!” or “tough it up buttercup!”, which makes folks think that a massage should be painful in order for it to be effective.

This is so not true! A light/mild massage can be incredibly effective. If you’re sensitive enough, it doesn’t take much to know what’s good/bad for your body. You can sense and feel this with a little bit of awareness. I’ll give you a piece of advice that’s served me well over the years:

If a massage is so uncomfortable to the extent of being unbearable, you shouldn’t go on with it. Either the therapist needs to know it’s not working and fix it ASAP, or you stop altogether.

There’s no point continuing and causing long term harm to yourself.

Don't Be Afraid To Stop The Massage

#4 Soreness, Redness, Malaise, Headaches & An Overall Sense Of Feeling Drained

This is less of a danger and more of a side effect. Even still, I think its important to mention. Soreness, redness, malaise, headaches and the rest are common with a high intense massage, and while you shouldn’t go expecting it, you should also not be surprised if they happen.

I’ve felt drained and “out of it” when I’ve done Thai massage about 6 times out of 10. I guess it varies from person to person.

The best way to deal with this is to take a warm shower, eat light, and get some rest. This has worked like a charm for me.

Rest After An Intense Massage


Enough About What We Have To Say! What Are Your Thai Massage Experiences?

Have you experienced any of the dangers noted above, or something entirely different? We’d love to hear so please feel free to share your experiences by dropping a comment down below.

I’ll conclude this post by saying this: any massage if done improperly can be dangerous, this is not something exclusive to Thai massage.

Approaching massage with the right care and precaution is the responsibility of not only the therapist, but also the patient. I know that might sound a tad harsh, but I prefer to err on the side of caution, and I recommend the same for you, my fellow readers. That’s a close, we’ll see you next week! Take care, be safe, be well!

About Eve

Just an average bloke intrigued by massage and its incredible benefits. Oh, did I mention I also own a massage chair? More on that in the blog posts!

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