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What is a Royal Thai massage?

Royal Thai massage uses techniques that retain a respectful distance between the therapist and the client for massaging the Thai royal family and aristocracy.

Royal Thai massage uses techniques that retain a respectful distance between the therapist and the client.

Royal Thai massage (Nuad Rajchasumnak) is the Thai massage that practitioners use for the aristocracy, the ruling class, VIPs, or highly placed officials at the Thai Royal courts. Other names for Royal Thai massage include Royal style, Court style or Rajasamnak style.

In a Royal Thai massage, practitioners strictly adhere to specific rules of non-intimacy, respect, politeness, and treatment protocols. They primarily use their thumbs and palms to apply acupressure on the Sib Sen and specific acupressure points.

This style of Thai massage is most often associated with the Southern style of Thai massage, Bangkok style, which is more fast-paced. Many also consider Royal Thai massage more therapeutic than Folk Thai massage as schools teach various Royal Thai treatment sequences or ‘acupressure recipes’ to heal or treat individual ailments or illnesses.


A Royal Thai massage has a much stricter protocol than a Folk Thai massage. The receiver is always fully clothed in a Royal Thai massage and will only receive a massage in the seated position, lying face upwards or on the side. The recipient will never lie in the prone position, with the face downwards. Usually, a Royal Thai massage treats the entire body unless the acupressure protocol is specific to one body area.

The practitioner enters the treatment room, crawling on their knees and looking down at the floor. The practitioner does not look at the receiver already lying on the mat. The practitioner then pays respect to the receiver, asks permission to do the massage, checks the pulse rate by putting fingers over the receiver’s wrist arteries and verifies the pressure of the lom pran (the wind element).

During the massage, the practitioner must stay on their knees an arm’s length distance from the recipient. The practitioner must position their body sideways to the receiver, never cross the receiver’s body or breathe on them. Protocol dictates that practitioners must keep their arms completely straight when applying pressure and exclusively uses their thumbs, fingers, and palms to press on acupressure points. There are rules for how much pressure a practitioner can give depending on the class of the recipient. And there are rules for the duration of the pressure.

The most noticeable difference between a Royal Thai and a Folk Thai massage is that a Royal Thai massage does not have joint mobilizations or manipulations. And there are very few, if any, stretches in a Royal Thai massage; this is considered impolite.

In Thailand

Unless you are royalty, receiving a Royal Thai massage treatment in Thailand can be challenging. You can receive Thai massages that comply with the treatment protocols taught in the Royal style in traditional Thai hospitals or clinics. But the typical Thai spa, parlour or salon will more likely offer Folk Thai massage.

But if you wish to learn the Royal Thai massage style, it is much easier. The government, located in Bangkok, sets the current Thai massage curriculum and endorses the Royal Thai massage style. The official curriculum is 372 hours or 800 hours of training, but many schools offer one or two-week courses that teach you a simple full-body treatment routine. In these shorter courses, you will not learn in-depth therapy protocols and procedures that cover treatments for a broad range of discomforts or illnesses.

At Sirius Health

Much of our training in Thailand included Royal Thai massage techniques, but we do not offer Royal Thai massages at Sirius Health. We uphold the non-intimacy, respect, politeness, and treatment intent of Royal Thai massage but utilize Folk Thai massage techniques in our treatments.

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