The Difference between Southern and Northern Style Thai Massage

There are thousands of ways to pamper and indulge yourself but spa treatments are one of the perfect ways to unwind. You can choose from a range of therapies, with one of the most popular being the Thai massage. When you book an appointment for a Thai massage you may be asked for your choice between Southern style (Folk Thai Massage) and Northern style (Royal Thai Massage). Even though not entirely different, there are delicate variations between the two forms because of their story and origins.

This blog will compare the two Thai Massage styles, so that you are fully aware of the treatment you will indulge in when you book a massage.

The Similarities

  1. Both styles recognize The Father Doctor Shivago Komarpaj to be one of the most influential figures in the practice and development of Thai Massage. 
  2. Northern and southern styles were created from the Royal Style elements of ancient Thai Massage, necessitating great courtesy and respect by the practitioner for the receiver.  
  3. Both styles require manipulation of muscles that have hardened and tensed due to labor intensive occupations. 
  4. Both styles require a combination of physical muscle manipulation, stretches, and pressure on energy points.

The Differences

Northern style of Thai massage has a stronger Asian Indian influence, which means greater focus is given to the elements that are taken from the Indian massage techniques found in Yoga and Ayurveda.  Physical manipulation and stretching are the focus for relieving tension. On the other hand, Southern style Thai Massage has a greater Chinese influence.  This puts more emphasis on the essentials of Thai Massage taken from Chinese acupressure.  The focus is more on the energy pathways (Sen Lines), and opening up the energy channels.

However, this does not mean that Northern Style is more vigorous in comparison to its counterpart. Northern Style also emulates the cultures and people of Northern Thailand that are more laid back and gentler than those living closer to Bangkok.  Northern Style is normally gentle and slow – a great way to relax and unwind after a hard day’s work.

Southern Style is usually more stimulating, reflecting the drive and energy of the people living close to Bangkok.  It is refreshing and a good choice if you are planning a night out or an afternoon adventure later on.

Both forms of Thai massage are typically completed in the traditional Thai setting, on a floor or a mat, or on the massage table, which is a western addition. When completed on a massage table it is known as the “Thai Table Massage” or “Table Thai Massage.”

Even though the two massage forms have their own personalities, most Thai massage therapists use a more holistic approach. They are trained in several skills and each massage therapy, is tailored with a focus on each individual’s needs. When choosing a massage therapist or spa, make sure you read about them over the internet and go through their reviews. It is important that the therapists have experience and are highly skilled to avoid injury.