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Home / Secrets Of Thai Massage / Thai Herbal Compress Massage: 5 Ways It Is Truly Amazing

Thai Herbal Compress Massage

5 ways its truly amazing
08 july 2023
5 mins read

Thai herbal compress massage uses a unique combination of spices and heat to relax and invigorate the body and mind. It soothes sore and tired muscles while boosting energy and reducing inflammation.

© Thai Nee Spa, 25 The Square, Kenilworth, Warwickshire CV8 1EF

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What Is A Thai Herbal Compress Massage?

Herbal compresses or luk prakob in Thai (literally “pressing herbal ball”) have been used in Thailand for hundreds of years alongside traditional massage. Some records even suggest it was used to treat soldiers returning from battle as long ago as the 14th century. We can be sure that Thai herbal compress massage has been a part of Thai Traditional Medicine for at least 700 years.

A Thai herbal compress massage uses a muslin or cotton cloth containing a mixture of herbs and spices like lemongrass, ginger camphor and kaffir lime as well as other aromatic plants. These are tied into a ball with a stem and steamed for 10-15 minutes to release the medicinal oils of the plants. After cooling a little they are applied directly to the body in order to promote healing.

The herbs and spices are full of therapeutic benefits. They can help to restore your body’s health by easing pain and healing bruises. They soothe the skin by opening pores and bringing heat to the muscles which helps relaxation. The aromatic oils also help calm the mind and ease anxiety.

Thai herbal compress massage is often combined with traditional Thai massage. This is best described as like having assisted yoga. Any tension present in your body will be gently stretched away. The overall effect of both is completely amazing.

Medicinal Properties Of Herbs And Spices

Herbs and spices are wrapped in a muslin or cotton cloth called a pinda and steamed to release the natural oils. Different kinds of herbs and spices can be used, depending on the condition being treated. The most commonly used are:

Thai Herbal Compress Massage | Pinda And Herbs

Kaffir lime (known as markut) helps detoxify the blood, promotes oral health, improves digestion, reduces stress, and reduces inflammation.

Plai (zingiber casumar) helps relax muscles and relieves muscle pain.

Zedoary (khamin oi) helps reduce anxiety, stress and indigestion.

aromatic oils

The combination of warm oils and steam opens the skin pores which helps your body absorb the natural herbs.

Lemongrass (takhrai) reduces the growth of bacteria and yeast. It can also help relieve pain, inflammation and fever, and balance cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

Turmeric (khamin chan) aids in reducing inflammation and as a detox. It has properties that may reduce the development of certain cancers.

Naat (camphor) relieves pain, helps improve breathing and treats some skin conditions. It has anti-inflammatory properties. Also stimulates the heart and brain while reducing emotional stress, anxiety and insomnia.

Tamarind (makham), can be beneficial for those with cancer, diabetes, or heart problems. It is also good for body detox and has anti-inflammation properties.

Cumin (khamin) can help with diarrhoea and fight bacteria and parasites. It may also help control cholesterol and blood sugar levels and has anti-cancer properties.

The heat from the compress helps relax muscles, reduces tension, and increases circulation. The aromatic herbs have analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties which are used to reduce pain and swelling.

The combination of warm oils and steam opens the skin pores which helps your body absorb the natural herbs. Conditions such as sore, tight and painful muscles, backache, stress, anxiety disorders and migraines often experience almost instant relief. Patients, of course, also feel relaxed and positive after a Thai herbal massage.

The 5 Top Health Benefits

There are numerous health reasons why Thai herbal compress massage should be a part of your wellness routine. Here are the top five benefits.

1. Pain relief

Herbal compresses work well to reduce pain and swelling. The heat and pressure from the compress helps to increase blood circulation to the affected area. This can alleviate pain and reduce inflammation. The compresses also contain herbs that have anti-inflammatory and pain-reducing properties. This can provide extra relief.

2. Relaxation

Herbal compression therapy is extremely relaxing and can reduce stress and tension within the body. The heat and aromatherapy of the compress can help to calm down the nervous and calm your mind. This can promote a feeling of deep relaxation.

3. Improved circulation

The heat generated by the compress will increase the blood flow to the area that is affected, and therefore improve circulation. This can provide many benefits including the reduction of muscle tension, healing, and an improved immune system.

4. Detox

The herbs used to make the compresses have detoxifying properties that can help remove toxins. This can improve overall health, well-being and immune system.

5. Better skin

The skin is helped by the herbs and spices used in the compress. They improve the look of the skin and reduce inflammation.

Thai Herbal Compress
Massage Table And Candles

What Is A Thai Herbal Compress Massage Like?

Imagine the air around you filled with the rich aroma of spices as a massage therapist gently soothes away your aches and pains. Imagine what the rest of your day will feel like after this experience!

A Thai herbal compress massage typically begins with a traditional massage that includes deep acupressure and stretching, followed by the herbal hot compression massage.

The muslin balls, or pindas, are filled with health-promoting herbs and steamed for 10-15 minutes before being applied directly onto the skin.

the experience

It feels like an incredibly relaxing massage, especially with all the amazing smells released from the herbs and spices.

The moist heat penetrates deeply into the tissue while soothing any tension and soreness or inflammation present in the muscles or skin. The hot steam also helps open up the pores, allowing the therapeutic benefits to be fully absorbed.

The therapist moves the herbal compress using gentle circular motions, gently dabbing and rocking the pindas all over your body and finishing with the face. Particular attention may be applied to the Sib Sen lines of the body to help unlock trapped vital energy.

Professionally administered treatments are tailored specifically to each client’s condition. Anti-inflammatory herbs like lemongrass, kaffir lime and turmeric help treat various issues while tamarind enhances skin complexion and camphor stimulates heart and brain activity while relieving emotional stress, anxiety and insomnia.

The unique combination of specific herbs and heat used in a Thai herbal compress massage works to relax and invigorate the body and mind, soothing sore and overworked muscles while boosting energy and reducing inflammation.

It feels like an incredibly relaxing massage, especially with all the amazing smells released from the herbs and spices. The heat allows the therapist to go deep into the tissue to tackle stubborn knots with minimal pain compared with say a deep tissue massage.


Thai herbal compress massage therapy is a part of Thai traditional medicine and has multiple physical and psychological benefits. While it is often used for pain reduction and relaxation, it also improves circulation, detoxifies your body, and improves skin health.

Herbal compresses are believed to be an ancient Thai tradition that originated in India. Ayurvedic healers brought the knowledge with them alongside the spread of Buddhism. Thai Traditional Medicine (TTM) is an array of natural treatments that include elements of these Ayurveda practices and Traditional Chinese Medicine.

In Thailand, TTM treatments are used for both therapeutic and rehabilitative purposes, with herbal compress massage being approved and added to the National List of Essential Medicines. As such, it is held in high regard for its effectiveness as a treatment.

Research into the clinical effects of Thai herbal compress massage1 showed the treatment was more effective than standard therapy in patients with osteoarthritis and muscle pain. It can also be used as a treatment to induce lactation in postpartum mothers with low or no natural milk secretion.

Thai Nee Spa offers custom herbal compression treatments tailored to each of our client’s needs. Thai herbal compress massage is an exquisite experience that will relax, relieve tension and alleviate physical discomfort. It is an amazing and very effective way to relax and unwind!


  1. Clinical Effects of Thai Herbal Compress: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis, 12 March 2015, from Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 2015, Article ID 942378.
  2. Jacobsen N., Salguero C. P. Thai Herbal Medicine: Traditional Recipes for Health and Harmony, 01 February 2014, from Findhorn Press.
Paul Lloyd


paul lewis lloyd

Copywriter, WordPress and SEO for Thai Nee Spa.
Paul graduated in Biochemistry from Dundee University and studied for an HND in Graphic Design and NVQ Level 3 in Aromatherapy Massage. He is a long-term practitioner of hatha yoga and meditation.


I am Darunee (also Thai Nee) owner of the spa and VTCT qualified Thai massage therapist. It is my pleasure to welcome you to Thai Nee Spa.

We are a Thai Massage and Relaxation Therapy Centre based in the historic town of Kenilworth in Warwickshire.

Darunee Hunt

Further Reading

16 aug 2023
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A shocking statistic is that between 70% to 90% of all doctor visits are for stress-related ailments. That makes managing stress a top priority when it comes to creating better health.

10 may 2023
04 mins read

Traditional Thai massage is a healing practice using rhythmic pressing and stretching of the body with roots that go back to the time of the Buddha. 

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