What is Nuat Thai?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 10 October 2019
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Nuat Thai is a type of massage that was first used centuries ago by Buddhist monks. It involves using both pressure and compression to balance a person's energy. When a massage therapist performs Nuat Thai, he or she works to ease the receiver's body into certain postures and stretch the muscles in ways that are typically difficult or impossible for the person to do on his own. Nuat Thai is often nicknamed the lazy person's yoga and is said to leave the receiver feeling both tranquil and full of energy. It is also said to increase flexibility.

Nuat Thai is typically performed in a comfortable room, which may be softly lit and subtly decorated. Usually, there is a large, soft mat on the floor and pillows may be used as well. The technique begins with meditation followed by light touches along the body's energy channels; eventually, the pressure is increased to stimulate energy movement. The receiver is positioned slowly as pressure is applied, which serves to stretch knots of tension. Numerous twists, movements and stretches are used to leave the receiver at ease and energized.


Nuat Thai incorporates prayers and spirituality, nutrition, herbs, and hands-on techniques. Considered a form of Vajrayana yoga, this massage method is said to create a wholeness that balances the mind, body, and spirit. It's supposed to not only create a wholeness in the receiver of the massage technique, but also in the practitioner. Energy is said to flow between the practitioner and the receiver during these massages, creating a session that is mutually healing.

Nuat Thai was developed from traditional Thai massage. Anthony B. James, Ph.D. is credited with transforming it and adapting it for use in the United States and European countries. It involves rocking, deep stretches and compression. It also incorporates mindfulness into the overall experience. It is said to be helpful for pain relief and stress reduction. Nuat Thai may even be helpful for rehabilitation in some cases, and its practitioners state that it is nurturing and calming.


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