The efficacy of traditional Thai massage for the treatment of chronic pain: A systematic review

Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2015 Feb;21(1):26-32. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2015.01.006. Epub 2015 Jan 31.


Rational and background: Traditional Thai massage (TTM) is an alternative medicine treatment used for pain relief. The purpose of this paper is to provide a systematic review of the research about the effects of TTM on pain intensity and other important outcomes in individuals with chronic pain.

Methods: We performed a systematic review of the controlled trials of the effects of TTM, using the keywords "Traditional Thai massage" or "Thai massage" with the keyword "Chronic pain."

Results: Six research articles met the inclusion criteria. All of the studies found a pre- to post-treatment pain reductions, varying from 25% to 80% and was also associated with improvements in disability, perceived muscle tension, flexibility and anxiety.

Summary: The TTM benefits of pain reduction appear to maintain for up to 15 weeks. Additional research is needed to identify the moderators, mediators and to determine the long-term benefits of TTM relative to control conditions.

Keywords: Chronic pain; Thai massage; Traditional Thai massage.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Pain / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Massage*
  • Medicine, Traditional*
  • Thailand