Travel Miscellany

Ancient northern Thai healing practices at Anantara Chiang Mai Resort

Reviving Northern Thailand’s centuries old massage and aromatherapy techniques, Anantara Chiang Mai Resort has introduced two rare therapeutic treatments, ‘Yam Khang’ and ‘Yajoo’, both with longstanding historic roots connecting guests with the region’s rich Lanna heritage.

‘Yam Khang’ or Thai Fire Therapy is an ancient Lanna tradition, considered a sacred art where the therapist is required to have gained a high spiritual maturity. The treatment is done by using the feet only which are first bathed into healing oil infused with mixed local herbs. The therapist then slips her foot onto an iron plough shear or ‘khang’ that has been heated over an open fire, then skillfully balanced, she massages the guest with one foot only.

With a strong tradition of rice cultivation, farming communities in northern Thailand have been using a cast iron plough (khang) for centuries which is attributed with mythical properties whilst being an indispensable part of farming life,


The Yam Khang 60-minute treatment is priced at THB 4000. As the treatment uses an open fire, it is done outdoors next to Anantara Chiang Mai’s stunning pool on the banks of the Ping River.

Moving into air-conditioned comfort the ‘Yajoo’ treatment utilises the healing powers of the local herb ‘plai’ to ease tension and deeply relax guests. The 90-minute treatment begins with the heating of an herbal poultice, giving off a fragrant aroma, that is then pressed along the body to ease pain and inflammation. A plai oil massage follows, ending with a light head massage and Tok Sen. Tok Sen involves a wooden hammer being tapped along your Sen energy line, relaxing the muscles, healing chronic pain, and improving the pathways of the nervous system.

Anantara Chiang Mai’s 90-minute Yajoo therapy starts at THB 3,500++ and includes:

  • Relaxing foot soak
  • Foot pressure therapy using tok sen wooden hammer
  • Application of a plai poultice, heated over an iron plate, to areas of concern
  • Full-body massage with plai oil using long, light strokes for deep penetration
  • Light head massage and tok sen back massage using a wooden hammer