So I went for a traditional Thai massage last night. Everything they say about Thai Massages are true – it was fantastic.
Traditional Thai massage is dating back to ancient times over 2,500 years ago. Like the origins of the Thai People themselves, the history of traditional Thai massage is obscure. Thai massage is influenced from Indian, Chinese, and Southeast Asian cultural spheres and traditions of medicine. Thai Massage presses and stretches muscles and balances energy levels. This is what affects flexibility and equalizes the effect of muscles on both sides of the body. Thai Massage is better than western massages and is much more then a physical experience and goes into your core and your energy fields to result in a full body relation not merely muscle stimulation.
Thai massage starts at the feet and progresses up to the head. It Uses a sequence of gentle, flowing exercise movements, in which your body is moved, loosened and stretched. The massage influences the energetic side by restoring the flow of energy throughout the body, so your body will be harmonized and energized.
A girl from France, Maya, took a group of us since she has been in Thailand since September so she knows the ropes. We went to a little place across town for a 1 hour long massage that cost only 100 Baht = $3. When we got there the place looked kind of dingy. But do not judge a book from its cover because from the outside it was great – toy stuffed elephants everywhere and bright orange silk cushions, dim lighting, pretty smells of lilac and ginger, and soft thai music playing in the background. The ambiance could not of been more enticing.
We were called to the back room, and we arrived at these mattresses on the floor. On the bed was a pile of folded clothes you are required to changed into. Thai massages are completed over the clothing, not naked and oily. So we eat started that change into these clothes – the pants are extremely large and do not have draw strings. One must tie the pants in bundles with the strings attached. It is an artform you must master. We changed – with no change rooms, or curtains, just us, and the new clothes. It was a bit of a clown act really – watching 5 foreigners of mixed genders and nationalities, struggling into these clothes while trying to to expose ourselves. Since the Thai people always have a smile of their face – it was not visible if they were smiling at our nifty clothing maneuvers. I assume they were – cause I was suppressing laughter.
After the cloth changing maneuver, you lay down on the mattress, take a deep breath, and be pampered in relaxation heaven for an hour. They start by washing your feet, since feet are considered dirty in Thailand, and then started massaging my feet and legs. In Thai Massage, body weight is used for pressure instead of making use of muscle power. This makes the right body balance and a good understanding of body mechanics important for the massage-r.
At first, two of the guys I was with, were next to me, and they received their massages before I did. So I watched while I waited since Thai massage fascinates me and I would like to learn. But then it became awkward to watch. While lying of your back, the masseuse place their hands just next to your groin and put pressure there. After I received my massage, I realized it feels great, but it is an awkward position to watch other be in.
So after they worked all the pressure points of your feet, legs, arms, hands, neck, and head, they move on to stretching your body. The stretching feels great and it is nothing like stretching at the gym where you feel pain. The movements and stretches are fluid and have just enough pressure so you feel it. My favourite stretch was one where I was sitting cross legged with my hands behind my head like I was being arrested and the masseuse had her arms between mine in a pretzel lock. She then twisted me sideways and back. It was the best back crack I have ever experienced! It started at my lower back and went straight up – every single vertebrae received special attention with a wonderful pop sound.
Traditional Thai massages are extremely affordable in Thailand and are a great way to relax and have a full-body experience. And after a long day at the beach, or shopping in the markets, a Thai massage is an excellent way to end the day.
Just avoid any Happy Ending Massages. That is plain tacky.