From time to time everyone likes a good massage, and Thailand is one of the best places to have one. So we decided to try the famous Thai massage, that everybody talks about. Spoiler alert: it was well worth it. It was like nothing that we have done in Europe which was a total surprise for me…
I’m a physiotherapist so when I have a massage, I try to figure out what the massagist is doing. No, a physiotherapist is not a massagist, but we do know the massage techniques with the goal of producing effects such as an increase in blood circulation and reduce pain. But frequently the main aim of a message is to produce relaxation and wellness. In a Thai Massage, everything is different, from the techniques to the process used.
Why is a Thai massage so special?
A traditional Thai massage uses compression and stretching techniques. There are no oils and no soft tissue (skin and muscles) gliding. A Thai massage generally involves treatment of the whole body and it can take 1 or 2 hours. The massage is done dressed, with loose clothes which the massage center provides.
The first part of the treatment includes washing your feet. Usually, the session is in open spaces, on floor mats, with other people. In some spas or resorts, you have your own space and privacy, but that comes with a price.
Thai massages are used as a therapeutic technique, they believe that it releases blockages along the energy lines of the body (sen) which is influenced by traditional Chinese medicine. During the massage, the technician uses their elbow, forearm, foot, and knee to do the massage.
The massage consists of compressing, cracking and pulling articulations, and stretching muscles in a rhythmic sequence. Every part of the body is worked (feet, leg, arms, head, back, and neck) in different positions, sometimes in stretching positions (yoga-like). Keep in mind that this is not a relaxing massage, in some moments you will feel very relaxed and during others discomfort and tension in your muscles.
However, by the end, you will feel relief, the sensation that your whole body worked and even pain mitigation. The Thai massage session ends with a nice hot tea.
Where to have the Massage?
The big question remains: where should you do the massage?… There is a big offer, and you can find massage centers everywhere. On the beaches, in the night markets, every city has several options. Some even have beautiful girls on the door with a provocative dress. Do not confuse a Thai massage with a sex service, sometimes Thai massages are associated with a happy ending Massage. Although Thai massage has nothing to do with it, it is a traditional medicine so try to find qualified professionals.
Despite the joke one the title, we wanted a place that was professional and gave good massages, but at the same time, we wanted it to be cheap, in other words, the best value for money.
So we chose one with good reviews in TripAdvisor and had plenty of people in the door (not always an indicator of being good). We did the massage in Chiang Mai in the Women’s Massage Center by Ex-Prisoners. Now we can recommend it to you! They provided a good professional service. Overall it was an interesting and pleasant experience.
Keep in mind that a good massage depends a lot on the person who gives it. My massage was rougher and Jorge’s was softer. Massages in Thailand are very cheap they vary between 200 and 400 baht, so you shouldn’t miss the chance of doing one. Or several…