Massage in Thailand!
One of the joys of visiting the Land of Smiles is a Thai massage. For the price of a coffee and cake ‘back home’ you can enjoy a mesmerising hour having your body pampered and comforted, and then emerge refreshed, energised, and ready to get on with the rest of your holiday—but what should you know and expect for your first Thai massage?
First, relax, the girls who do the massage—and 99% are girls—are there to take care of you, and to pamper you. So, relax. Next, your big decision is to decide just which massage you want. There are about a half-dozen choices, with a few options.
You can start with something easy, a head and shoulders massage—which is exactly what it says. An hour of having your head and shoulders firmly massaged. This will annihilate away any headache you might have, loosen your muscles, and smooth away distress. You will walk out into a new world.
For this, you will sit in a comfortable chair in a massage parlour. There is usually mood music and aromatic scent in the air. Sit back and close your eyes. You can chat to your girl, but it is perfectly acceptable not to. Up to you!
Another option is a foot massage. A foot massage is exactly what it says. Your feet will first be washed in warm water, then covered in oil, and perhaps with perfume, and then firmly massaged. Aches and pains—gone.
From here we move to a full body massage. Again there are several choices. A Thai massage is akin to a sports massage. Your body and limbs are pulled and pushed. The girl may even walk on your back (not as stressful as it sounds). It will get painful, and you will emerge feeling a little twisted and turned, but you will certainly be more limber—though it may not feel that way at first!
A more pleasant decision is an oil massage. Here your body from head to foot is massaged with warm oil. You can opt for scented. This is relaxing—very. After an hour of warm oil, soft music, and contentment you will re-enter the noisy outside world with a profound shock.
If you totally enjoy you can book two hours, or even two hours with two girls!
Most massages conclude with guided stretching. Your girl will pull your limbs and body back and forward, stretching your muscles. This is a little painful and will strange at first, but it is part of the routine. Relax and go with it.
Full body massage
For a full body massage you will lie on a mattress on the floor or on a table, but first, disrobe. You can lie naked with a draped towel or wear shorts. Your choice, but the naked option is easier.
There are variations with all of these. Some parlours offer herbal massages, which is oil with a herb or two. Offers offer combinations, a two-hour long mix of two different massages. More upmarket parlours include western styled beauty treatments, such as waxing and pedicures.
Massage on beach in Thailand
A variation on this is a beach massage. Here you can have your feet and or shoulders massaged while sitting in a deck chair on the beach. Lookout in Pattaya or Phuket. Something a little different is that your masseuse will scrape away the dead skin off your feet. Ouch! No. The scrapping takes place after your feet have been soothed and comforted. It is painless and slowly done. Your feet will emerge looking and feeling baby smooth!
One difference is that the beach massage girl is freelance. She and her mates wander along the beach seeking customers. Therefore there is no fixed price. Perhaps 300 baht for an hour ($10), however, your girl may ask more. Up to you to negotiate!
In massage parlours, prices do not vary a great deal. A one-hour massage in a local massage parlour is around 300-400 baht — $10. The same massage at an upmarket 5-star hotel will set you back $50. In the end, the massage is about the same, you are paying the extra money for the high-thread count sheets and the better quality ambience music. Your choice.
One other aspect of the price, if your girl does a good job, give her a tip. For a tourist, how about 100 baht ($3). Few masseuse girls will ever be rich, and some support families. $3 can be a big help.
These are massages carried out by blind women. They are offered at a few specialised massage parlours here and then in the Kingdom, and at a few Buddhist temples. Blind massages give a person with a disability a chance to earn a living, and it is something of a different experience being massaged by a blind person. If you have the time and inclination give it a try. (remember to tip)
Massage is a central feature of Thai culture that stretches back centuries. There are massage parlours on every street corner, you will have no trouble finding your favourite. Track down a parlour that looks appealing to you. Enter, and discuss just what you want with the manager. You can then select a masseuse or the manager can recommend. Different girls have different specialities.
Learn Massage in Thailand
If you find that you do indeed enjoy massage you might be bitten by the bug, and want to learn just how it is done. There are massage courses available. Most of the big temples in Bangkok run courses, some in English for foreigners, and there is numerous private business offering different levels of training. Prices vary, but 10,000 baht ($300) is the starting price.
You must try at least one massage when you are in Thailand. Most find that it quickly becomes part of their daily routine. It is the best way to relax and to be renewed!