I've had some pretty amazing massages in my life, but the Thai massage therapists here are masters. In Thailand, massage is an important part of the culture and considered a necessary part of wellness and body care. The reasonable cost of massage is also a very attractive feature and makes the weekly massages possible for me. A two hour massage in a nice, local place (not the fancy spa places) is less than $20, including the tip. Prior to this trip, I've not had a full Thai massage.
Following the long days of computer screen time, while writing my book, I'm convinced that these massages are really therapeutic, not just a feel good experience. I've had a Thai massage at the end of each week, and they've really helped. I could literally feel the release of muscle tension, especially in my neck and shoulders, but also in my feet and legs.
I find the chart of the pressure points on the feet and the corresponding body parts to be fascinating. There is much that the therapists have to learn here, and in case you wondered, there is licensing oversight. They have a comprehensive knowledge of the body and uncanny feel for the energy flow. And they have really strong hands and good endurance. My recent therapist said she usually gives 4-5 massages in a day and on weekends more. It's hard work, but my therapist believes it is good work and she likes it. She's a healer.
Traditional Thai massage is done while wearing comfortable, loose clothing. Thai massage is meant to go deep into the tissues and it can even be painful at times, especially if muscles are tight. Of course, if at any time there is sustained pain, letting the therapist know, she/he will immediately let up on the pressure. It has been my experience that the good therapists usually know just how much pressure and for how long it is needed to release blockages. What pain there is doesn't last long and usually the area feels much better after the pressure has been released.
The ancient knowledge and techniques have been passed down from parents to children for many generations. Thai massage is also closely linked to Ayurveda, Yoga and Chinese medicine. Working on the energy flow in the body and loosening blockages, pressure points and compression are used to warm up the body before the stretching is done. There is lots of passive stretching of the body. I basically just had to lie there and relax, and the therapist does the rest.
Unlike a Swedish massage or typical oil massage, it's not likely that I'd ever fall asleep during a Thai massage. Thai massage therapists use palms, forearms, elbows, knees, feet and toes to manipulate and relax your body. I was certainly relaxed and felt good, but I was not lulled to sleep.
This week, I decided to try the Thai Herbal Body Scrub and Oil Massage. It was a heavenly treatment, and my skin feels so much softer and fresher. Some of the compression, pressure points and stretching were used, but not to the degree of the traditional Thai massage. I'll be going back to my usual 2 hours Thai massage at the end of next week.
Likely it's much more expensive wherever you live, but if there is a good Thai massage therapist you can find, even at a higher expense, it is well worth it.
Sending You Love from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Thank you for taking this journey with me!
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