My last course in university for my Recreation and Tourism Management degree was a field school to Malaysia for a few weeks in 2002. After the field school, a friend, Lynette, and I stayed and travelled to Thailand. We were joined by a third classmate, Karen, for the first few days. When we got to Thailand, Karen was brave enough to try a Thai massage and reported back that the massage therapist and stretched her body, pulled it, and even put her foot in Karen’s butt and lifted her arms back and her body off the ground. Didn’t sound like relaxation or very therapeutic to me; more torturous than beneficial, so I passed on the Thai massage.
I have been living here in Thailand for almost three months now and have been to a few massages, but Karen’s description stuck with me and I had still opted for an oil massage instead of a Thai massage. Been three times and each time too much of a chicken to give it a go! My last time I went for a massage, I was on vacation with some coworkers. My friend and coworker, Carlee, was in the bed beside me and she opted for a Thai massage while I safely chose and enjoyed my oil massage. But it seemed Carlee got pretty much the same massage but she was clothed and no oil was used. Perhaps a little more physical manipulation of her body,but it didn’t look as scary as I had worked it up to be in my mind. And Carlee raved about how good she felt after and how relaxed she felt.
So, last weekend I was in Phuket for the vegetarian festival and the weather changed to a complete downpour and flooded the streets. I headed to the fancy and expensive western mall thinking I would watch a film at the movie theatre. The timing of the movies wasn’t working, so I wandered around the mall feeling a bit lost and disappointed with my day. Then, I spotted a government sanctioned Thai Massage School that offered massages. Seemed to be a calling as it could be a Thai cultural experience like I was seeking but clearly of a totally different kind. I thought for about thirty seconds and mustered up my courage. So, I took the plunge! Thai massage – let’s give it a go!
I had often gone to the massage school back in Victoria, BC, Canada, and found it best to ask for students who were late in their program. The cost in Canada to be worked on by students is so significantly reduced. At this Thai school, it wasn’t listed as reduced, so I asked if I could not have a student. Ask and ye shall received – my request for a non-student was met. The cost was 350baht which is about $12 Canadian.
The place is dark but relaxing with gentle soothing music playing, a small water fountain, and comfy couches to wait on. I was soon taken to have a foot soak and change from my trusty birks to standard issue plastic jandles. Bright green Angry Bird ones, even! Lucky!
I was lead to a small dark room with a table with a head hole in it. The other massages I’ve had in Thailand didn’t have proper massage tables so I have to admit I was thrilled to see this! I was told to change into a super soft lovely set of Thai clothes: fishermen pants and a loose tunic. I did and then wasn’t sure how to lie down as there was a hard support pillow and a towel over the hole. I was fumbling to decide sitting up on the bed when my therapist returned. She moved the pillow, rolled up and placed the towel strategically around the face hole and invited me to lie face down.
The massage was good. Lots of kneading and some cupping, stretching my body and moving my limbs. I don’t recall her putting her foot in my butt, though! It was very therapeutic. Kind of like a chiropractic appointment and massage combined. It was so interesting how she was able to create the right amount of sliding and friction with these slippery clothes on; she sure did. My body was manipulated somewhat and it ended with her sitting behind me and my upper body leaned back against her. I enjoyed it a lot. Not too crazy but very relaxing.
I will have to try another at my usual place as I feel that it might have been a mellow version… Will update it a go!