So, after being beaten up in groups, on aone-to-one basis and completely without outside intervention, our bodies werein need of some repair. And that is where Thai Massage comes in handy
Rather like Starbucks on the UK high street,massage parlours are everywhere in Thailand. Every third building will houseone (the other two buildings will be a laundry and a minimart, with food and bike services tacked on the side). Thegoing rate for a one-hour thai massage is around 250TB (£6) which is less thanit probably costs you to say hello to a therapist in the UK.
There are some crucial differences betweenthe British and South East Asian versions however, and it’s worth knowing thesein advance, to save on awkward cultural clashes (if you’re a fan of ‘Carry On’style hilarity, feel free to skip to the next post).
First up, the parlour itself. Put any white robe and dolphin music spa idylls to the back of your mind, this is most likely going to look like someone’s front room. In fact there’s a good chance that it is literally that, and you might have to wake someone up from where they are napping to serve you (Thais don’t have too much embarrassment when it comes to sleeping in the workplace).
The massage“bed’ is likely to be a foam mat with a sarong type scarf laid over it, and theroom will probably house quite a few mats and other customers.
Before you baulk at the idea of stripping inpublic, let’s talk about the next point. Thai Massage is clothed. The masseusemight leave you alone for a minute to settle in, but she won’t be chuffed toreturn and find you sporting a hand towel and a smile.
In terms of what to wear, something loose ispretty much the only sartorial consideration. Occasionally a massage place mightprovide some Thai fisherman’s trousers (one size fits all wraparound affairs)but in general baggy shorts, track pants and t shirts/vests are all good, tightbooty riders, lycra running gear (too slippery) or anything that gapes open andexposes your crotch easily are all bad.
The looseness isn’t just a comfort issue.What many people don’t know is that Thai Massage is quite an active procedure.The concepts behind it combine manual stimulation with energy channels and thelike, but the reality is that you will be doing second-hand yoga, with thetherapist twisting you into various positions and using her hands, feet, legs,knees and elbows to hold you there. Those various limbs will also be used toprod and knead regions you might not know you had, and at times during themassage would probably wish you could forget.
Cracking noises are not uncommon,sighs and whimpering are also acceptable, and in the right circumstances caneven be taken as a compliment by the masseuse.
Some masseuses will tailor their trade to amore Farang-friendly gentle level as a matter of course, so if you fancysomething extreme it’s worth mentioning at the beginning of the session, andmaking diving style “A-Ok” gestures when they go to walk on your back. And for the masochists/martial artspractitioners amongst us, bypass the pretty slender therapists and headstraight for the older, chunkier models, chances are they’ve had a lifetime ofsadism and will know what they’re doing.