Thai Massage is a beautiful thing. It just might be a bit different from what you’re used to.
We’re spending the week in Thailand on a press trip with the Tourism Authority of Thailand (follow us on Twitter #amazingthailand) and today we had the pleasure of a 2-hour massage at Rarinjinda, a 5-star boutique wellness spa resort.
Ladies, I’m telling you, it was nothing short of amazing.
The staff are incredibly friendly and the facilities are top-notch. We have an action packed 10 days here, but I’m quite sure this will be one of my favorites.
But, Thai massage is far different than traditional Western massage. So, if and when you visit Thailand, I thought I’d fill you in a bit with the things you should know about Thai massage, so you don’t get surprised.
1. First, They’ll Wash Your Feet
It’s kind of strange to have someone soaping up your feet and legs, but this is how Thai massage will typically begin.
2. You’ll Be Asked To Change
But into another set of clothes they’ll give you–you won’t strip down and wait on the bed like you would elsewhere. You should also expect that your therapist will at some point be climbing on you, whether on your back or your shoulders and certainly on your table.
3. There’s a Fair Amount of Yoga Involved
You’ll be stretched and pulled in ways you didn’t know you could with a Thai yoga massage. And popped, too! They’ll likely pop your toes, and it’s almost guaranteed that your back will crack as well. Your masseuse will stretch you and put you into positions quickly and easily.
4. Yeah, it Kind of Hurts
Because the focus is more on stretching and relieving pressure, your masseuse will press firmly along the lines of your muscles and that hurts (especially, for me, in the inner thigh). If you can’t handle it, ask them to go softer. It’s no fun if you can’t enjoy it and you certainly won’t offend anyone in asking.
Say “Bow Bow” for lighter, or “Knock Knock” for harder
5. Remember to Relax
Breathe through the pain, keep your muscles softened and relax and enjoy. Thai massage also tends to be a bit more “personal” than Western massage, in that areas like your inner inner thighs and hips may be pressed, which can be a bit strange at first. Relax!
Thai massage is a wonderful, if not essential, part of any trip to Thailand and it’s extremely affordable.
Once it’s over, your entire body is relaxed and you can really enjoy. There are thousands of small mom-and-pop massage shops, but I STRONGLY recommend going to a spa or a more upscale resort where the staff is well-trained at preventing injury. (Rarinjinda really was amazing–they give you mango and sticky rice afterwards!! Bonus points!)
At Rarinjinda, a 2-hour massage will cost you about $40.
You can find a massage for much less, but again, the yoga and the popping can lead to big problems if your masseuse is untrained.
Here’s One Last Tip: a full-body massage will focus largely on your leg and thighs and less on your back, shoulders and arms. If you are hoping more for deep tissue shoulder and neck massage, request a shoulder and neck massage instead, or ask them to focus there.