My first day on the job in Thailand to explore Asian beauty secrets and.. I woke up with a stiff neck. A very stiff neck.
I ignored it, and drove my motorbike down the highway, looking for interesting places to explore. Nothing was getting in my way.
About 20 minutes into my ride, I pass by a little shop and hear a woman yell to me, “k̄habkhuṇ kha!”(which means “thank you” in Thai). I decided to listen to my instinct and stop.
And her shop was.. a massage studio!
I guess there’s no escaping fate.
Credit: Studio Momo Youtube Channel
Thai massage is what I imagine happens when couples yoga meets massage. It’s a dry massage usually done while clothed, where the masseuse not only helps find and release points of pressure in the body, but also stretches with you as a partner in the massage. It feels more intimate because the masseuse is on the table with you the whole time, working with you, not on you.
Thai massage is extremely popular, even in the US. It’s so popular because when done properly, it gives a full relief of tension, so Thai massage is great for those of us who sit and stare at our computers all day (me, me!).
One disclaimer: This is not my first Thai massage. I discovered Thai massage a year ago, but still think it’s worth reporting on, especially while I’m in Thailand, getting the real deal!
Once I was clothed in their cotton garments, she asked me to lay face down on the table. Just like every Thai massage I’ve ever received, she began by turning my toes toward each other and pushing down on my feet, which I know now is called a “foot press” and looks like this corny stock photo (this feeling the the BEST).
She worked up my legs, using the palms of her hands to push and release. It almost looks like a happy cat, when they work their paws to knead.
The masseuse works her way up your legs, to your back, and arms. She then has you flip over to massage the front of your legs, stomach, chest, neck and head. I’m a little sensitive to the inner-thigh kneading, but they always insist that it’s necessary.
Another favorite move of mine—that mimicks the starting move on your feet—is a move where the masseuse holds down your hand by your wrist, and push on your shoulder, pushing it onto the table. For someone that’s slightly crouched over her computer all day, it feels amazing to have my shoulders pushed back straight against the table.
Toward the end of the massage portion, she not only gave me a rough scalp massage, but she also pulled my hair. I wanted to tell her to stop, but since I was doing this “for science” (aka for the blog), I felt obligated to endure it. It felt strangely relieving, but a little over the top. This is the first time I’ve had my hair pulled during a massage, so I’m not exactly sure if this is part of the routine or not.
Then comes the final yoga portion. I love this part.
First you interlace your hands behind your head, and the masseuse puts her knee in your back, at the base. She pulls your body back over her knee, then returns and places the knee a little higher and repeats all the way up your back.
Staying with hands interlocked, she twisted my body slowly then quickly to the right, then the left. My back was loving this.
In other massages, I’ve also had legs or arms pulled up or down with the therapist. It’s a lot of stretching and contorting that can feel uncomfortable when you’re on the table.
The massage always ends with neck stretching and shoulder massage in a sitting position. Typically the therapist will use her forearms to stretch out the shoulder from the neck. The ending of a Thai massage always gives me chills.. it’s just so darn good!
I left this massage feeling rested, relaxed, and.. toned!? I always leave a Thai massage feeling like I actually just did yoga. I didn’t. But I feel like I did! And that’s a good feeling.
Thai massage is amazing because you can feel the tension releasing as they knead your body. It’s not like Swedish massage, which can easily become light touch for circulation flow. It’s rough, but without some of the excruciating pain that comes with a Chinese massage.
I have tried every type of massage for my chronic neck and shoulder pain and tension headaches. I’m telling you—Thai massage is the best. I still stand by cupping for the occasional body cleanse, but Thai massage is my weekly workout.
I’m encouraging all of you boss ladies to get out there and try it! You’ll thank me later.
Have you tried Thai massage before? What was your experience?