I’m not one for massages, it has to be said, but until you’ve had a tiny Thai lady jumping on your buttocks and bending your legs behind your ears I’d suggest that you haven’t really experienced massage in its entirety.
On my coldest-weekend-in-Spain-for-twenty-seven-years trip last week, the hotel very kindly threw in a traditional Thai massage so my friend and I could have a proper experience of the spa element. The massage begins with the therapist washing your feet in hot water – I have to say, I hated that element – it just doesn’t feel right to me and although I get that it is supposed to be the cleansing and bonding part, it’s all wrong in practice. I was just embarrassed. However, we were quickly moved on to a double room; something of a surprise since I had never expected to see my friend, Wendy, with her limbs extended far beyond their natural reach, and nor she mine. We’re English and therefore far more easily mortified than any other nation!
I can’t fault the therapists; I opted for a ‘hard’ massage – in for a penny and all that. Both therapists were delightful; very kind and actually very intuative in their technique. But, having no clue about Thai massage, I really wasn’t expecting to find my legs in what I can only describe as a frog-leg postition.. I didn’t even know they could do that. They do some clever flicky things with your arms that mean they just move in a fluid way into a stretch and the same for your legs. There’s an element of the massage that involves the therapist kneading your buttocks with their feet.. it’s odd, let me say, but the ultimate result of the massage was that we were both like boneless chickens at the end of the hour, flopping about with limbs so stretched, folded and relaxed we could barely move.
Thai massage uses ancient traditions and each therapist will do things a little differently to tackle pressure points, lengthen the muscles and release tension – there must be a detoxifcation element as well because both of us kept having to go to the loo for some time afterwards.
My default stance for massage is to get away as soon as I possibly can; in this instance, my body was barely capable of doing the short walk to the relaxation area and we both fell asleep by the pool, swathed in towels for warmth. I’d recommend it in a heartbeat, although my fear of er, escaping air, didn’t leave me throughout… I mean, it could so easily happen with one leg twizzled to the other side of your body…
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I’ve heard before that Eastern massage techniques are nothing like what we’re used to in the West. The bendy Wendy stuff aside, it sounds like it did you a lot of good.
Oh I love thai massages, but the best ones there is are the swedish massages. Try it!