For years I’ve enjoyed treating myself to to the occasional stress reliving aromatherapy massage. We all love a good shoulder rub after a long week. But, since my first visit to an authentic Thai massage parlour recently, I will NEVER book a regular massage again. Ever! With the delicate looks of a beautiful Asian doll, and the moves of a relaxation ninja, a Bangkok born beauty took my Thai massage virginity. And, there’s no going back…
What to have?
Looking at the price list, I’m torn. It seems the Thai Massage (the one commonly associated with pain) and the Oil Massage (the one your partner used to give you half-arsedly while you were dating) are two separate treatments. Hmmm. Obviously when money’s involved I want to go for something I know I’m going to enjoy – like choosing from a fancy restaurant menu – but I’m determined to try Thai. The smily receptionist suggests TWO hours. Apparently so my masseur can combine both experiences. Indulgent I know, but to quote Carrie Bradshaw… “Once your in the door, you may as well shop”. My two hour maximum stay parking ticket is now ticking across the street.
Leaving shoes (and daylight) at the foot of a candlelit staircase, I’m ushered into my single room and left to undress. Moments later, another much younger petite Thai woman (named Anji, as I discover later during the awkward initial face down convo) entered to find me stood in my bra & pants checking my phone. “Bra off too please.” Oops.
The wave of embarrassment quickly dissolves as my naked chest finds the bed, and my whole body gets hidden under a massive soft towel. This is the point where it gets a little weird. Why is she massaging me through a towel?? For the next ten minutes (a rough guess) she kneads my legs – ankles to thighs. Then, to my shock, I realise this stranger is now ON the bed with me! I hadn’t even felt her clamber up. Swiftly done. Knees positioned between my thighs, her little hands started massaging my ass, full weight behind them. This chic payed more attention to my butt than my fella has in years… and he’s an ass man! It surprises me just how normal AND great it actually feels. I didn’t realise our asses could be so stressed! Hence the towel to start with. I get it. Now I’m starting to relax.
But not for long…
Her foot finds it’s way to my lower back and she’s tugging both my wrists back into the air. While in some kind of two person yoga pose, she tells me I’m ‘flexible’. Though I’m flattered, inflexibility didn’t seem to be an option at this point. For nearly two hours Anji maps my entire body with a series of unfamiliar stretching (limbs all over the place!) mixed with oily deep tissue massaging. The session is repeatedly alternated like this, while she teleports up and down (and on) the table. Unlike massages I’m used to, I couldn’t predict where my body would be targeted next. Just when I think she’s all done with my legs and has moved on to tackle the knots in my shoulders, before long, she’s down at my feet again, rubbing and pulling at my toes. My body friggin loves the unexpected joy of it!
My only wince of anxiety since arriving nearly two hours ago, came the moment Anji went to wash her hands before the grand finale, a head massage. Darting my eyes around the room I spotted a tiny clock. 17:05. “Shit!” My parking time was up, NOW. I slam my eyes shut again as I hear the door swing. Without saying a word she unravels my hair from its band and with the tiny woman’s freakish strength, she lifts my shoulders. Giving them one last kneading before firmly circling her fingertips around my face and scalp. I feel myself giving in. This is immense. They could of towed my car away at this point, I wouldn’t of give a fuck.
Instead of leaving with the usual dozy content feeling I get after a massage, my body feels relaxed and free, yet energised. The combination of the Oil and the Thai have relaxed my muscles and got my blood flow going. Driving away I try and decide what to do with the rest of my afternoon. There were only two options equally appealing. Take a nap, or go to the gym. I feel like a new woman…
And, no, I didn’t get a parking ticket! Hurrah! : )
I’ve never been to Thailand, but would encourage anyone thinking of trying a Thai massage to book one now! I’m genuinely converted. Some people might be put off by the idea of a ‘painful massage’, but from my experience, it wasn’t painful at all. Just body challenging at times (in a good way). They stretch & twist you to get at all the kinks and loosen you up while using the oil to soothe muscles you. What a great way to spend an afternoon.
I’m sure there are tons of amazing Thai massage shops nationwide. I went to Nuad Thai Massage, Ruislip.
Special thanks to Jack & Lisa (my lovely brother-in-law and his girlfriend) for my birthday gift voucher!
Main image credit: asian-escapes.com