On my last day in Chiang Mai, I realized that I had had an embarrassing amount of foot massages, including one by a prison inmate, but had not indulged in a traditional Thai massage. There was no way I could possibly leave this country without being able to say “I got a Thai Massage in Thailand”. Though instant withdrawal symptoms may have ensued, the feet nurturing had to be put on hold for at least an hour.
A Thai massage is usually done on the floor using a deep massage and stretching technique that was developed in Thailand. Sounds soothing.
I had never had a Thai massage before. For that matter, prior to learning about the relaxing pleasure of the foot massage, I was not a massage fan at all. I just don’t like random people invading my private bubble. And it kind of freaks me out when the room is pin-drop quiet, except for the masseuse’s deep breathing. I have some issues.
I had been having bargain $4.00 foot massages my entire three weeks in Thailand and on my last day it was time to splurge. I headed over to the hoity toity Fah Lanna Spa and just the impeccable grounds outside told me this would be meorable.
Walking into the lobby brought me into a different world, one that was serene, with no views of the hustle and bustle of Chiang Mai’s city streets. I ordered a one hour Thai massage for 400 baht ($12.00 usd). Expensive by Thai standards, yet a steal for this California lady.
There was a simple questionnaire to be filled out to indicate the appropriate amount of pressure and problem areas; medium pressure and left shoulder.
A medium pressured Thai massage can’t be that bad, right?
I was led across the planked bridge, over the brilliant green water and to a small cottage at the end. They supplied me with comfy clothes and sent me to a two person room, but I was the only person. I laid in the middle of the thin mat on the floor waiting for the masseuse to come.
This is going to be nice.
She entered, we exchanged pleasantries and she began to work. There was no smelly oils, soothing music or water fountains, just hardcore bodywork.
It wasn’t long, maybe 30 seconds, before I realized that medium pressure meant pain for me.
Ouch! I am pretty sure my leg is not meant to be twisted in the air like that.
For the next hour I was uncomfortably poked, pulled, twisted and rubbed, my body put into positions it hadn’t seen in years or ever. Even when she inquired about the pressure level, I muttered that it was fine through my clenched teeth. She let out a small chuckle and carried on.
After an hour my Zen was gone, but it was no fault to Fah Lanna, the blame was solely on my stubbornness. Every fifteen minutes the masseuse checked in with me and each time I gave at least a nod to say carry on. In my mind I thought the benefits would be better with a deeper pressured touch. But, that may just be something you need to work up to.
With all that said, I would have a Thai massage again because having someone else work on making me limber is much better than doing it myself.
Upon leaving I noticed their slogan: “easy to find, hard to forget. Ain’t that the truth.
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