On Thai Massage

Traditional „Nuat Thai“ is practiced throughout the country and for those who never had the experience, the term „massage“ is actually a misnomer. The stretching, pulling, and pounding might better be called „bodywork“. (Copyright 2014, upeka.net, All rights reserved). It focuses heavily on feet and legs, probably because historically Thai massage helped ease the pain and the exhaustion of rice farmers who would often attend their rice paddies standing for many hours. For the newcomer, it is difficult to discern quality Thai massage from inferior imitations. Unfortunately, many of those masseuses offering their training in tourist areas have had little formal training in it, and cases are known where the enthusiasm have lead to injuries, leaving customers limping for days – or even worse. Sometimes the masseuses seem to want to impress their customers by inflicting pain, as if this somehow would testify to their abilities. (in this situation, requesting the massage to be „bao gwa“ – more gentle, might be indicated). In reality, the situation is different, and expert „nuat thai“, actually leaves one limber and refreshed. Traditional Thai massage is often conducted in a communal room with customers being separated from each other by curtains. Unfortunately, some Western customers seem to think that all other patrons enjoy overhearing their small talk as they chat up their masseuses. Please remember that this is not the case. Common courtesy suggests that if necessary at all, one communicates during  the masseuse in a quiet fashion. One potential problem comes up at the very beginning of the session. Before the „massage“ starts, the masseuses will come to your stall with a warm bucket of warm water, a brush, and a towel, and will want to wash your feet. Obviously, this makes sense, given the hot, humid, and dusty environment. Also, feet are considered the „lowest“ part of the human body, not only in the physical sense but also metaphorically, and hence, a cleaning ritual before the massage start  makes sense from this perspective as well. However, as the bucket and the brush are used with a multitude of clients the conditions are ripe for passing on fungal disease (athlete foot). The masseuse would rightfully consider it to be rude if one were to object to the foot washing ritual, as she masseuse would be forced to work on your dirty feet. One way around this is to shower first. Most massage shops will have shower stalls, and your masseuse will definitely appreciate working with a clean body. By taking a shower first you will avoid the „fungi bucket“. Those further concerned may consider packing a quickly drying towel that can be found for a few dollars in the camping section of any of the major department stores and are thus in the position to avoid the towels provided by the massage shop, guesthouse, or hotels. As washing machines in TH and throughout Southeast Asia use only luke warm water, perfect for spreading organism of all kinds, using your own towel makes sense.

One thought on “On Thai Massage

  1. Hosting Deutschland

    Massage is amazing and you get your moneys way worth everybody s extremely nice Linda has amazing feet and hands they really help the body the place is clean quiet and humble

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