Thailand, like any other country, has it’s stereotypes. America is known for fast-food and it’s loud people, and Thailand is known for it’s beaches and massages, to name just two. I’ve never had a Thai massage, so when our Bangkok hotel offered hour-long massages for just under $10, I thought it sounded great. I really wanted to relax after many, many hours of travel. But a Thai massage is not your average massage.
I arrive to the hotel-room-turned-spa, and am handed a pair of clothes to change into. Probably a one-size-fits-all set, as they practically fell off. I lay down on the mattress face down, and hear the masseuse return. She’s friendly, with little English, and looks quite strong, I notice.
As the massage begins, I begin to relax. The sound of instrumental music, the smell of the aromatherapy, and rhythmic massage of my muscles was about to lull me into sweet slumber. And then I became vaguely aware that she appeared to be climbing onto my legs, and working her way up them. Weird, yes. Uncommon, no. I also had a blind massage in China, and they beat the snot out of me. I was prepared for rough. I was not prepared to be bent like a pretzel.
Apparently, Thai massage incorporates a lot of stretching of the muscles, as opposed to merely rubbing them. Something I was clearly unaware of, when she arched my back OVER herself. And just when I thought I couldn’t take anymore, she stands up, bends my legs, and pulls my arms up, folding me literally in half. I about died while trying to explain “I don’t bend that way!” I think it was lost in translation.
My husband had a massage as well, and I could only sympathize with his groans of agony and cracking of his back as she bended him and stretched him into pretzel like positions as well.
All in all, a good experience, although unexpected. I wouldn’t call it a massage so as much as I would call it “forced yoga”. But I’m sure it won’t be my last massage in Thailand, that’s for sure.