Frequent Thai massages may be one of the best parts of spending time in Thailand. They are cheap (compared to Western prices) and they twist you like a pretzel if you are lucky.
My first Thai Massage
Here is a play by play from an experience that I had on April 16, 2009
Last night my Thai roommate, KK, wanted to get Thai massages. I was all about it.
We went to a neighborhood parlor (no Engrish) that she heard was good and only 200 baht for 2 hours (about 6 bucks).
I told KK that my favorite masseuse back at home was a big Romanian dude at Sundara who gave very hard massages, so to hook me up with someone who is going to make it hurt-but in a good way.
KK dutifully translated my wishes and we were shown to our shared mat area and changed into the sweet garb they give you.
An older woman comes into our little curtained area and speaks Thai to KK as she covers us in blankets. She is obviously a veteran of the massage industry so I was excited when she started rubbing my feet (I thought maybe she was just the blanket lady).
Excitement soon turned to horror
She was doing some messed up shit with my feet, like digging her fingers into joints and the crevice of my ankle. I started to squirm a bit, but kept my mouth shut.
When the Hitler of Thai massage moved to my legs and started to rip my calve muscles off, I started to make obvious faces and body movements that would indicate pain.
She giggled and asked KK to ask me if it hurt. I was like, “it feels awkward”-dumb of me, I should have screamed, “YES!”
The beating continued and I just told myself that this was for the best and that I would feel great when she was done. There were numerous times that “kurwa!” was on the tip of my tongue.
At one point when I was laying on my side and she was kneeling on my shoulder blade which caused my lungs to be compromised- I did let out a yelp.
My life flashed before my eyes
She was standing on the back of my legs and walking up toward my bum and then walked back down.
I thought, ‘if this beeatch puts all of her weight on my knees, I’ll be in a wheelchair for the rest of my life’. Luckily she did not, but the torture continued all over my body.
The scalp massage was scary and she found this spot behind my ear and dug her finger in so deep that I’m pretty sure she touched brain. OWWW!!!
Now remember, this is a TWO hour massage. I was thinking, ‘I can never do this again, I’ll have a panic attack going into it just knowing the pain that is eminent.’
I was wondering how the little old men that went in at the same time as us could stand this or how little Thai ladies could apply so much pressure.
I’d rather pay more for 1 hour and not have tears in my eyes.
As all good friends do, I was also thinking of when my friends come to visit and how I can’t wait to send them off to get a massage.
The final blow was when she had me sit up and she was digging- I mean DIGGING, into my shoulders with all of her weight. My facial expressions would have made me a YouTube phenomenon.
As I laid there while KK finished up, she asked me how I felt. “Like I just got beat-up”, I groaned. She responded with, “well you said you wanted it hard.” Wait. So the ripping off of my muscle tissue was not necessary?
She told me that downstairs she told them that I wanted one “hard”. So when the woman came in she had asked, “who wants it hard?”
There were numerous times I was about to tap out while I was laying on my little mat.
The OG of Thai massage was laughing when my body would twinge and convulse in pain and my hands would go into a fist. I later found out that she was saying, “ราชอาณาจักร?” (tickle? hee hee).
So in the end I felt good about the situation because my Thai massage career was not over, I just knew not to ever say “hard”. Let that be a lesson to all of you.
If you are looking for a good massage parlor, ask a local. Get out of the main tourist areas and go where the locals go- it may be in the back of some random beauty salon, but that is where the magic happens.