Spirit of Thailand

Spirit of Thailand

Culture, Relationships,
Thai Massage, Traveling

Thailand Land of Massage

Thai Massage in public
All you need for Thai Massage is a mat and an open space somewhere

A  few days ago I went to a local stationery store here in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and there, in the middle of the floor, was a blanket spread out, and someone was doing a Thai massage session for one of the people who worked in the store. They must have needed it badly!

Nobody seemed to think that there was anything unusual about this picture, and customers simply walked around the impromptu massage setup. When I mentioned that I would like a massage also, everyone in the store erupted with appreciative laughter.

Thai massage therapist relaxes her colleague
In Thailand people are not shy about massaging each other in public

Today I went to a restaurant for dinner. There were no customers inside, but an unusual scenario was happening. One of the restaurant cooks was lying face down on one of the wooden benches in the dining area.

The other cook (both female) was standing on her co-worker’s thighs and was walking up and down her legs and buttocks while clinging to the curtain next to her to keep her precarious balance.

When I walked in on this scene, all the employees broke out into heart-felt laughter. I told them to go right on doing their massage, which they did. The restaurant manager was right there and did not take any issue with his employee’s extracurricular activities. Imagine such a scene in an American restaurant!

Thai massage in the park
Thai Massage can easily be done in a public park

I have seen similar scenes countless times in Thailand. In all my travels I have never seen any country where spontaneous massage was happening  as naturally and frequently as in Thailand.

Thai Massage therapists can set up shop anywhere: Either temporarily on the beach, on the sidewalk in the middle of busy markets, on rickety wooden platforms during festivals. And there are lots of established massage shops at fixed locations all over the place where you can get a one hour session for $5.-

beach massage at Thai resort on the island of Ko Lanta
Beach massage at Thai resort on the island of Ko Lanta

On the higher end there are lots of fabulous spas with gorgeous decors and beautiful settings. There is no valid excuse to not treat yourself to lots of bodywork in Thailand.

Massage in Thailand is often a very public and social activity. Since Thai Massage is done fully dressed, there is no need for private massage rooms. Many times people will gather around a massage session-in-progress, chat, eat and watch. Nobody thinks that there is anything strange about that.

foot massage at Chiang Mai Sunday Market
Foot massage at Chiang Mai’s Sunday market at night

This easy availability of massage is one of the  most enjoyable aspects of living in Thailand. Thai Massage is not considered a luxury like in the West. It is often seen as a necessity to maintain good health, and as one of the good things in life that many Thais treats themselves to on a regular basis.

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image of the the author, Shama KernThe author, Shama Kern, is a long time resident of Thailand and the founder and director of Thai Healing Massage Academy, a major provider of online training courses for Thai Massage

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CLICK HERE for a FREE introductory Thai Massage video series

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Related Reading:
Learning Thai Massage in Thailand
How To Pick a Thai Massage Therapist in Thailand
A Collection of Weird Massage Stories

3 thoughts on “Thailand Land of Massage”

  1. i have gone to proper massage parlor in thailand bangkok and it was life time experience. onehour of massage brought great relief

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