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  1. Donn Chongsiriwatana says

    Some pointers if it is your first time visiting a spa or massage shop in Bangkok:

    1.) If you are doing a Thai massage, they will give you a set of pajamas to change into. You are expected to use them as it makes massaging and bending you a lot easier. Please keep your clothes on as well (unless you’re in a different kind of spa off the conventional tourist grid).
    2.) don’t talk loudly and please turn off your phone (obvious but you’d be surprised by how inconsiderate some people can be).

    3.) for foot massages, the masseuse will start by doing a wipe down of your feet with a towel or scrub your feet with a brush in a basin of warm water. Thais consider the feet the lowest part of the body and they must be cleaned before they are worked on. For head and shoulder massages, the masseuse will ask for your permission to touch your head out of respect since the head is considered the highest part of your body.

    4.) the typical pattern for a Thai massage session starts from the feet, then moves up your body in zones, finishing with work on your back and head. It is ok to ask the masseuse beforehand to focus on particular areas that you are experiencing discomfort.

    5.) many people find Thai massage to be rather painful due to the pressure put on certain points on your body (particularly one move that presses on the inner thighs to temporarily stop the flow of blood to your legs). A good masseuse will be constantly checking you for feedback so make sure you tell them to lighten up if they are hurting you. It is not unusual for some bruising to occur the next day particularly if you have fair skin.
    6.) for beginners, it is probably better to start with a foot, facial, or head and shoulder. Then if you like it you can try the 1 hour Thai and progress to the 2 hour thai.

    7.) tipping- I get this question a lot. Your masseuse escorts you to the cashier and waits to send you off at the door. Generally tip about 10-20% is very generous. So if your message is 300 baht, I’d say tipping 50-60 baht will make you a superstar in the eyes of your masseuse.

  2. Laura says

    One of the main differences between a Thai massage and the massages performed in other regions of the world seems to be the fact that the client wears clothing during the massage. As you probably know from experience, during a Thai massage, the masseuse bends and stretches different parts of your body, while also using pressure points and manipulating blood circulation at different stages. There are also no oils or lotions used during a Thai massage, which is a key point of differentiation.

    The amount of training required largely depends on the type of accreditation being pursued. According to the government-accredited ‘Thai Massage School, Thailand,’ Foundation of Thai Massage, Thai Massage Enhancement, Therapeutic Thai Massage, and Comprehensive Thai Massage 3 certificates take 90 hours of training. Intensive Professional Thai Massage levels 4 and 5 require 150 hours and Thai Massage Teaching Certificates require 300-600 hours.

    It is also my understanding that Thai massage techniques are also something passed down from generation to generation. While this may not always be the case, it is my understanding that it is quite common for mothers to teach their daughters traditional Thai massage techniques. While this form of teaching would not come with any formal accreditation, it will most certainly ensure an authentic massage!

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