On Koh Lanta beaches you’ll regularly hear “hello masaaage?”. You can normally choose between oil & Thai massage, but what’s the difference?
Oil massage mainly concentrates on relieving tension in tissues and muscles. It’s nice and relaxing, and you could easily fall asleep, especially with the fragrant oil smell and the sound of the waves lapping at the shore.
Modern Thai massage is a bit more of a workout than this!
It’s more energetic than oil massage, but also more therapeutic for the body. Thai massage operates on the theory that the body is permeated with “lom” (air) which is inhaled into the lungs and travels throughout the body along 72,000 pathways called “sen” (vessels). Typically, Thai massage therapists will manipulate your major sen lines by pressing certain points along the lines. A significant part of the practice of Thai massage also includes yoga-like stretches which are intended to stimulate the sen and move lom through the body via a pumping action which is connected with your breathing
You can have a 1 hour Thai massage, but for full benefit you should have 90 minutes or 2 hours. The session includes rhythmic pressing and stretching of the entire body; this may include pulling your fingers, toes, ears, cracking knuckles, walking on your back, and arching you into bhujangasana (or cobra position). There is a standard procedure and rhythm to this massage, and your masseur will employ a variety of techniques, using hands, knees, elbows and even feet.
So go for it! Although it sounds painful, it doesn’t actually hurt. If your masseur is applying too much pressure, just ask them to go easy, as you would with any other type of massage. Its a great experience and you’ll feel amazing afterwards.