06 March 2006

Thai massage - it's a scam!!!

I should mention that, while in Bangkok, I did have the opportunity to experience traditional Thai massage.

No hanky panky, mind you... Just PROPER Thai massage where they make you wear something that looks like a cross between old pyjamas and prison clothes while an old aunty literally kicks the shit out of you.

Now, you know how massages are *supposed* to really hurt? As the massagers knead all of the knots out of your muscles? Well, it's good, except for the fact that my arms and legs were fine anyway.

It was also supposed to loosen up my back and neck, which I'm sure would've been great after a long day, but I was fine beforehand.

The head massages were also supposed to release the stress and headaches which supposedly plague the inner sanctum of my skull, and it would have been brilliant if I actually did have a headache - which I didn't since my job can hardly be described as stressful.

If that was the case, why on Earth did I end up in a massage parlour in Bangkok with some lady flinging me over her shoulder like a roti canai?

It's simple, really - because it's *supposed* to be good for you. If you're already fine, it's supposed to make you finer. Only it didn't (not in my case, at least).

In fact, all I really ended up with was a stiff neck:


I guess if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

BUT... But I've had massages before, even while I was feeling fine. And almost every time, I came away feeling much better - looser, lighter, straighter, longer, etc... But each time, it was either Swedish-style massage or Japanese Shiatsu. Yes, they didn't last two hours long (which the Thai massage did), but they didn't hurt either.

In fact, it actually felt pretty good in the middle of a Swedish/Shiatsu massage - you can feel yourself unwinding and falling asleep. And when you wake up, you feel like a million dollars.

In contrast, I was close to screaming most of the time during the Thai massage, as I was being stretched, poked and twisted out of shape.

Which brings me to the point of this rant - I think that Thai massages are a big scam!

You see, if you come out of a massage parlour and don't feel anything, your compatriots will probably blame you instead - for not relaxing properly - or simply accuse you of being to much of a simpleton to appreciate the finer things in life. Uncultured, so to speak. After all, it can't possibly be the masseur's fault - they're pros and Thais have a reputation for being some of the best masseurs in the world.

And that's the thing... it's all just reputation. Somehow, traditional Thai massage has garnered such a God-like stature that, no matter how inept the masseur was, she/he did a great job because it hurt like hell and the ceasefire thereafter (i.e. not having someone jam their knuckles into your bones) feels like heaven in comparison.

That's rubbish!

And now that's done, I'll have to rush home to do some packing. Flying off (again) to catch the press junket for the following film:

Watch this space.


max said...

Wrongly administered massage techniques can cause more bodily harm than you care to imagine.

Avoid them like the plague. I wouldn't touch them with a barge pole.

Mel said...

I agree with Max. Like I told u that day when we were out, massage is more than just a body rub. Administered correctly, it can sooth many aches and improve blood circulation. Nodal points are connected to other parts of your body and vital organs. A good massage should improve overall wellness.

Conversely, a bad one will have the opposite effect. Perhaps next time you should get some recommendations as to which massage parlour to go to before you try it. Normally 5 star hotels have good masseuse....not sure about airport ones :(

Chris Chong said...

Mel: The place I went to in Bangkok was supposedly a high-class, professional place - that was the place that left me feeling no different.

But yes, the one at the airport probably did my neck in (which is fine now, BTW).

Max: You have a barge pole?