Looking for a good massage in Chiang Mai?
There are literally hundreds if not more massage opportunities and salons scattered in and around Chiang Mai, with again a choice of different types of massage techniques and styles varying between traditional Thai massage, oil massage, foot massage and the more obscure soapy body to body massage parlors. In this article on massage in Chiang Mai we will address and try to explain different options of massage techniques and places for you to explore, however since there are so many opportunities to go to, it is without a doubt impossible to try them all out without turning out like a well kneaded, deeply oiled, happy and extremely relaxed farang driving around on a motorbike, smiling like a monkey in a mango tree.
Let’s start with the origins of Thai traditional massage
It’s up for debate on how and when exactly traditional Thai massage (Nuad Phaen Boran) has got its origins from, but the most common belief is that it traces it’s origins back to India and Theravada Buddhism. Yoga and Ayurvedic medicine have been around for 2500 years and they are closely associated with Buddhism. Historically there always was was a place and time for traditional massage in Chiang Mai.
The technique of traditional Thai massage has been passed on for generations by means of word to mouth, until 1832 when it got carved into stone by King Rama III at Wat Pho in Bangkok where 60 carved epigraphs showing the front and back of the body are still on display today.
The principles of Thai massage
The life force or energy flow is also known as “chi” that circulates throughout the body to maintain health and vitality and that can be unblocked by massaging and adjusting muscles, clearing pathways and stimulating internal organs to create and improve overall well-being.
A solid, proper traditional Thai massage should take for about 2 hours in which you will be compressed, stretched and pulled into various yoga-like positions, hopefully by someone who knows what he or she is doing. The whole process usually takes place on a mat on the floor rather than on a raised table, wearing loosely fitted clothing.
After two hours of suffering you definitely feel reborn, it is said that this technique was used to prepare soldiers of yore to go back into battle the next day, but for those of you that are not attracted by the words stretching and pulling or maybe you don’t have to go to the battlefield the next day there luckily exists something like oil massage…
A variety of massage techniques to choose from
This is, by all means, a lot more relaxing than the pulling and stretching of traditional Thai massage, usually in most places you are welcomed with herbal thee, soothing music and an overall relaxed atmosphere.
Oil massage depending on the places you visit usually takes place on a raised massage table or on a mattress on the floor wearing nothing but a towel around your waist, where you have the choice of being gently rubbed in by different massage oils and products. For most people, this is the more popular and relaxed option to have a massage.
It is said that the best oil massage is given by blind elderly women, however, I’m pretty sure that you can feel relaxed and rejuvenated by younger and non-blind masseuses as well. It all depends on the training and dedication that has been passed from older teachers. It requires passion and patience as most sessions last for at least 1 hour. Without proper training this would be very exhausting for anyone doing massage. And in the end, if someone less experienced is massaging you for a while, you can actually feel that massage only helps if it is done properly…
This form of massage can be quite unpleasant if not done properly, in most cases you will get your feet and chins rubbed in by tiger balm and later massaged and probed by different wooden tools that look like they will not feel out of place in some kind of a medieval torture chamber.
However… this technique is very effective for different kinds of medical conditions and problems that one might have. By applying pressure on different zones in your feet that are connected with all parts of your body, well-trained masseuses can help or even cure many malfunctioning conditions.
You can find foot massage opportunities on almost every street or Soi in Chiang Mai.
Body to body massage
Although this is a very pleasant way to receive a massage, it is very personal and not commonly available in most of the massage salons. In fact, many or most of massage salons and masse
uses will be insulted if you pose the question, so if you are interested in body to body massage you will have to look for the more dodgy, soapy massage parlors.
Usually, this very arousing method of massage starts with being bathed by the masseuse of your choice. You get laid down on an inflatable air mattress and the masseuse will use not only her hands but all of her body to massage yours, this is done with a mixture of slippery made paste/gel and water.
Whatever kind of massage you prefer, you will definitely find it in Chiang Mai
Many places offer different packages and massage techniques like e.g hot stone or Swedish massages, honeymoon packages, massage courses and more and if you are looking for a good massage in Chiang Mai.