A visit to the Land of Smiles is famous for many reasons – food, culture, scenery, adventure and, of course, spas! That’s right, Thailand has one of the most well-established and popular health spa service industries in the world.
Along with a wide range of Ayurveda treatments incorporated from India thousands of years ago, the Kingdom boasts a variety of unique local treatments as well. Today we’re going to introduce you to the top three: Thai Herbal Compress, Four-Hands Massage and Traditional Thai Massage.
If you’re keen to give these treatments a try, a spa treatment in Bangkok is an excellent idea as you’ll find a vast array of facilities – from five-star to no-frills – dotted across the city. They will be able to offer a service to suit any budget or request. So, without further ado, let’s explore this trio of relaxing therapies.
Thai Spa Herbal Compress
Known variously as Herbal Ball Compress Massage, Hot Herbal Ball Massage and Herbal Stem Massage, this uniquely Thai herbal treatment is used to soothe and relieve pain and inflammation. Some believe that hot herbal compress massage originated from local folk medicine and recipes were passed down from generation to generation for thousands of years.
The compress used is called lukprakob and contains select herbs with therapeutic qualities, such as plai root, ginger, turmeric, kaffir lime, bergamot, camphor, tamarind and lemongrass. This mix of herbs is wrapped in a cotton compress, then steamed (in bamboo or electrical steamer) and when hot, applied to the body by pressing, gliding or smearing in circular, linear and/or rolling movements. The heat penetrates and relaxes sore muscles while increasing blood circulation.
As mentioned earlier, this technique has a variety of health benefits, such as stress relief; relaxation; alleviating fatigue; soothing muscle, tendon and ligament pain; increasing emotional and physical wellbeing; increasing lymph and internal organs’ stimulation; and improving blood circulation.
A Four-Hands Massage involves two therapists working simultaneously to create a choreographed massage experience, unlike any other. If you ever wanted to visit Nirvana here is your chance! The dynamic flow of two massage therapists working together in harmonious synchronicity is an experience that is difficult to match and has to be experienced to be believed.
Although originating from ancient Ayurveda practices, the Thais have adopted and perfected this therapy to make it their own. Akin to the ‘royal treatment’; the two therapists simultaneously massaging your entire body will give you the most intensive massage of your life, focusing on whichever muscles are troubling you most.
This treatment is highly recommended for those who prefer a lot of bang for their buck and might be short on time. Get double the relaxation for the same amount of time!
Traditional Thai Massage
Called nuadrachasamnak, which translates as ‘court massage’, and formerly only offered to members of the royal family and nobles, there is a good reason that Traditional Thai Massage has gone on to become the most popular spa treatment in Bangkok and around the world.
The traditional Thai massage is different from Western massages as it mainly focuses on circulation and pressure points, which help promote internal health and regain ‘balance’ in the flow of energy (chi/prana) in the body. It achieves this through the application of rhythmic compression to energy lines and points together with deep stretching, improving circulation throughout the body. This kind of Thai Massage is richly rewarding; it can relax, energise and assist in relieving many common ailments.
This type of treatment is also known colloquially as Thai Yoga Massage because the recipient is placed on a mattress on the floor and the practitioner will use his/her whole body – hands, knees, legs, feet, bodyweight – to stretch the muscles and release pressure in the body. As no oil is used in this massage and considerable movement is required, the recipient is required to be fully dressed in loose, comfortable clothing.