If you've ever gone for a massage - and I mean a remedial massage - to relieve tension and stress, you have a general idea of what is involved. If you've had a proper Thai massage, you will know exactly what I mean, but for those who have never had a Thai massage in Thailand, I bring you MY rendition!
I was rather apprehensive about what kind of massages one was being offered on the streets, so opted for a couple at the resort instead. I'm not sure that was such a great idea now, but it certainly was a learning exercise.
The first massage I booked was for a neck and shoulder massage. I arrived 15 minutes early - good etiquette... and was given a cold, scented towelette and a glass of ice cold pomegranate juice. A few minutes later, my massage therapist collected me and in broken English asked me if I needed to use the bathroom before our session. I thought it was a little strange at first, but reconciled that it probably made sense since I had booked a 90 minute session. I declined regardless.
Once in my private room I was told to sit down, while my therapist sat on the floor directly in front of me. She took both my feet and placed them in a stainless steel bowl with hot water in it and began to wash my feet. It looked and felt like she was using a mix of course salt with herbs, and it felt great. Her hands were soft and for a brief moment I wondered whether she was strong enough to massage me effectively, but only briefly.
I was then given a pair of disposable underware and told to strip off completely, don my new undies and lie down on the table, face down. When my therapist returned to the room, she clarified that I was having the neck and shoulder massage, then I settled my head into the hole in the table and took a deep breath, fixing my eyes onto the purple bouquet of orchids strategically positioned just below the table with a view. I wondered if that was a subtle way of collecting drool or if the orchids were actually scented.
My beautiful young Thai therapist began at my feet, pouring oil into her hands and gently rubbing it into my very obviously calloused feet. Then she started pressing her thumbs into my heels and I was able to realize her strength - she had hands of steel! I was determined not to show her that I was in pain, so took a deep breath and held it until the pain subsided.
She moved up to my calf muscles and within seconds I was in excruciating pain. My muscles went into involuntary spasm and I gritted my teeth. Another breath - shallow this time because if I didn't take full control of my breathing, my therapist would hear the rasping pain that was about to escape my chest and would surely exit like the breaks of a ten-ton truck on the downward spiral of a freeway. I kid you not.
I could feel her sharp little elbows as they ran their course up and down what remained of my calves. Little drops of sweat dripped into the drop-tray beneath my face - I wasn't entirely sure if it was indeed sweat beads or tears, but it was evident now as to the reason for the orchid bouquet.
More inflicted pain as the little bitch climbed onto the table and dug her unattractive spiny elbows into my hamstrings with the force of Moses. This time she was really getting stuck into her routine of pain giving and torture. My eyes had rolled right back into my skull and I now had a different kind of pain to contend with. Have you any idea at all how difficult it is to concentrate on involuntary eye movements, pain thresh hold, dripping sweat beads (which were now causing the liquid in the orchid bouquet to over-flow), a spikey, spiny bitch taking pleasure in her torture ritual and the now almost loss of bladder control? Sweet Mother Mary!
My face was screwed up in agony, and just when I thought I could handle no further pain, the fecking hard-assed bitch was climbing onto my back with her boney knees digging right down to my precious bladder. If you've ever pressed your fingers into a piece of raw animal liver and noticed that when you press hard enough, your fingers will eventually touch each other - you can imagine what was happening to my insides as the nasty piece of Thai flesh dug herself into me, leaving no part of my body untouched. Still, I refused to show my pain and reveal my weakness.
Breathing normally was no longer an option for me, I was in fact barely breathing - this time it wasn't from the pain, but by the sheer fact that by now she was baring down on my chest region and it was impossible to extend my lungs at all. I felt like an emphazema sufferer, gasping short shallow bits of stale air - struggling to expell the old, yet definitely finding it impossible to replace the carbon dioxcide with fresh air. In essence, I was dying - a slow calculated death. This little bitch definitely had it in for me!
I was about ready to release my final breath and let the gods receive my sweet and pure soul when Hitlers little helper asked me: "Madam, everything is okay?". I was incredulous. Dumbstruck. Ready to give up, yet from somewhere deep within me, a voice replied: "Yes, of course. Everything is just dandy". There was no way I'd allow this four-foot Thai torture machine to beat me!
After what felt like an eternity, the four-foot, 250 kilogram hulk climbed off my back and I began to feel the blood re-enter my body and consequently, life returned - albeit very briefly. All my senses were heightened. I could hear what sounded like boiling water, and I could hear Hitlers little helper fiddling with something. I took a deep breath to replenish that which had been taken from me earlier on. A faint bell rang and then I could sense my torturer was near...
She pressed something against my calf muscles very briefly and when she lifted it, I could feel heat settle on my delicate skin. A poultice. A very hot one at that. She continued to press it into my skin all the way up my back and over my shoulders. The poultice must have been steam heated because the heat had an after-burn that bit right into my flesh. My face screwed up into a painful grimace and that liquid drained from my face again. This time I wasn't able to fight the agony. I screamed out in pain and a tiny voice hollered out, "ooohhh, sorry for pain madam". She immediately dug her thumbs into my burn spot to add insult to injury. This time I could feel a tear drip from my eyes.
She leaned down, lifted my towel and instructed me to turn over, bearing all my vulnerability. I was broken and immediately obeyed her. I really had no option - it was clearly 'do or die'. A towel was placed over my face - clearly no surprises here, she definitely didnt want me to see the happy expression on her face as she continued to inflict pain on me.
My personal pain giver poured more oil over the front of my body and began to massage again. She included my throat, which caused my entire body to tense up, then she moved to parts of my chest - I kid you not - and she ended her ritual by massaging all my internal organs back into place (a necessary task, since she'd totally moved them out of alignment when she was knee walking up and down my back.
Another bell chimed and Hitlers torturer instructed me to keep my eyes closed. She sprayed some kind of liquid over me and then she told me she was finished and I need to get dressed.
When the torture was over, she took me to an outside balcony overlooking the resort with chairs and an infinity pool directly in front of me. She sat me down and gave me a cup of hot liquid to drink. It smelled like ginger and I was definitely not going to drink that - who knows whether it was a poison potion or not?
Believe it or not, the little runt didn't go near my neck or shoulders, yet this was a shoulder and neck massage, and believe it or not, since I wasn't very satisfied with the disastrous first massage, I actually booked another!
I'm such a sucker for punishment!
Feel free to share your stories on your massages here.