There’s nothing as good as a massage to unwind, recharge and rejuvenate. Asia is a mecca for massages. From luxury five star hotel spas to shady backstreet massage parlours – there’s a multitude of invigorating activities for the mind and body.
So, if you’re hankering for a well-deserved pampering, here are some of the massage treatments guaranteed to ensure a happy ending to your holiday…
Be prepared to be doused in oil – everywhere, even including your hair! Ayurveda is one of the world’s oldest healing treatments and originated in India over 3,000 years ago. Oil, containing therapeutic herbs, is heated before being massaged into the skin using techniques including tapping, kneading and squeezing as well as traditional massage strokes. Ayurveda can help boost the immune system, detoxify and cleanse, reduce stress, improve circulation, promote healthy skin and repair the body. It’s also really soothing!
Over 5,000 years ago our ancestors in China and Egypt were rubbing each other’s feet. This was the origin of reflexology. So much more than a foot massage, it stems from the belief that certain reflex areas on your feet and hands correspond to certain organs and glands. During the session, your arches and heels will be kneaded and your toes pulled, some spas even use sticks to press hard on certain points. The benefits of foot massage are endless – not to mention it feels downright great!
Pure bliss – Balinese massage is a traditionally inspired massage typically practiced by local healers called Balians. The massage technique incorporates aromatherapy with deep kneading and rolling on pressure points to ease muscle pains and improve the flow of life energy or Qi – further inducing a blissful state. You will feel all kinds of wonderful sensations after a Balinese massage: relaxed, refreshed, re-energised. You’ll smell divine too, thanks to all those essential oils and flowers.
One of the highlights of travelling through the Land of Smiles is succumbing to a vigorous Thai massage. We are, of course, referring to the legit ones, not the ones mentioned below! A little different to other massages – they often take place in a room with multiple tables, and you usually change into loose pyjama-like clothes. It’s best described as a mix between massage and yoga. During the massage, you will be pulled, stretched and rocked – as opposed to kneaded. The massage therapist will use their thumbs, elbows and knees – they may even walk on you! Despite all that – it feels fantastic.
The other type…
It’s well-known that there’s more than a handful of, ahem, ‘naughty’ massage parlours in the many cities across Asia – although Bangkok and Pattaya do seem to be the most notorious! It’s relatively easy to recognise these types of establishments, as usually they’re pretty upfront about the services on offer. But if you do ‘accidentally’ find yourself in one, be prepared to pay out for any extra services and leave a hefty tip! You didn’t hear it here.