If there’s one thing that I always look forward to especially while traveling, it’s going for a blissful full body oil massage. It’s a luxury I would happily skip or scrimp on a meal to get one.
I found body massage addicting. The first time I went for a full body massage, I didn’t know there are different kinds.
Pajamas or towel
A friend gave me a gift certificate so I went to this Thai massage parlor close to my work. I had visions of those Ads on TV where the client lies on her stomach while the masseuse gently massages her back. I was ushered into a small, dimly lit cubicle and was told to take my clothes off. The masseuse left me to strip. There was a striped pajama set laid neatly on the massage table, and a rolled towel next to it. I put it on the pajamas and lay face down on the massage table and waited.
Very soon, the masseuse assigned to me came back. Little did I know that what came next was the most excruciatingly painful, agonizing one hour of my life. Instead of the oil, I got a full Thai massage. I didn’t know you chose a Thai massage if you wear pajamas. My masseuse was a small woman but so strong I felt my body being stretched and pulled from and into all directions. I heard cracking and crunching sounds. All of my bones were breaking.
Ok, I exaggerated, but I went out bruised and battered. I suffered body and muscle pains for the rest of the week. It didn’t stop me from going back for more but I got wiser. I learned to wrap the towel around me and ignore the pajama set.
Since then, I went for massages whenever I had the chance. I’ve had foot and back massages in airports and indulged in a $90 one-hour oil massage in the Bahamas. The most expensive one I had was an hour massage in a famous Las Vegas spa. The masseuse spent at least 20 minutes arranging and rearranging the sheets around me. I couldn’t relax. My buddy paid for the $165 (plus tax and tip) but my brain was screaming from the sting of the price. Massages at the Chinese and Thai parlors on Saipan costs around $20 an hour, no tax, just add a tip.
The best place where I’ve had numerous massages was in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand. It was where my body literally surrendered and screamed for mercy to stop.
Head turned full body massage
But back to the boobs massage. My buddy and I were at this busy street market in Bangkok when I felt the beginnings of a headache. I decided to go to the nearest massage parlor which happened to be a busy one. Customers were waiting in line for foot massages at the reception area.
My buddy opted for a foot massage while I booked for a head massage. The receptionist directed me to a flight of steep, dark stairs to the second floor.
There were no massage tables, just mattresses spread on the wooden floor. Each stall was divided by flimsy curtains in between to provide some sort of privacy to customers.
The first cubicle next to the stairs was empty so I went in and lay down to wait for the masseuse. I can hear a man groaning behind the curtains. Someone was snoring from one of the stalls. Another female customer walked in and took the stall next to mine.
A burly woman came in and told me to take my clothes off. I was about to oppose because I booked up for only a head massage but she insisted.
She dripped oil on my back and started massaging, then moved to my legs. The masseuse asked me to lie on my back and she finally started to massage my head. She was good with her hands, and I felt my headache start to fade. I was dozing when I felt her hands on my belly, and then my boobs. I bolted upright and she insisted I lay back down. She couldn’t understand English and I can’t speak Thai.
“No chest, only my head,” I said, crossing my arms in an X in front of me.
Somehow, our orders have been mixed. The other lady at the next stall booked for a full body and got a head massage. The receptionist didn’t charge me for the full massage.
I haven’t had any massage for the past years because of the Covid19 pandemic, but hopefully again when I feel it’s already safe.
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