Monday, January 21, 2008

Thai Massage

Our final day in Chiang Mai I had my first Thai massage. The name of the Spa was not some mysterious Asian name … no, it was called Let’s Relax. The woman who massaged me was very well trained, and I got to experience the “real thing.”

I changed into a pair of loose fitting pajamas and was asked to lie on my back. I learned fast that this was NOT about relaxation but about therapeutic pressure. The more you needed the therapy, the more uncomfortable it was. At the same time I did feel my ligaments and tendons becoming more supple and the pressure points were releasing SOMETHING because it hurt less as she applied pressure over time in the same spot.

In my mind’s eye I recalled the teaching panels at Wat Po in Bangkok and trusted that this was eastern wisdom tested over the ages.Despite the fact that you are fully clothed, this is the most intimate massage I have ever had. I felt as though she had crawled into bed with me as she used her body … the scissor pressure of her legs on mine … the weight of her body on my back … to address the pressure points on my body. There was one point when I was lying face down when she laid on top of me like a 100 pound praying mantis with her elbows planted deeply in my lower back and her ankles entwined with mine and just rested her weight there. Then the praying mantis started to move her elbows up my back.

This kind of massage, done by a well trained therapist, is not for the faint of heart. It hurt. It still hurts today. BUT I feel a sense of deep groundedness and release. I would do it again.

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