Traditional Thai massage at Chaiyo Thai Massage (23rd July 2011)

About a week or so ago, I was sent a massage deal via email by Stardeals by Groupon Australia - 90 minutes of traditional Thai massage for $49 which included a choice of either an hour full body Thai massage or foot reflexology, plus a 15-minute head and facial massage, and a 15-minute foot spa ($260 value) with Chaiyo Thai Massage. I hardly pamper myself and so desperately need to relieve tension from working hard in the office and at the gym. The deal sounded pretty good to me and just what I needed - buy!

Source: Chaiyo Thai Massage

Shortly after completing my online purchase, I received my massage voucher which contained information on the deal and contact details of the retailer. Like most online deals I've purchased in the past, there was a fine print - with this deal, you can purchase as many vouchers as you like, each valid for six months however you have to make your booking within two months of the purchase date.

Located in Haymarket on busy George Street, Chaiyo Thai Massage is open from 10am-10pm daily, its long hours allowing customers to easily book in a session to suit their schedule; I was able to get a slot on a Saturday afternoon. I wasn't sure if I was at the right place at first - as I walked up the dimly lit stairs to the first floor, I was greeted by two rather burly-looking men at the reception area. On presentation of my printed voucher, one of the men called out to the back room and a young Thai chap donned in the typical Thai massage/spa uniform of loose pants and top came to the reception area and escorted me up a narrow flight of stairs to the second floor to the main treatment room. The large room was sectioned by pink curtains into four compartments - I was showed into my compartment which had a firm mattress on the floor and rolled up towels, pillow and cushion, as well as a neatly folded set of clothes on the side. "Please change into these clothes," he said politely then drew the curtains shut to give me privacy and left the room. With Thai massage, you are required to wear loose and comfortable clothing so I wasn't surprised that I had to change. The clothes were obviously a 'one size fits all' - an oversized polo and baggy pants which I couldn't work out how to tie it onto my waist (and that seemed to be the only way to keep the pants up). "Are you ready?" asked a female staff from behind the curtains and I was still fumbling with the pants. "Ok, ready!" I replied and tied the pants as best I could. Please stay on!

A bubbly little Thai lady greeted me and my 90-minute massage session began, starting with the 15-minute foot massage. I was guided to another compartment which had several comfortable lounge chairs and was told to take a seat. The masseuse had left my feet soaking in a portable foot spa with lukewarm tea-coloured mixture of water and herbs for ten minutes before returning to scrub my feet with an electric brush. It was like brushing your feet with an electric toothbrush but five times the size and it tickles! My feet were then wiped dry and given a good dose of massage. Ah, this is nice...

I opted for the hour-long full body massage instead of the foot reflexology. Back in my compartment, I was told to lie tummy down and the masseuse put her hands to work. Oo, nice...very nice...ow, 00, ow, ow...I flitted between pleasure and pain as she massaged my body, my shoulders hurting the most. Oh yeah, I've got plenty of knots there and it hurts each time she puts pressure on my sore spots. During the course of the massage, the masseuse changed between using her hands to using her forearm like a rolling pin. There were times when she would climbed on top of me, walking up and down my body with her knees, putting pressure with care. "Are you ok?" she would asked me every so often. I was also put into many yoga-like positions, stretching parts of my body. There was definitely a certain flow of procedures that were performed - the masseuse would work on the whole back part of my body before getting me to turn around and work the front side. This was followed by a face massage and more rhythmic pressure massages and stretches, occasionally hearing a 'click' when I was put in positions for a back crack. One thing that the masseuse didn't do that I fear most of traditional Thai massage was the head crack - performed correctly, it loosens up the neck but when not, it could be fatal. I guess this move is no longer allowed in Thai massage these days exactly for such reason.

At the end of my massage, I was left to get changed and when I returned to the reception desk, my masseuse gave me a cup of warm tea to finish. It has been a wonderful experience, my muscles don't feel so tight now and interestingly, I felt both relaxed and energised after my session. I'm very glad I bought the deal :) 

If you've not tried traditional Thai massage, consider giving Chaiyo Thai Massage a go. You can choose a 30-minute session if you don't feel up for a 90-minute session the first time. They have plenty of online deals so find one that better suit your needs - choose from services such as traditional Thai massage, oil massage, or massages that focus on the foot or head and face only. I'm going for the oil massage next!


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