I have started to feel really stiff and tight in certain areas of my body due to the amount of running and gym training I do. In fact, it was one of the gym instructors who pointed out how tense my shoulders and upper body appear to be whilst I’m working with weights! If I’m honest, I don’t remember the last time my body felt relaxed or light; I kind of grew to accept that tightness is a side effect you need to deal with if you spend the majority of your time crouched over a desk at work and/or you do regular, vigorous workouts. I have tried everything to ‘loosen up’, from foam rolling to regular stretching and yoga, however, nothing would alleviate my tightness significantly.
A friend of mine recommended a local Thai massage therapist who she had recently seen and was really pleased with. I have had different types of massage before, as a special treat, for example, on our honeymoon in Bali or during our holidays in Malta, Centre Parks and Goa. I was curious to see what Shanya at Pure Thai could do for me and my Hubby, so we decided to give it a go. Here is what I thought!
My Thai massage experience
Shanya’s studio is just above the recently opened Vitulli hair saloon on the High Street in High Wycombe. She greeted us there and then took us upstairs to her cosy studio parlour. A lovely scent of aromatherapy oils was wafting around in the semi-dark room, with some soft and relaxing oriental music playing in the background. A large divider wall with a giant Buddha face separates the room into two areas – a waiting area where we were offered some refreshments whilst we were deciding who should have their massage first; and the treatment area itself. My Hubby generously declared ‘ladies first’, so I followed Shanya as she disappeared behind the curtains into the treatment area. The ambient atmosphere of the treatment room quickly brought back some really nice memories from our holidays in Bali and Goa, it was like being transported back in time to Asia. Shanya gave me a choice to have the massage on the traditional elevated table, or on the floor, on a giant cushioned mat. It was a tough choice, because both of them looked very comfy! In the end, I settled for the table.
Shanya covered my whole body with a large fluffly towel after I peeled out of my clothes, leaving only my underwear on. During the massage, only the area that was massaged was uncovered, so I did not feel too exposed that way. I was offered different kinds of massage oils and I settled for some lavender as I find its scent really comforting. In fact, sometimes I use lavender oil on my pillow to help me drift into sleep. During the next hour, Shanya worked her magic using her entire body (!) to release the tiredness and stiffness from my body. I am sure she got a really good workout out of this in the end!
In case you never had Thai massage before, you should know that one of the characteristics of traditional Thai massage is that the therapist uses a combination of acupressure and yoga-like stretching techniques, using their fingers, thumbs, elbows, arms and feet on your muscles, pressure points and so-called energy lines to clear energy blockages and to balance your body’s energy. It’s quite intense as it also includes bending and twisting the body – you kind of need to learn to ‘let go’ a bit and trust that the therapist is strong enough to hold you and move you. Even though Shanya is a petit lady, make no mistake: she has remarkable strength!
Shanya asked me first how much pressure I preferred so I chose medium/hard as I like to feel that my body is being worked on rather than just ‘stroked gently’. I won’t lie – this is a fairly strong massage style, it mostly felt like a sports massage session, Thai-style, but it definitely loosened me up by the end. I felt that Shanya’s strong and firm touch was exactly what I needed to be released from the grip of my long-standing soreness and stiffness. At times, I did feel a bit like a pretzel tied into a knot with Shanya as our arms were interlinked, or when her feet were in my back, as she bent me backwards. However, it was all worth it: I left the massage table feeling rejuvenated, and there was a lightness in my body that I had not felt for a long time.
The next day, my Hubby and I went out for a run together by the riverside. I expected myself to be slightly sore from the massage session, however, instead, I felt energetic and more relaxed than usual. My muscle knots were gone and I didn’t hear my Hubby complain about his calves which normally get painful a few km’s into his runs!
Benefits of Thai massage
This made me wonder what longer term benefits I might see from having regular Thai massage. Therefore I have done some research to find out more. Here is a shortlist of the various benefits you might see from Thai massage if you decide to give it a go:-
- It relieves muscle tension and soreness.
- It increases blood circulation and lowers blood pressure.
- It helps the detoxification of the body and boosts the immune system.
- It improves breathing.
- It helps reduce stress and relieve anxiety.
- It increases your flexibility and range of motion.
- It improves your posture, balance and corrects body alignments.
- It releases energy blockage and balances the mind, body and spirit.
Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?
How to get the most out of a Thai massage session
Finally, here are a couple of tips for you to make sure you get the most out of your massage session:-
- Avoid heavy meals before your session.
- Don’t wear make up, especially if the massage session extends to your face as well (like mine did).
- If it is your first time with the massage therapist, let them know if you have any pains, niggles or aches and any health conditions that they need to be aware of, including pregnancy (people with certain conditions should not have Thai massage.)
- If you feel discomfort at any time, just let your massage therapist know so they can adjust the pressure.
- Remember to rehydrate after the session!
All in all, I would definitely recommend Shanya’s massage parlour to soothe away stress and stiffness. No matter which type of Thai massage you choose (traditional, deep tissue, aroma oil, or foot), you will be in expert hands and will definitely feel some benefits even after just one session! To find out more, please visit www.purethai.uk.
What is the best massage you have ever had?
I received a free one hour massage from Shanya in exchange for writing an honest review on the blog about my experience. Thank you, Shanya!