thai massage at the wat pho temple

thai massage at the wat pho temple

The Wat PhoTemple in Bangkok has an enormous statue of a reclining Buddha. It's so massive, that it's impossible to get a good picture of the whole thing. But the Buddha isn't the only thing to experience when you're at the temple. Maybe you should do some reclining of your own at the temple's massage therapy school!

If you've never had a traditional Thai massage, you'll definitely need to know a few things. The first is that you don't take your clothes off for the massage--not any of your clothes, really. It's important to wear loose-fitting clothes for a Thai massage, so if you didn't dress for that, well, they may be able to loan you some loose-fitting pants to wear. You're not going to have a private room, though there is a small changing area. But you'll be getting your massage on a mat in a communal area.

The other thing is that the massage really doesn't focus as much on your back and neck and shoulders, the way you might be used to. There's a lot of emphasis on stretching and pressure points, and there's a lot of focus on the legs and feet. These massages are actually a key component of Thai medicine, so you're not just getting a back rub, you're getting a holistic medical massage.

Here's something else. You can get the massage with, or without, "herbs." I opted for "with herbs," and that meant that my massage therapist smooshed up a bunch of fragrant herbs (I'm guessing lemongrass and mint were in there, but who knows what else), into a kind of poultice, and then smeared it all over me. But there's no place to shower, and the stuff, though it smells delicious, will be caked on your skin after the massage. So, I left the massage with yellow gunk all over my legs and since I was wearing shorts, I'm sure I looked like I had liver disease and really bad psoriasis all at the same time.

I had a couple of massages while I was in Thailand, and this one was actually more expensive than most. And yet, getting an hour-long massage for the equivalent of $15 USD (yes, only $15) is the kind of bargain that will just about knock you over.

Or, maybe you're just reclining.



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