Monday, September 17, 2012

my first Thai massage

I've been wanting needing to get a massage desperately for a while now.  Back home, I go twice a year for sure....half way into the school year at Christmas break and then in the summer after school lets out.  I'd love to get a massage every month, but that's just not how the cookie crumbles, unfortunately for me and my shoulders.

I finally took it upon myself to walk down to the Thai massage place in our building here in Korea last Friday evening to make an appointment for some time during the weekend.  The lady asked me if I wanted a massage right then, which I thought was a little odd considering Parker was in my arms.  After I told her that wouldn't work and I'd like to come back another time, I was happy to find out that they're open 24 hours a day (hmmmmmm....the massage places where I come from that are open 24 hours a day give deep tissue massage a whole new meaning so when the lady said "open 24 hour", I silently giggled a little to myself....immature, I know, but you know you would've thought the same thing).  This was great news for me, because I would be able to come later in the evening once the boys were down for the night to get my massage.  I loved the thought of doing it at night when I wouldn't be missed by the boys like I would be during the day.  Talton was home catching up on a football game, so everyone at my house was good to go for the night which was fantastic because I only needed two hours AND it was in my building so I could walk there!

Not sure what to expect aside from the random YouTube video and tidbits of information I found on the internet about what exactly a Thai massage consisted of, I could tell that in the very least I was going to be kneaded like bread and twisted like a pretzel so I figured I'd do the masseuse a favor (and me too for embarrassment's sake) and shave.  If this massage was going to last for two whole hours, I figured this masseuse would be getting pretty intimate with my legs.  :)

At 10 pm, I walked into the Imperial Thai Therapy salon and was anxious for what was to come.  I was instructed to leave my shoes at the door and slip on a pair of slippers laid out for the customers.  I was led back to a changing room and given a key for a locker to hold my belongings.  She gave me a brown t-shirt and shorts to change into as well.

After I changed and locked up my stuff, I ventured out into the unknown of the salon.  I was directed to a chair where my feet were cleaned off in a warm bucket of water by my masseuse.  She then led me to her massage room where I knew I needed to leave my slippers by the door.  What I didn't know is that there was a specific position they were to be in.  Don't worry, a little lady came up behind me and fixed them.  :)

I was told to lay down on the mat (no massage table here, folks), she flipped the lights off (That's right--this massage was in the dark!), and went to town doing her Thai massage.

For those two hours I definitely endured quite a bit of pain from her massaging sensitive areas a little too hard and rough (most of the massage was with my clothes on...very unlike the massages I enjoy at home).  It wasn't until later in the massage that she had me take my shirt off to massage my back with oil, which made her massaging much smoother but still a little painful at times.  She was crazy strong!  There were also definitely times when I really enjoyed the massage.  I loved the foot massage, the head massage, and when she just leaned her entire body weight into my shoulders instead of massaging. 

When the massage was nearly over with, she used the last few minutes to perform the body stretching portion of the Thai massage.  She twisted my arms and legs like a pretzel and held them in those positions while she leaned into my body to stretch me.  She then had me sit up and cross my legs while she sat behind me and pulled my arms back to stretch me that way.  Just imagine the scene in Titanic when they're standing on the front of the ship and she holds her arms out like she's imagine her sitting cross legged, her arms being pulled even further back by a little Korean lady, and all in the dark.  That's what that was like.  I did like the stretching though.  :)

When it was all said and done, she led me back to the changing room where I reemerged a short time later with my camera asking her if I could take a picture of the room where she gave me my massage.  She was so funny...She turned from masseuse to photographer in no time flat!  She was telling me where to sit, taking me from room to room, and even posing me.

I didn't love that massage considering I have bruises on my behind as I type this (three days after the fact---see, I'm pretty tough with pain, it really did hurt), but I loved her.  What a treat and experience this was.  I'm so glad I gave it a shot.  :)

You leave your shoes at the door and wear the provided slippers throughout the salon.

This is the room where you change into the shirt and shorts they give you.  There are lockers here to keep all your valuables and clothes.  There is also a small shower/toilet area attached.
I had no idea that my masseuse would turn out to be my personal photographer later in the night, so I snapped this picture of myself before my massage so I would have at least one picture of myself here.
This was after my massage, as are the rest of the pictures to follow.  I didn't want to ask too much or overstep my boundaries here because I wasn't sure what was acceptable or not as far as taking pictures, so when I asked my masseuse if I could take one picture of her massage room, I had no idea she would be more than happy to seat me where she saw fit to get her perfect shots throughout the salon.  She even told me to do the peace sign for the picture.  :)

This is chair was where I first sat before being led to my massage room.  Here they dipped my feet into a warm bucket of water where my masseuse rubbed any dirt off my feet, slipped my slippers back on, and then led me to the massage room.

This is the room and the actual pad where I laid for two hours in the dark while the masseuse did her thing.  Interesting to lay on the floor for a massage, but that's just how they roll around here.  Most people sleep on these sorts of pads too and not on beds.
Notice the next massage room to the right.  You can see straight in!  I had no idea that was open like that while I was getting massaged for two hours.  Maybe that's part of the reason they give the massages in the dark.
How many choices does one need on a toilet?????

Before I left, they had me sit here and brought in a tray with fresh tea.  Then came my little masseuse telling me to give her my camera so she could take my picture again.  :)
If you're counting, that's THREE peace signs I've given in the last 10 minutes.  This is like a mandatory pose for picture taking here in Korea.  And look, I knew at this point how strong this little Korean lady was from the massage she just gave me for two hours, so there was no way I was going to defy her when she told me to "do this" (peace sign) when she was taking my picture.
I'm not sure what kind of tea it is, but I tried it and it wasn't awful so I took a few sips to show gratitude for their hospitality.
Snacks in case you're hungry after your massage.


  1. I'm sorry about those bruises, Kristi. Nevertheless, I'm glad you're happy about your Thai massage experience. Actually, Thai massage was developed by the Buddhist monks in Thailand as a healing modality 2,500 years ago. It is done with your clothes on. This is good for those who feel uncomfortable with nude massage.

    Gregg Mulherin

  2. I’m sorry about those bruises too. It is quite an experience – one that you will hardly forget. It would be best to try a spa that your close friends or family members recommend. Doing this would certainly be a more rewarding experience for you, since your loved one would not recommend something that they think would harm you.

    Stela Dimitrov