I’ve always heard Thai massages were the best, but I wanted to save my first Thai massage for Thailand. I arrived at Renaissance Phuket a few days ago and the first planned experience was a Thai massage at Quan Spa. Quan signifies energy, prosperity, wholeness and a sense of well-being. Quan Spa offers a range of relaxing and invigorating spa treatments, but there was no question which treatment I wanted to have. The Thai massage combines rhythmic massage, acupressure, gentle twisting and deep stretching to aid tension-relief and promote the balance of Qi energy in your body. This is an art with ancient traditions and you can feel an extraordinary sense of well-being afterwards… but during is another story.
The setting at Quan Spa is what I would have assumed for an Asian spa. It was open and airy with lots of greenery and a fish pond. The treatment rooms were placed around a circular pool in the heart of the spa. Visually, the entire place was stunning.
I met my masseuse and she was a tiny woman whose English was certainly good enough to understand but she had the cute Thai accent that makes me smile. She showed me to my room and gave me pants and a shirt to wear during my massage. I’d never worn pants during a spa treatment before but it made me feel more comfortable than the usual robe followed by a blanket. I felt less on display and more comfortable.
Once I was dressed and in the room, she gave me a hot foot bath and then I laid on the table. The table was wider than I’d experienced before. I was surprised at how different things were already and she hadn’t even started yet.
She asked me if I wanted soft, medium or hard. I don’t know what possessed me to ever say medium but I did. Let me get right to the point – if you’ve never had a Thai massage, for the love of God, do not say anything other than soft! That tiny, soft-spoken woman was stronger than a heavy-weight boxer. Within the first two minutes, I said, “SOFT please. I should have said SOFT.” All I could think while I was on the table was I wouldn’t want to tick this lady off. I bet she could put me in a world of pain.
I expected gentle twisting and stretching as well but she put me into positions I didn’t think I was capable of being in. I tried holding my breath. I tried thinking about something else. I tried to relax my muscles and let go. Nothing worked. It hurt. She got her elbows and knees into every muscle in my body. I think she got her feet into my bones. I thought about screaming, “I give” at least half a dozen times.
When she finished, I thought I might need help getting off the table. I slowly got dressed and made my way to the relaxation area. I stayed long enough to have almond cookies and a cup of tea then I left to pick up Athena from the kids club.
The next morning, I climbed out of bed and I felt extraordinary! That was the last thing I expected. Everything was limber. My joints moved with ease. I felt like I was drugged. I wanted to go back.
My first Thai massage was completely different than what I expected and a lot rougher than I imagined but the results were better than any massage I’ve had before. I’d take an uncomfortable hour for this feeling. I wonder how long it will last? I’ll be in Thailand for almost a month. I’ll definitely be returning for round two and maybe three with a Thai masseuse.