People receive a Thai massage to sooth muscular aches and pains, ease sprains, relieve nervous tension and to stimulate blood circulation. Thai massage is sometimes conducted with the application of heated herbal compresses to improve its result.
Generally, traditional Thai massage is divided into royal Thai massage, which was formerly reserved for the King and the royalty. Thus, masseuses must perform their task in a deferential manner and only hands are allowed to be used. Breathing onto the patient's body is considered impolite, so masseuses shouldn't bow their head while giving a royal massage.
Royal massage is a tender massage because masseuses apply less strength to ensure that they don't hurt the patient. In comparison, folk massage is a vigorous one and it is used among the general public. Other parts of the body such as elbows, knees, legs, heels, and feet can be used to give a more forceful massage.
Apart from Thai massage, the magnetism of Thai spas is their deliberate styles that match the topography and culture of each region and a great choice of local herbs and other spa components that create a wide selection of Thai spa programs. It is difficult to name some of the best spas in the country since this is a matter of taste and price. Normally, the quality of products, treatment menus and the styles of decor make differences to each place. Below is a brief introduction on the characteristics of spas in each region.
Luxury Central Region Spas
Resulting from its wonderful central location, including the Thai capital, the region contains a large number of executive spas. However, the spas in this region range from the luxury hotel spas, which welcome all visitors, to the less extravagant day spas in renovated houses. But the cream of the central region is the medical spas, a new type of spas that has recently risen in the central region especially in Bangkok.
The medical spas provide signature spa menus such as various kinds of massage, herbal steam, body scrubs and hydrotherapy to relax body and mind, together with therapeutic programs and the use of aesthetic technology under the supervision of physicians. Though they may not sound like the real place for absolute relaxation, the medical spas conveniently offer a one-stop service for good health seekers. Examples of therapeutic and aesthetic treatments available in the medical spas are the regular health check-up, high blood pressure and diabetes controls, detoxification, and alternative medicine like yoga, Chinese acupuncture and reflexology, as well as slimming and nutrition management.
Another interesting feature of central region spas is a good range of high-quality homemade products produced from natural and local ingredients. With the harmony of great selections of Thai herbs and their healing properties, Thai spa and beauty products cover from head to toe. They come in all kinds of applications-cleansing, scrubbing, wrapping, masking, massage oil, massage gel and cream, and hair care, to name but a few.
Thai Lanna Spas in the North
Apart from the cooler climate and breathtaking mountain scenery, the Lanna style architecture and its exquisite decorative arts such as woven fabrics and wood carving significantly enhance the character of northern spas. In a unique relaxing northern spa ambience, all human five senses will be pampered. Some of traditional northern style massages like “Yam Khang”and “Tok Sen” are the fruits of local wisdom that can effectively relieve muscle pains. Yam Khang is a kind of massage which a masseur gives by warming his feet on hot charcoal before pressing them on a client's body, while, in Tok Sen, a therapist prods a wooden stick onto a client's body to clear a blockage in the energy lines.
Green & Pampering Southern Spas
Thai spas in the south are quite distinct from those in other parts of the country. Apart from having the beautiful marine landscape that attracts record numbers of tourists, the southern region offers tourists an authentic Thai spa experience in combination with seaside cultures. Most treatment menus in the southern spas are somewhat tied to the ocean and beach culture. For instance, a treatment may combine healing methods with the use of fresh or dried local ingredients like grated coconut, pineapple, turmeric and black sesame.
For mineral bathing lovers, Ranong province has many natural hot springs to offer which are genuinely suitable for bathing. The water here not only has the property to relieve tension and muscle pains and to regulate blood pressure, but it is also of benefit to the skin. Therefore, most spas in the province adapt the mineral water, which is directly piped from the geysers, to use in their treatment programs.
Although the characters of Thai spas differ from region to region, they all represent Thainess, an integration of the gentle Thai manner and traditional healing power that can't be found elsewhere. That's why many visitors put a spa visit into their tour programs.