Chiang Mai is one of the best places in Thailand not only to experience various types of massages butt also to study massage. Generally, there are two main styles of Thai massage Northern and Southern.
The Southern style is basically famous in Bangkok and focuses on acupressure and vigorous energy lines and the southern style is practiced in Chiang Mai and focuses on stretching techniques in slow and relaxing rhythm
The most common types of massage in Chiang Mai are:
● traditional Thai massage
● foot massage
● herbal ball massage
● oil massage
Trying a massage should be a must on your to-do list whether you are on a short holiday or long holiday.
Most tourists stick to the massage centers that are at tourist locations that are convenient but does not always offer quality service.
"Thai massage" also known as "Thai yoga massage" is an ancient healing practice which is a combination of acupressure, Indian Ayurvedic principles, and assisted yoga postures. It is a little bit like yoga without moving as the therapist stretches your body and muscles.
● Traditional Thai massage is still the most popular massage in Chiang Mai that uses no oils or lotions. It is more energized massage as compared to others. The recipient remains clothed during a treatment.
There is constant body contact between the giver and receiver, but rather than rubbing on muscles, the body is compressed, pulled, stretched and rocked is usually called nuat phaen thai or nuat phaen boran.
● Foot massage is a relaxing experience after a tiring day off strolling around the streets and shopping. These massages can be enjoyed in weekend street markets.
Usually, the recipient sits in a chair. These massages mainly focus on pressure points of the foot and stretching toes. Finally, a refreshing balm is applied.
● Herbal ball compress massage is a deep heat application which is revitalizing and guaranteed to take away your pains and aches. Swelling and bruising can be reduced by these massages. tamarind and kaffir lime trees and the likes of turmeric and camphor are wrapped together in a fabric which is then steamed before pressing it against the body.
● Oil Massage is similar to aromatherapy bu here masseuses apply oil into your skin by kneading and pushing. Coconut extract, eucalyptus, and lemongrass are typical ingredients used by most of the spas. These massages are beneficial for blood flow, sunburn, and aching muscles.
There are many types of massage therapy, like classic Swedish and deep tissue to more exotic styles like shiatsu. Whether you have a health condition or injury, choosing a style of massage can be confusing if you're not aware about what it involves. Here is a list of the some popular types of massages.
1) Swedish Massage Therapy
The most common type of massage that is offered in most clinics, gyms, spas, and wellness centers. This massage is mainly based on the Western concepts of anatomy and physiology.
Lotion or oil are used in this massage. Therapists typically begin with broad common strokes and then transition to specific strokes to address problem areas.
Full-body muscle relaxation is provided in this massage style and it can be especially helpful if you're recovering from an injury.
2) Aromatherapy Massage
Scented plant oils (known as essential oils) are used in aromatherapy massage which is basically a Swedish massage. These are added to the massage oil and are extracted from flowers and other plant parts.
These essential oils not only offer a pleasing scent but are believed to have healing properties. Lavender and rose, for instance, are known to promote relaxation. Pre-blended oils are used by therapists to relax, energize, or uplift the problem area.
3) Hot Stone Massage
It is not a typical Thai treatment but is very famous in Chiang Mai. Hot stone massage uses warm stones. Heated, smooth stones are placed by the therapist on specific points on the body. They also holds the warm stones while massaging. The stones are usually basalt (a volcanic rock that retains heat well).
The warmth of the stones can loosen tight muscles and can be relaxing. These stones help the therapist to reach areas of muscle tension quickly.
People with certain medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, or varicose veins etc should consult their doctor before planning on getting a hot stone massage.
4) Deep Tissue Massage
Deep tissue massage is a focused, therapeutic massage in which muscle knots (also known as "adhesions") and specific problem areas in the deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue are targeted.
Slow strokes or friction across the grain of the muscle are used by the therapist to address chronic tight or painful muscles, repetitive strain, postural problems, or injuries.
5) Shiatsu Massage
As you can get an idea from its name it is a form of Japanese bodywork, the therapist's fingers (or sometimes hands and elbows) are used to apply the pressure in a rhythmic sequence along the body. Each point is held for about two to eight seconds.
This massage therapy has its roots in traditional Chinese medicine. The goal is to stimulate acupressure points on the body to improve the flow of energy and help regain balance.
No oil or lotion is used in this massage. Shiatsu is normally done on a mat on the floor or on a low massage table and is often used to protect against stress-related health issues. It is effective in treating conditions like arthritis, insomnia, back and neck pain, sciatica, and even sinus problems.
6) Pregnancy Massage
It is mostly used to promote relaxation. As pregnancy massage is customized to an expectant mother's needs it is also known as prenatal massage.
Lower back pain and swollen ankles are the most common problems faced by pregnant women, especially in the later months. Prenatal massage is a safe, drug-free way to provide relief. Massage therapists have specialized training and are certified in prenatal massage
Like having your feet worked on? Finger pressure and techniques such as kneading and rubbing are used by therapists to promote relaxation and healing in the body. Reflexology, as the name suggests, is based on "reflex areas" on the hands and feet, whose energy is believed to be connected to organs and other body parts.
By applying pressure to the reflex points, the reflexologist can balance your nervous system and stimulate endorphins, the body's natural pleasure response, which reduces stress and discomfort.
8) Sports Massage
Designed to prevent and treat injuries, improve flexibility, and enhance athletic performance, sports massage can be used by athletes of all abilities to prepare for or recover from athletic or sports events.
Sports massage is not only helpful to athletes and can be enjoyed by everyone. It helps cure muscle pain or restricted range of motion.
The body's soft tissues are manipulated in sports massage and focus is given to certain muscle groups depending on which sport the athlete plays. This type of massage can help with increased blood flow, increased range of flexibility and motions
There are so many massage schools, practitioners and styles in Chiang Mai for different types of pains and everyone can go for the one that suits them.
Then there are more specialized kinds such as karsai massage while high-end spas often offer exotic massages such as Ayurvedic massage or body wraps.
Following are the best places to visit for amazing massage :
1. Fah Lanna Spa
2. Arisara Thai Massage
3 Chiang Mai Women's Prison Massage Centre
4. Khunka Massage
5. Lila Thai Massage 5th
6. Zabai Thai
7. Nimman House Thai Massage
8. Green Bamboo Massage
9. Let's Relax
10. Lila Thai Massage 4th
Top Massage spots In Chaing Mai
● Thai massage Conservation Club
● Let’s relax spa:
Address: Chiang Mai Pavilion Branch: 145/27, 145/37 Changklan Rd., Tel: (053) 818 498.
● Kiriya spa vana:
Address: 47/14 Samlan Rd. A 5-minute walk from Saen Prung gate (south-west gate of Old City). Get off at Saen Prung gate, cross the main moat road to the old city side and walk up Samlan Road for a few minutes.
Open: 10am – 10pm
● Nimman House:
Address: 59/8 Nimmanhaemin Rd
Open: 10am – 10pm
● Oasis Spa: There are 3 Oasis Spa locations in Chiang Mai alone (and then some in Bangkok also).
Address: There is one near Nimman Road, one near night safari in far South East of Chiang Mai, and the other next to Wat Pra Sigha Temple, and walking distance to Sunday Walking Street in East side of Old City.
Open: 10am – 10pm
● Paradise massage and spa:
Address: 59/1 Chang Moi Kao Rd., Tel: (053) 874 334, Email.
Address: Nimmanhaemin Road, near soi 1. The building is situated on the main Nimmanhaemin road which is an up and coming trendy area of Chiang Mai and just outside the old city.
Open: 10 am – midnight
● Wild Orchid Massage:
Address: 70 Loi Kroh Rd., Mobile: (084) 484 5080,
Visit the above places. And enjoy!!