I am doing some research on Google whether Thai massage is really all that good as it is made out to be. There are two articles on top of the search results – one talks about the claims vs. the science, and the other is screaming “Thai massage messed up my neck!”. Then there is another article of 2015 that reports the death of a 37 year old Thai female who got a traditional Thai massage and subsequently died of a heart attack. The government authorities claimed that the death subsequent to a traditional Thai massage was merely a coincidence and it probably was. But that does not mean there are no risks. And till now we are only talking about a legitimate traditional Thai massage by a somewhat trained or experienced therapist without any funny business being involved. So what about the massage by one of those decked up Thai ladies who wear colorful wrap-around skirts and sit outside their massage shops waiting for customers. Believe me, the risks are real.
How A Massage In Thailand Can Be Bad For Your Health
More than a year ago, I got a Thai massage in the Sukhumvit area of Bangkok. The shop looked decent and usually a Thai massage does not indicate a likelihood of anything more than a massage. There was no hanky panky, and yet, I ended up getting an almost injured spine. That Thai lady pushed her elbow so strongly into my spine that even now I feel a little bit pain in that spot. Now I am scared of getting a traditional Thai massage. And when I do get it, I always tell the therapist – “Not strong”. Perhaps pushing of the therapist’s elbow into the customer’s spine is a part of the traditional Thai massage routine but should it be done by an untrained therapist?
Most of Them Are Untrained
From my 18 or so visits to Thailand during the last few years, I can tell that most of the masseuses in the roadside massage shops in Thailand are either untrained or inadequately trained. Try asking a young therapist where and for how long he or she got a training in massage. They are more likely to say – “One month course in Bangkok or some other city”. Some get no training at all and learn “everything” on the job.
The Claims vs. The Science
Here is the link to the article that talks about the death of a massage customer: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4728864/
This article contains references to specific health risks and is worth a read. Next, the claims vs. the science article lists some provable benefits of traditional Thai massage provided the massage is administered by a trained professional in a safe and comfortable environment. Here is the link to this article: https://www.thethailandlife.com/is-thai-massage-really-good-for-you
How To Ensure Your Safety
I do not know the science but from my experience I can share this: Do not get a Thai massage in a shop staffed by decked up ladies. They are more likely to concentrate on offering extras and when you refuse extras, they will give you a bad massage on purpose. An “oil massage” is a safer deal in such a place. Oil massage is gentle and many times, the decked up ladies hardly do anything more than rub some oil on you. A foot massage anywhere in Thailand is usually safe and fun. And it cannot hurt much unless the therapist starts poking with your feet with small wooden sticks. At that point you may have to stop them when it gets uncomfortable. If you are seeking a traditional Thai massage, go to a place like Health Land Spa and do tell the therapist to be gentle. At any time you find the massage becoming uncomfortable, stop the therapist and clearly tell them not to hurt you. Most of all, be clear about what you are looking for – a fun massage or a real massage for health. Then choose the place accordingly.