Updated on 03/08/2018
Kneading, stretching, pulling, rubbing or nibbling? (We’re referring to letting tons of little doctor fishes nibble away at your skin.)
Massage and spa treatments abound in Phuket. But how do you choose when you’ve got so many options? And more importantly, how do you ensure that you don’t end up becoming an unintentional recipient of a “happy ending” massage? Navigate your way through the plentiful massage options on the island with our handy guide:
Types of massages in Phuket
Traditional Thai massage
During a traditional Thai massage, the therapist uses his or her hands, elbows and feet to apply pressure on sen lines in the body. You can expect to have your limbs and body parts stretched and pulled into various yoga-like postures and to have your finger and toe joints cracked. The treatment may be painful at times, particularly when the therapist exerts greater pressure or contorts your limb to provide a good stretch. However, if it’s too vigorous or painful for your liking, request for a gentler pressure to be applied.
Massage oils are not used in this treatment. At professional massage venues, the therapist will provide customers with loose cotton clothing for the massage.
Thai Herbal Massage (Pra Krop)
This is a combination of Thai massage and traditional healing methods based on the application of a hot herbal compress on the body. The compress is often wrapped with herbs like prai, ginger, turmeric and lemongrass, and then steamed. It helps to relieve pain and inflammation by gentle pressing and rolling movements on pressure points.
Hot Stone Massage
A hot stone massage helps you relax tense muscles, and heal damaged soft tissues throughout your body. The stones are usually heated between 130 and 140 degrees and then placed along your spine, stomach, and limbs. Many benefits come along with this massage technique, such as relieving muscle tension, reducing stress and boosting immunity. It’ll leave you feeling entirely relaxed after the treatment!
Reflexology is a therapeutic massage that focuses on stimulating specific points on the hands, feet, and upper body. The pressure points connect directly through the nervous system to the organs and glands, and reflexologists work from maps of predefined pressure points which can be effective for promoting good health and preventing illnesses.
There’s no better way to unwind the day than with a pampering foot massage – particularly if you’ve been on your feet all day! A foot massage treatment usually starts off with a foot wash. Pressure is then applied to various points on the food to stimulate organs throughout the body. The experience is pleasant and relaxing – as you can see from the look of bliss appearing on the faces of customers while they enjoy a foot massage! Although this seems the same as reflexology, they use a slightly different technique.
Swedish massage treatments in Phuket involves long, soothing strokes, tapping and kneading to help improve the flow of oxygen to the muscles and release toxins from the body. The use of essential oils stimulates the nervous system and helps to reduce stress and tension. It’s the ideal choice if you’re looking for a gentle massage treatment that doesn’t incorporate the stretching and more rigorous pressure used in traditional Thai massage treatments.
Therapists apply pressure on meridian points across the body using their fingers, palms, elbows, feet or additional devices. The treatment helps to reduce muscle tension, improve blood circulation and relax the mind.
Dip your feet into a pond filled with tons of little fishes, and watch as they rapidly swim towards your limbs. These little creatures, known as doctor fish, have been integrated a type of spa treatment as they are known to nibble away at dead skin.
Happy ending massages
If you think the name of this massage sounds suggestive, you’ve hit the nail on the head. Happy ending massages, or naughty massages, involve more than just a good ol’ massage treatment. The majority of these parlours are located around Patong beach, and the tell-tale signs to look out for are:
- Dark interiors and tinted windows
- Young masseuse donning skimpy clothing and makeup
- Masseuses standing outside the parlours inviting customers to enter for a “special” massage treatment
Where to get a massage
Massage parlours in Phuket range over a wide spectrum – from cheap beachside and casual massage parlours, to upmarket spa venues and luxury spas from hotels and resorts. Most venues are located in popular tourist areas like Patong, Kata and the surrounding areas. For an unbeatable experience, arrange for a massage therapist in your private villa for a personalised treatment.
Here are some reputable massage and spa venues that you can check out:
Features open-air, oceanfront massage. Extremely pampering!
Make sure to try out their signature treatments, they’re guaranteed to help you relax your tensed muscles and let your mind drift away.
Simple, affordable and authentic, Sweet Lemongrass is the place to go to for a quick and relaxing massage!
Massages are a relatively inexpensive treat in Phuket. The costs may vary extensively depending on your venue of choice. Prices at a beachside or regular massage parlour may range between 300 – 500 baht for a full body massage. Prices may start from 1,000 baht for a massage treatment at an upmarket spa, and from 5,000 baht for treatments at luxury spas or hotels.
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