5 Tips about Thai massage: things you'll love and hate

Thai massage is an ancient form of bodywork that dates back over 2,500 years, and originates -- rather surprisingly -- from India. It is a holistic approach to wellbeing that combines the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of the person.

Thai massage uses pressure, stretching and compression techniques to work on the energy lines and points in the body. It can be both invigorating and relaxing, and is said to promote a sense of balance and harmony within the individual.

There are many benefits associated with Thai massage, including reducing stress, improving circulation and flexibility as well as aiding in detoxification of the body. Thai massage has been shown to improve sleep quality, reduce anxiety levels and boost immunity.

In addition, it can help relieve pain from conditions such as headaches or arthritis. Regular sessions may also provide lasting relief from chronic tension headaches or neck pain.

You can find Thai massages all over Bangkok, but their pricing and quality vary wildly. If you're looking for something guaranteed safe and more high-end, book this one at Le Meridien hotel.

Here are some tips to getting what you want:

  1. Check at your hotel for recommendations on local massage parlors.  You can generally walk down the street and pick one, but use common sense when choosing.
  2. Expect to pay less than $8 per hour for a local masseuse.  Prices should be listed outside -- if they're not, don't go in.  Hotels and other high-end options are more expensive.   
  3. There are plenty of so-called "happy ending" massages in Thailand.  But be careful at these places; there are scams.  If this is what you are looking for, search online beforehand and find some reputable establishments.  
  4. At any studio, you should tip at least 10%, although more recently you may be expected to tip a bit more.
  5. You will generally be given pajamas to wear during the massage; these loose fitting garments allow the masseuse to work your body better.  

If you do end up having a dispute with the proprietor of a massage studio, contact the local tourist police.ingThey can help you resolve a dispute.