Having a foot massage in Thailand is a little bit like dropping in to a convenience store. Sometimes it can be pre-planned but it’s more than likely to be a spur of the moment decision caused by an impending rain storm, the need to sit down for one hour or just a ‘Hey, this looks nice, lets go for a foot massage’!
With the costs running at around 250-400 THB for a one-hour massage, the cost to enjoyment ration is excellent and sometime you might just be lucky to stumble in to a very lucky find and receive a massage that is way above the average.
What exactly is a foot massage? Very popular in Thailand and in South-East Asia as most people wear shorts and no socks so it is easy just to pop-in for an hour. The majority of massages start with the “Ceremonial Washing of the Feet”. Traditionally this was a sign of respect and to show servitude, today is if often just a plastic bowl to remove the grime from wearing sandals on the street. The majority of foot massages today are just pleasant and relaxing ways to relax for one hour with a therapist gently massaging your feet and calves. Later in the evening one can expect to hear most customers snoring!
However, the origin of the foot massage is based on Reflexology where an experienced practitioner goes deeper that the skin and muscles by stimulating specific reflex points on your feet. This induces a healing response in the corresponding organs. A professional foot massage can address a list of ailments from headaches, to stomach issues and to sinus problems if tenderness or sensitivity is detected in any specific area. By applying pressure and manipulating the nerve endings, reflexology can assist to clear channels of blocked energy and a professional practitioner can give you a brief appraisal of your state of health.
Sometimes a spur of the moment decision can lead you through the door of a Massage Salon that is way above one’s expectations. This was the case one evening recently on leaving the recently moved German Beer House on Soi 13. The clouds were about to dump more rain on Bangkok and a snap but lucky decision brought us through the doors of Nantaniyon Thai Massage.
It’s an older and well established, family run business with just a few chairs for foot massage and only two tables for body massage. Maybe more space upstairs but we did not explore. I was in trousers and normal shoes(with socks) so I was asked to put on massage pantaloons(you will get used to these when taking traditional Thai massage. We sat in rather old but extremely comfortable arm chairs and our more mature therapists(husband and wife?) got to work.
From the start you could feel that this was going to be good, none of the commercial soft rub and lotion, rather specific and targeted movements. Whilst relaxing, a strong/professional reflexology massage does not lure you to sleep. Short, sharp pains when parts of your feet are prodded with a special wooden tool, show that this is professional reflexology and not your normal foot massage. The treatment lasted 1 hour and the soles of my feel felt totally rejuvenated, the rain had stopped and I left feeling as if I was walking on air. The cost was Thb.300 plus a 100 baht tip. I will be returning to this massage salon as I believe that their Thai massage will also be way above average.
***Highly Recommended: Nantaniyon Thai Massage, 10/09 The Trendy Building, Sukhumvit Soi 13.