While I can appreciate the candles, nature music, and serene environment during a Swedish massage, it often feels too "frou frou" for me (the snob comes out, ha!)….and sometimes a girl’s just gotta get a massage with some elbow grease put into it! Coming from Asia, I’m partial to the acupressure treatments and Thai massages. Acupressure, also known as Tui Na massage, is a traditional Chinese technique derived from acupuncture. Instead of needles, the masseuse applies some mean pressure to different parts of your body (the energy-carrying meridian points) to improve blood circulation and reduce stress. I didn’t really know what to expect in my first Tui Na massage, and let me tell you, it certainly isn’t for the faint-hearted! My masseuse really kneaded deep into muscles I didn’t even know existed! I eventually got used to the pressure and found it immensely relaxing! Tui Na definitely feels like a deep tissue massage, and there is a science behind it which makes me blissfully feel like I’m doing something beneficial for my body.
Similarly, my experiences in Bangkok have made me a believer in the healing powers of the traditional Thai massage technique. Thai massages apply firm pressure alongside yoga-like stretches to relieve muscle pressure and improve flexibility. To me, Thai massages feel like a personal yoga training session, where the masseuse pulls your body in different directions and angles you didn’t know you could turn! Don’t be surprised if you hear yourself gasp or try to catch your breath as the masseuse yanks your torso crazily from left to right. While I’ve probably sufficiently scared you away from trying a Thai massage, I would highly recommend trying one! New York City has a couple places with Thai massage treatments that come pretty close to the ones you’ll get in Bangkok (e.g. Dusnee Thai Spa).
While it may be fun to get a massage, they can easily start pinching your budget. I’m always on the lookout for good spa and massage deals. I’ve found Lifebooker to be helpful in NYC, and LivingSocial and Groupon to be occasionally helpful in DC. There is also a National Spa Week, where local spas offer MAJOR discounts for spa therapies. Check out http://www.spaweek.com to receive alerts and discounts!
What are your favorite massages?