11 BEST THAI MASSAGE AND SPAS
There is no place like Bangkok when it comes to heavenly massages and pampering spa treatments. Sure, Asia has no lack of such indulging options, but Bangkok is the place to be if you want some rejuvenation.
You have your very cheap massages at an average THB 300 per hour; that’s S$10 per hour. Unheard of! And then you have the mid-tier ones that are slightly pricier, but what you get is a lush environment with detailed services from the moment you enter.
No trip to Bangkok is complete without a session, so here’s sharing 11 of the Best Thai Massage and Spas in Bangkok. You deserve the pampering.
#1 ASIA HERB ASSOCIATION
Asia Herb Association is hugely popular with the Japanese expatriate community in Bangkok. They offer a complete spa experience without the exorbitant price tag that you would usually associate with a luxury spa. And the menu is comprehensive – massages, body treatments, facials and more. You can also customize your session when you fill up the consultation form; let the therapists know your preferences and where you would like to focus on or are not comfortable with.
Rejuventate your body with a Herbal Aroma Oil Body Massage (THB 900/60 minutes) or a Herbal Facial Treatement (THB 1200/80 minutes). Its Asia Perfect for Body package (THB 2,340/2 hours 30 minutes) comes with a 60-minute Body Scrub, 60-minute 100% Pure Blend Oil Body Massage, and 30-minute Fresh Organic Herbal Ball treatment for body.
When in Bangkok, we’d like to set aside half a day for a relaxing session at Asia Herb Association. Appointments are recommended as they are really popular, and members enjoy a 5% discount off ala carte treatments – you can sign up as a member on the spot, and it is free, which makes it a really sweet deal.
Sukhumvit Soi 24
Tel: +66 2 617 4013
Daily: 9am – 2am
Nearest Station: Phromphong
#2 BREEZE SPA AMARI WATERGATE BANGKOK
Located on the 8th floor of Amari Watergate Bangkok – just across the street from Platinum Fashion Mall – Breeze Spa may seem like an unlikely place to go to for a spa treatment, but take step in to Breeze Spa and you will find yourself drifting away into an oasis of calmness. Spa treatments include traditional Thai massage, body polishing, facial treatments, as well as a half-day or a full day spa retreat.
If you are good to invest a bit more in a proper and luxe spa sesssion, why not make an appointment with Breeze Spa and head over after shopping at Platinum Fashion Mall? The idea of shopping and massage sounds perfect to us.
847 Petchburi Road
Amari Watergate Bangkok
Tel: +66 2 653 9000
Daily: 10am – 10pm
Nearest BTS: Chit Lom
#3 CHANG FOOT MASSAGE & SPA
There are several Chang outlets, and though the experiences are pretty much hit-and-miss, we like this place for its convenience and friendly price list. We’ve tried both their Thai massage and Foot Reflexology, and while the “standard” really depends on the therapists, we can safely say that they are generally commendable for their foot reflexology.
At THB 250 per hour, your feet will thank you for that much-needed rub! Certain outlets open till really late too, so you can definitely pop by before supper.
Siam Square Soi 6
Tel: +66 2 654 6339
Daily: 10am – 12 Midnight
Nearest BTS: Siam
#4 HEALTH LAND
Health Land may be a chain, but it is popular for a good reason. In fact, it is one of the most popular spas in Bangkok. There are various outlets in Bangkok, including Asok, Ekamai and Silom. Well, the scale of Health Land is impressive to say the least. The Asok branch is an eight-storied building with its own carpark.
While the interior of Health Land is very nicely done up – it feels more like a luxurious spa than a typical massage parlour – prices are surprisingly but pleasantly very reasonable, and a 2-hour traditional Thai massage is only THB 500, which is the standard market rate and what you would get when you walk into any parlour by the roadside. It is no wonder that Health Land is packed with customers everyday, and reservations are most definitely required.
55/5 Sukhumvit 21 Road, Asoke
Tel: +66 2 261 1110
Daily: 9am – 11pm
Nearest BTS: Asoke
#5 LEK MASSAGE
Another massage place that we frequent when in Bangkok is Lek, which is also on Siam Square Soi 6, opposite Novotel Hotel. But this is also a place where your luck will be put to a test – some therapists are masters, while a handful of them are very rude and we could feel it through their inconsistent strokes that they are plain reluctant and lazy.
Nonetheless, the massage house is still worth a try. They have the Traditional Thai Massage (THB 250/hour), but we highly recommend the Back, Shoulder & Neck Massage with Hot Compress (THB300 /hour). It is very effective, especially if you have knots in those areas.
412/3 Siam Square Soi 6
Tel: +66 2 658 3930
Daily: 8am – 12 Midnight
Nearest BTS: Siam
#6 LET’S RELAX SPA
Another popular massage chain is Let’s Relax Spa. Its newest joint at Siam Square One is a huge space with both body massage and foot reflexology rooms. Just a tad more expensive – Thai massage (THB 500/hr), and foot reflexology (THB 400/45 mins) – than those regular ones by the street would charge, Let’s Relax Spa is for all who seek a quieter and cleaner environment.
To be most honest, we did not quite enjoy our sessions. But that is because Let’s Relax Spa is truly relaxing, and we happen to be fans of hardcore and strong massages. That said, if you prefer gentle rubs that will send you to slumber, then Let’s Relax Spa is the place for you.
Appointments are strongly recommended. And if you are looking at a 2-hour session, your treatment will end with a serving of mango sticky rice!
388 Siam Square 1 6th Floor
Phraram 1 Road
Tel: +66 2 252 2228
Daily: 10am – 12 midnight
Nearest BTS: Siam
#7 LUXSA SPA HANSAR HOTEL BANGKOK
This is quite a hidden gem. Hansar Hotel at Ratchadamri is actually one of our favourites in Bangkok, and its Luxsa Spa is definitely unrivalled. The moment you set foot on the “wellness level”, you are in sanctuary. The therapists will take you through their various spa programmes and offerings, you pick your treatments from the extensive menu, and your pampering begins.
Set your mind free, soothe your senses, luxuriate in the holistic treatments and bid your stress and worries goodbye. Luxsa Spa does not come cheap, but it will be money well spent. Its signature Eastern Blend Massage is highly recommended.
3/250 Soi Mahadlekluang 2 Rajdamri Road
Hansar Hotel Bangkok
Tel: +66 2 209 1234
Nearest BTS: Ratchadamri
#8 NUMBER ONE
After a long day of shopping at Platinum Fashion Mall and Pratunam Market, cross the road and head over to Number One which is tucked along Petchburi Soi 15. There are a few massage shops on the same stretch, but Number One is easily the best.
And yes, it is one of those “cheap” massage places with treatments that range from THB 250 to THB 400 per hour.
Petchburi Soi 15
Tel: +66 2 653 9967
Daily: 9am – 1am
Nearest BTS: Chit Lom
#9 URBAN RETREAT
Urban Retreat is more expensive than the usual massage parlours – THB 500 for an hour of traditional Thai massage – but it is still affordable, and it is one of the more well-known spas in Bangkok. Treatments include Head & Shoulder Massage, Aroma Oil Massage, and Hot Stone Massage. The Asok outlet, located just beside the BTS, is very accessible.
Khlong Tan Nuea Vadhana
Tel: +66 2 294 7013
Daily: 10am – 10pm
Nearest BTS: Asoke
#10 SO SPA SOFITEL SO BANGKOK
Luxury spa options in Bangkok is aplenty, but if we have to streamline our options, then So SPA at the gorgeous Sofitel So Bangkok is in. The environment is one so inviting and we feel invigorated the moment we set foot on that level. Quiet and serene, with the scent of essential oil burning in the air.
The signature treatments include So Exhilarating Body Massage (THB 2,950/60 minutes), So Rejuvenating Facial (THB 3,200/60 minutes). For the ultimate experience, try the Turkish Hamman bath (THB 5,900/150 minutes) which combines a detoxifying hot steam, body scrub, body wrap and a Moroccan massage.
2 North Sathorn Road, Bangrak
Sofitel So Bangkok
Tel: +66 2 624 0000
Daily: 10am – 10pm
Nearest BTS: Sala Daeng
#11 WATPO THAI TRADITIONAL MASSAGE SCHOOL
The birthplace of traditional Thai massage, Watpo is as old school as you can find. Sitting within Wat Pho – the Temple of the Reclining Buddha – Watpo offers authentic Thai body massages at THB 420 per hour.
If you are keen to learn more about Thai massage, take up a course here – from a 5-day beginners introduction course to a 5-week professional Thai massage therapy course, you can start honing your skills.
What are the benefits of Thai massage?
Many people believe that the health benefits of Thai massage include lowering stress, boosting energy, and improving athletic performance.
Thai massage uses gentle pressure and stretching techniques to relax the whole body. This is an ancient healing practice that originated in India. It dates back to around 2,500–7,000 years ago.
The technique that Thai massage practitioners use is very different from what people in the West may be accustomed to. Unlike Swedish or shiatsu massage techniques, in which a person passively lies on a bed, the client lies on the floor and participates more actively in the massage.
This article will look at the benefits of Thai massage, how it can help athletes, and some of the side effects that people may experience.
Thai massage has many health benefits, from lowering stress to relieving muscular tension. It can even increase energy. Below, we discuss five health benefits of Thai massage.
1. Lowers stress
Stress is not necessarily bad. Often, stress can act as a positive motivator that might help push people to perform better and accomplish more in their personal and professional lives.
However, too much stress can negatively affect mental and physical health. Chronic, or long-lasting, stress can lead to serious illnesses, including depression and cardiovascular disease.
Thai massage uses gentle pressure and stretching techniques to relax the body. A 2015 study found that Thai massage significantly reduces levels of a certain stress marker present in the saliva, called sAA.
The researchers concluded that Thai massage is more effective at reducing stress in healthy people than simply resting.
2. Boosts energy
Research has shown that Thai massage can increase people’s physical energy levels. One randomized trial examined the effects of Thai and Swedish massages in people who were experiencing fatigue. The results revealed that Thai massage increased energy and mental stimulation, while Swedish massage was more likely to improve relaxation and sleep.
The Thai massage technique is based on the notion of energy lines, or Sen. Most practitioners believe that there are various Sen, or channels, of energy within the body.
Sen correspond to different parts of the body, such as the bones, muscles, blood, and nerves. Some Sen also affect the mind and consciousness. These are called subtle channels.
The theory suggests that tight muscles cause blockages within different Sen. These blockages reduce the flow of life energy, which results in stiffness, pain, and illness. Thai massage uses different techniques that either open or constrict different Sen to correct the flow of life energy.
3. Relieves headaches
Court-type is a specific form of Thai massage that involves applying pressure to specific energy channels.
One 2015 study found court-type Thai massage is an effective treatment for people who have chronic tension headaches. They also had lower measures of tissue hardness, which the scientists measured using a handheld device.
4. Stimulates circulation
Thai massage can promote the circulation of both blood and lymph through the use of gentle stretches. These yoga-like stretches increase blood circulation, which fills the body’s tissues with oxygen. This helps promote cell growth and heart health.
They believe that this is because it improved blood circulation, which, in turn, stimulates the somatosensory system. This is a system that plays a major role in balance.
5. Improves range of motion
Thai massage incorporates yoga-like stretches to reduce stress and improve circulation. The gradual, gentle stretching will enhance the person’s flexibility over time, allowing a greater range of motion.
Thai massage may also improve the circulation of the fluid in the joints, or synovial fluid, which reduces friction between the joints. This can improve joint mobility and range of motion.
Athletes are prone to fatigue, muscle and joint pain, and injury during their training. That is why many athletes work with specialized sports massage therapists.
Sports massage combines assisted stretches and various massage techniques to treat sports injuries and improve an athlete’s range of motion. Practitioners will often use assisted stretching to target a specific area of the body or a particular muscle group.
Thai massage, on the other hand, gradually stretches the whole body, allowing the person to relax. The dynamic stretches that Thai massage practitioners use may offer deeper, more restorative stretches than some assisted stretching techniques of sports massage.
Relaxation combined with the energizing and invigorating effects of Thai massage help people feel mentally and physically restored.
Thai massage also improves circulation, which brings more oxygen to muscles and other tissues. This may prevent injuries and improve the athlete’s ability to recover after intense training.
After a Thai massage, a person may feel very relaxed. However, they need to keep in mind that their muscles have been worked, stretched, and prodded. After a Thai massage, a person should rest and drink plenty of water.
There are no guidelines for how often a person should get a Thai massage. People should try to incorporate daily maintenance routines that involve stretching and relaxation techniques. This will help them remain flexible for a long time after their massage.
People should also listen to their bodies. If someone experiences lasting pain or discomfort in one area of their body, they should see their healthcare provider, as this could indicate an underlying health condition.
If someone wishes to focus on a specific area of their body, they can choose to work with a massage therapist to schedule regular sessions until they are satisfied with the results. At that point, they can consider spacing out their appointments and focusing on maintaining the results.
A good way of visualizing Thai massage is by imagining that someone is arranging the body into different yoga poses.
For a Thai massage, the client usually lies on the floor. A licensed massage therapist will slowly work the client’s body through various stretches. The therapist may use their hands, knees, legs, or feet to help manipulate the person’s body into different positions.
This should not cause pain or discomfort, but a person should alert their massage therapist if they do experience either of these things.
People do not need to prepare for a Thai massage in advance, but they should consider the following advice:
- Try to arrive about 10 minutes early to fill out any paperwork before the appointment.
- Inform the practitioner about any significant medical history, because Thai massage is not safe for some people with certain health conditions.
- Come to the appointment wearing loose-fitting or athletic clothing. Try to avoid tight clothing because it can cause discomfort and limit the range of motion during the massage.
Thai massage also uses energy work, which involves applying pressure to specific points on the body to open channels that will improve the flow of energy throughout the body.MEDICAL NEWS TODAY NEWSLETTERStay in the know. Get our free daily newsletter
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While Thai massage has many health benefits, the technique also has limits.
Due to its impact on the circulatory system, people with the following health conditions should consult their healthcare provider before seeking a Thai massage:
- high blood pressure
- heart disease
- neurological diseases that affect the spinal cord
- coronary artery disease
Trained massage therapists can adjust the intensity and pressure to suit their clients. However, a person should avoid Thai massage while recovering from an injury. Even at the lowest intensity, Thai massage can sometimes cause further injury to the body.
People who have cancer, are pregnant, or are recovering from surgery should not undergo a Thai massage. The physical intensity of this massage technique could lead to health complications or worsen preexisting injuries.
Despite its ancient origins, Thai massage remains a relatively new technique in Western culture. Recent research has revealed that Thai massage is associated with many health benefits, such as improved circulation, an improved range of motion, and reduced levels of stress.
While a person of any age can get a Thai massage, it is not appropriate for everybody. People with certain health conditions, such as cancer or cardiovascular disease, those who are pregnant, and those who have just undergone surgery should not get a Thai massage, as the technique could pose health risks.
If someone is considering getting a Thai massage but is concerned that their medical history may prevent them from doing so, they should consult their healthcare provider first.
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