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Thai Massage, revisited

I took myself to Lake Austin Spa and Resort to use a gift certificate, and it was the perfect opportunity to try a Thai massage – fancy American style. My first exposure to Thai massage was in Taiwan, which was a bit on the rough side. The massage therapists at my first go literally told us that if anything hurt, we should say something. Sometimes, things get lost in translation.

For my second go, I wore regular yoga clothes – opting for a little looser top and my yoga tights. This worked out perfectly as I was comfortable and still had all the range of motion for the therapist to do as she needed.

I’m happy to report that my experience this time was much more serene and less of a jarring surprise. My therapist was gentle and eased me into the deeper stretches and compressions. The massage was done on the outdoor deck with partition curtains pulled for privacy and a cooling fan unit blowing on me since summer in Texas is already so hot. She used a bean bag eye cover to keep the sun out of my eyes so I could fully relax.

For the 100 minutes I was on the mat, I’d say it was about a 70/30 split between gentle relaxation and more intense stretches. I really appreciated the leg stretches – felt like she was pulling my entire leg from the ankle while using her feet against the back of my thigh for opposition. This woman was super strong too and wasn’t much bigger than I am (I’m only 5′ 3″). There was also a really intense twist where I’m lying on my side, and she pulled the lower arm upward until my upper body lifted from the mat while my other arm hung down and across my body like a rag doll. It was Whoa.

All in all, the American version I experienced didn’t leave me feeling like I went to a yoga class. BUT, I was still pretty blissed out in a serene, I’m-at-a-world-class-spa-and-resort luxurious kind of way. If you’re wondering about cost, the 100 minute Thai massage is pricey ($270), but it does include the use of the rest of the facilities – outdoor lounge pool, lap pool, showers, steam room, hot tub, sauna or go nap on a hammock along the lake.

One of these days, I want to actually stay there for a few days with some girlfriends so we can make use of the whole resort, including an outdoor class on the yoga deck and all of the yummy food. Until then, I can look back at these photos and daydream.

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