Thai Bliss…

26 May

*This post was by T2, a co-author of In The Taratory from 2011-2013.*

Following on from my recent post about massages and spa pedicures, I decided to try something different and treat myself to a traditional Thai massage at Thai Bliss. It had been a long week and my back was achey and tense after a minor car accident last week (nothing to worry about, folks, ’twas just a wee rear-ender – my car’s bum has seen better days, though!). With doctor’s clearance, I made a beeline for the parlour as soon as I finished work (note that they’re open from 10am-10pm everyday, so there’s bound to be a time that suits you).

Unlike the cheap massage places I referred to in my last review, bookings are imperative for Thai Bliss. You’d be lucky to walk in off the street and get straight in. I’ll definitely be calling ahead next time. Luckily, they were able to squeeze me in at 6pm, which gave me enough time to loiter around the Canberra Centre and run a few errands before wandering back.

On my return, my shoes were taken from me and I was given a pair of white slippers to wear. My masseuse beckoned me to the massage rooms, through a door with beautiful golden elephant handles. The mood was serene – dimmed lights, tranquil, relaxing lounge music, candles. I was left in peace for five minutes to get changed, down to a pair of pajama-like pants provided by the parlour. That’s right – no shirt, no undies – but I didn’t feel overly exposed. As I lay face-down on the massage bed, the masseuse covered me with a large towel and only moved it as necessary, meaning that my modesty was preserved throughout the massage.

There is a big difference between Thai and Chinese massages. Where Chinese massages tend to involve a lot of fast-paced rubbing (well, the ones I’ve experienced anyway – I know that there’s likely to be many different Chinese massage techniques that I’m yet to try, including cupping), a Thai massage is much slower and concentrates on pressure points and stretching. It is a blend of yoga, shiatsu and acupressure, “working with the energy pathways of the body”.

The itty-bitty woman who was my masseuse returned to the room and commenced work on my back. In hushed tones, she asked if the pressure was to my liking. I appreciated being asked – at some other cheap massage places, you kinda get what you’re given. I’m not used to pressure point massage, but I could definitely feel it releasing the tension in my shoulders and neck. The combination of warm Tiger balm and long, slow strokes was heavenly. Now, a note for those of you who have not tried Thai massage before: do expect to be bent into a range of funny positions! It’s a bit hard to describe the techniques that were used, but I do recall my legs being pushed and twisted into positions I hadn’t achieved since my last yoga class (which was about six months ago – so you can imagine the stretch my muscles got). At one point, the masseuse had me on my belly, using her knees and arms to gently pull my chest into a full arch (geez, I got a good back-crack from that one, I tell ya). She definitely had much more strength than I had first anticipated!

I know it all sounds a bit rough and tumble, but I assure you that the massage is not meant to elicit pain. When my masseuse noticed me flinching a couple of times, she immediately apologised and reduced the pressure of the stretch. You are very much in control of your experience. I didn’t need to say much at all, though – it seemed that my masseuse knew exactly where my sore spots were and how hard to work them to get results.

As always, the one-hour massage seemed to be over in the blink of an eye, but I left the room feeling well and truly  rejuvenated. I was a little light-headed, so some Thai fruit tea provided in the reception area was much appreciated. I then went to settle the bill and, to my delight, realised that it was really not much more expensive than massages at the cheapie joints. My hour-long massage set me back $69. I noted that the half-hour massage that I usually get (one hour was a true indulgence!) was only $5 more than David Lin’s Chinese massage price. Yet, that extra $5 bought so much more of an experience. The decor of Thai Bliss screams elegance (the attention-to-detail was the first thing I noticed on arrival, from the Thai-themed paintings on the wall and beautifully-presented treatment menus, to the bowl of floating flowers under the massage bed), the atmosphere is utterly relaxing (no clattering trolleys or noisy school kids running past, as is the case at the Westfield massage parlours), and I found the staff to be so much more friendly and welcoming.

I’m a convert.

Date: Friday, 25 May 2012

Where: Thai Bliss Therapeutic Massage (14 Childers St, Canberra city – just down from The Street Theatre at ANU)

Cost: $69

Worthwhile factor: Highly worthwhile

Want more? http://www.thaiblissmassage.com.au/

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3 Responses to “Thai Bliss…”

  1. Gary Lum May 26, 2012 at 1:43 pm #

    You’ve convinced me. I’m going to do this.

    • inthetaratory May 26, 2012 at 10:16 pm #

      I don’t think you’ll regret it, Gary! 🙂

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