I have never been one for the ordinary things or experiences in life, as my mom says to me “you don’t like to do anything normal” and that woman is always right(i wanna be just like her when i grow up). On my recent family holiday to Chiang Mai in northern Thailand, i had seen too many bloody massage parlours but i never really craved actually getting a massage. It could be the twenty ladies that stand outside saying “Maaasssaggge madam, special price for you”(in my best Thai voice there) that throws me off, i just cant be quite sure. However after some research and finding out that in Chiang Mai you could get a cheap massage by an ex-inmate just to spice your life up a little. I was all over it. Yes, you heard me right, i had the pleasure of getting rubbed up and down by a newly released inmate(exciting or what?) at Lila Thai Massage in Chiang Mai city center. Oh yes, what a treat indeed.
The lady that was doing my massage was fresh out of prison only six months and she seemed like a really nice lady. It was hard to imagine her as a prisoner, she looked so sweet. I didn’t ask her what she had done time inside for, i just didn’t feel it was appropriate, even though i was secretly dying to know. Myself, Aidan and Anita went and had an hour long traditional Thai massage(be rude not to) and i probably should have learned from my first ever Thai massage experience a good while back, that i am just not cut out for them….fact. Makes sense why i don’t really crave them. Seriously the positions the put you into, it puts a yoga class to shame. If your a flexible one, this will be right up your street though. Its definitely not what springs to mind when you think of a massage, usually relaxation is the number one expectation. Well not quite for me, i spent most of the hour yelping and laughing, think i was cracking my massage lady up. She kept laughing at me and telling me to “relax, relax”…..eh bit hard love when you have me twisted into all sorts. Its probably just me(and my bother, he was broke up just as much) that cant handle the traditional Thai massage(weak links). If i was to go back i would be opting for an oil massage(a normal massage, just with oil and less bendy positions). But at only 200 baht for an hour for the traditional one, and considering i came out feeling all light, floaty and more nimble than ever and had giggled for most of it i am pretty happy with the overall experience(not hard to please, eh?).
Before they begin your massage they get you to change into some very sexy massage gear(not sarcastic at all) consisting of fisherman pants and a matching shirt. God those fisherman pants are a tricky one… the changing room even had instructions on how to tie them and i still rocked into the room with them half hanging off me. Mastering them is a skill, trust me.
An Orange Color outfit is provided for the ladies(orange is the new black after all) and blue for the guys. Then they give your feet a little wash and you are ready for your beating(nah just kidding). You will be in a room potentially with other people so just bear that in mind, if that’s something that bothers you. To get you started they provide a complimentary cup of tea before the action takes place. Here is a pic of us looking dapper just before we got rubbed up the right way.
The Thai Lila massage parlor was set up by the former director of the Chiang Mai women’s prison, Naowarat Thanasrisutharat and all staff are fully immersed into a 180 hour massage training programme, so rest assured, these ladies know what there doing, you will be in good hands(pun intended). The company has grown and expanded to five branches throughout the city. By having a massage or any of the other treatments on offer(Foot massage, pedicure, body scrub…take your pick) you are contributing to helping support the lives of newly released victims who might be discriminated against in society due to their past. The Lila Thai massage is a place that gives hope and opportunity to these ladies, that they might not get otherwise. So its baht well spent in my eyes.
So forget your usual trip to the same standard massage parlour and try out this one that not only benefits you and these ladies who are on the road to starting a new life. Go on ….do something a little different!!
PS…. You can also get a massage by a blind practitioner in Chiang Mai(yes i know i am full of valuable information…what would you do without me?) the massage is meant to be a lot stronger due to their heightened sense of touch, so if its a fierce one your after, this could be the perfect massage for you.