News Flash. I continue to be a willing victim to my massage addiction. I've had Ayurvedic and Thai massages by both sighted and blind masseurs, reflexology foot massages, a facial massage involving frozen cucumbers, Tok Sen (using a wooden mallet and stick to tap along the body's energy lines), and oil massages. Many of them. All wonderful. All leave me wanting MORE.
There have only been 2 duds. My worst was at the sidewalk massage stalls set up for the Saturday and Sunday Walking Streets (markets) in Chiang Mai. One massage therapist was so distracted she completely forgot to do my left foot until 50 minutes into the 1 hour treatment! I just went with it because I wanted to see what would happen - it was hilarious! Of course I could understand - there's a lot to see at those markets.
Some good is coming of all this self indulgence though. I thought I'd take a foot massage course and planned to go to a well known massage school for a 5 day course in Chaing Mai. However, Radtree, my guesthouse lady wouldn't hear of it.
"No, No, No! Too expensive! I know better teacher" she said before whisking me off to Wat Mahawan, the temple at the end of the soi (street).
So before I knew it I was enrolled in a 2 day foot massage course (within my budget). I had to take fruit and flower offerings to my first session for the Temple. Radtree purchase the necessary items for me so I didn't screw it up - which as a farang, I probably would have - it all seemed very subtle and complicated at the time.
What an AMAZING experience. The mornings started with prayers (chanting) in front of a giant Buddha in the hidden part of the temple, doing a warm up northern Thai yoga class with 3 trainee masseuses and some of the local Monks, a communal breakfast (and lunch) under the big banyan tree, and massage practice sessions with laughing and language lessons interspersed in all of our various languages - Thai, Japanese, Russian and English! I also spent a bit of time writing out the 75 steps involved in Foot Massage into English so they can be incorporated into the course materials, along with the Thai instructions.
And all that hanging around the temple had additional benefits as I received free, 2 hour Tok Sen massages from the other trainees. Happy! Happy! Happy!
This has been an incredible experience - I feel like I'm part of a temple family - and what sticks with me most is the laughing and smiles. Thai people are incredibly generous and hospitable.
Would love to stay longer in Chiang Mai as I have an open invitation to practice as much as I like at the Temple. Radtree was organizing an internship for me before I even started(!), but I'm booked on a local bus headed North to Pai...
Here's a picture of me at "work"...note how relaxed Tanya looks! That's an accomplishment!