Thursday, April 06, 2017

Thai Massage in Chiang Mai

I have been to Chiang Mai many times since my first time after joining the Thai Massage Circus in 2010.   So i often get questions on Thai massage trainings and treatments you can get there, and i used to answer with an email that i kept updating.  Now, i will just give a link to this post :D

Disclaimer #1:  i am not an official guidebook and haven't tested all the options, so this is just my little narrow report of what i experienced & what i have been told firsthand.
Disclaimer #2:  change is the only constant in this world and i haven't been back since 2015, so please let me know of any updates this post needs.

First things first, if you have time only for one school go to Sunshine Schoolin my view (and that of many) it is the most professional and reliable school, clear technique and spirituality is not fake.  It's great for beginners, and they also have advanced courses.

If you go to Sunshine School (or anyway) check out this amazing guesthouse nearby  (for the price you can't get such a swimming pool and park anywhere else in town)

Finally about the Sunshine network, a couple hours away, if you want more like an intensive there are the famous Lahu Village retreats.  I didn't do it myself but knowing some of the teachers and many of the participants... it's really an amazing experience.

Another famous school there is ITM, i have heard good things from some people, and not-so-good things from others.. well it's on the basic side, possibly a starting point on Thai massage and learning about Thai teaching styles, but i wouldn't rely on it to become a professional practitioner.

No Chiang Mai report would be complete without legendary master
 Ajahn Pitchet,...  Usually departure by Songtao is around 8am at Chiang Mai Gate, or you go there by your own means...  first time you gotta bring offerings, put money in envelope, there are more details on the link above, and call him or ask around town for recent updates.   Do not expect a classic course, maybe it is the ancient way or just Pitchet's way... morning is dedicated to prayers, chanting, offerings, Dharma talk, maybe a demo, then veg lunch is included, then people drift to practice in pairs, you give one round, you receive one round, possibly with Pitchet himself or one of his advanced followers and so the knowledge trickles down. It's a unique experience of technical and spiritual transmission.

Then there is the Mike Tan
Originally a student of legendary master Poo and others, he developed his unique style... I had several treatments which were some of the deepest in terms of pain and benefit,.. not for the faint of heart, but i definitely recommend! I also heard from several friend that he is a great teacher, so definitely check out his schedule.

Mr Nat and Sin Chai, are two of the blind masters, ask around, definitely a must, they teach too sometimes.

My #1 recommendation of treatment to receive = the Chi Nei Tsang (deep abdominal massage) from Khun Ni, the amazing lady and funny shaman... she's ~25-45 minutes drive away (depending on traffic), call his driver who pick u up at Taipeh Gate or elsewhere and drives u back: 0818830781 or her daughter 09797464697.
Other alternatives for great Chi/Kar Nei Tsang:  Om is really good, i experienced her Chi Nei Tsang, she really is in the foot-steps of Khun Ni.. Her Thai Massage is also one of the finest.  She also teaches, though i have heard mixed reviews on that. superstar Mantak Chia's center...  he gave a degree to Khun Ni to validate her, though the story goes that he mostly learned Chi Nei Tsang from her.  Anyway his center looks amazing in many ways, i still have to go there some day... would be happy to hear your report if you venture there!
- the Loi Kroh massage school, where Khun Ni's former pupil Kooki teaches and gives treatments. Some people say she's even better than Khun Ni, other people told me less favorable things about her... i haven't had a treatment with her, so please add your feedback here if you go.

At the Lek Shaiya center, now her son's, Jack Shaiya, combines nerve touch with hot herbal compresses... powerful and yummy, definitely get one if u can!

More tip on receiving treatments (which i always recommend to get a sense of the diversity of Thai massage)... there are plenty of good (and less good) parlors in town.  the blind massage are great value, pretty deep and safe.  some temples also offer interesting variations, like the Tok Sen (with a wooden hammer, but i wouldn't trust anyone) in general if i go to a new one, i get the foot massage first, safe and easy to interact, or escape :) then if i like i go back for shoulder, or right away i ask as extra, etc.. 

Finally there is even an Indian healing antenna, the Ayurvedic clinic, where you can get a wide range of treatments including yummy shirodhara, colonics, etc,..  I had amazing treatments there at very reasonable rate... Ayurveda's finest with the Thai touch.