The traditional Thai art of blind massage
Thailand is known for its ancient massage techniques, but here’s something you may not realize: there’s also a longstanding tradition of training masseuses who are visually impaired.
These therapists are said to be masters of their craft, giving a stronger massage with a better sense of touch and feel. So I’ve always been curious to try, especially after hearing about blind massage clinics in Chiang Mai and Hua Hin. But finally, I found somewhere to try it in Bangkok — the Centara Grand Ladprao hotel.
The hotel’s spa, Spa Cenvaree, is the only one in Centara’s family of hotels with blind massage therapists. They employ two therapists, a Thai man named Decha who was been working at the spa for over 20 years. Songkran is a 29-year-old woman and started working at Spa Cenvaree in 2013.
I laid quietly in one of the treatment rooms and Songkran shuffled in, feeling her way around the massage table. She has learned to speak English very well, as a requirement of the job. So she asked me lots of questions about where to focus and problem areas. And yes, she was definitely really, really strong!!
Afterwards, Songkran told me about how happy she was working as a masseuse. In the beginning, she was nervous about it since she couldn’t really imagine what a body would be like. But now that she is professional, she has a real passion for it and takes great pride in sending money back to her family in Chiang Mai.
I would definitely recommend heading to Centara Ladprao and getting a massage from Songkran or her colleague, Decha. Call ahead, as I hear they both tend to get booked up with repeat clients!