The traditional Thai art of blind massage

blindmassageThailand 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!!

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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!

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