I really wish I had looked up ‘traditional Burmese massage’ before I went for one! Reception in my hostel described it as being similar to a Thai massage – but better! So from that, I assumed it would be a bit more relaxing! Thai massages are nice on the whole but rough in parts. I can deal with that.
Let me set the scene…
After a long two days of exploring the incredible Bagan my friend Julie and I were knackered. We decided to treat ourselves to a massage in a spa recommended by our hostel. It was only a 5 minute walk away so we headed over around midday. It should have rang alarm bells when they gave us some pajamas to put on which strongly resembled prison outfits.
The beds were basically foam mattresses on the floor and we lay down, unaware what was about to hit us.
I can safely say I have never enjoyed a massage any less!!! I was praying for it to end from the second it started. You could say that I essentially paid someone about £12 to beat me up.
Googling now, ‘Burmese Massage’ the first quote comes up as:
Burmese techniques are the best. Go for the traditional Burmese massage. They will massage every muscle from head to toe, using hard pressure. They will use their hands, elbows and knees to aggressively rub out all the spots, aches and pains.
Aggressively is not wrong!!!
Every bone in my body was crunched to the point I thought I would never be the same again. I started lay down flat on my face and this tiny little woman basically started walking over my legs. Next she squeezed every muscle so hard when I left I had finger print bruises up my legs. I’m pretty sure in the UK that would be grounds to go to the police.
After being ruthlessly flung in all directions, she started the toe pulling. I had to intervene at this point and ask her to skip this section. I have no time for toe pulling, mine are only small and my joints are weak – there is a high chance one might come off completely.
Is it meant as a form of torture?!
No. The theory of Burmese Massage is that they are using your pressure points. They apply the pressure for an extended period of time, then release. When they release it the blood flow is meant to create a soothing sensation.
It didn’t. The blood flow created bruises! Once the massage finally came to and end the ladies left. Julie and I looked at each other in absolute shock. Her face reassured me that I wasn’t just being a baby. In fact, she had tears in her eyes. Mine must have gone easier on me! We got dressed into our own clothes, thanked the ladies for our massages, paid them and left as quickly as we could.
That was one long hour!
I had developed cramp in my calf muscle and had to hobble out. Not a sign of relaxation. We walked down the road where we were having lunch and just burst out laughing. That’ll teach us not to research a new type of massage in future!
So while some people love it and are clearly a sucker for punishment I found it traumatising. It’s safe to say I won’t be trying another Burmese Massage, I’ll stick with Swedish in future!
Have you tried Burmese massage?! Let me know what you thought of it if you did!!
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