The famous Reclining Buddha stretches out at 46 meters. You have to admire a philosophical/religious icon whose preferred pose is for a nap. The site of this statue is Wat Pho (temple) in Bangkok which coincidentally is also the site of the Kingdom’s first university and the source of knowledge for traditional Thai massage. Thai massage is not the kneading bread dough variety, though there is some of that involved as well. It emphasizes repeated pressings on pressure points and a lot of stretching of muscles. Thus, it would appear that though I cannot do yoga myself, a professional Thai massage therapist can do it for me. Nice!
I stopped in at the Wat Po Thai Massage School where anyone from serious professionals to curious travelers can study the art and science of this massage. Massage is good not only for health and well being, but also is believed to treat ailments. In fact, a local university is conducting research into the effects of the technique on people with autism. Initial research indicates some positive results.
Inside the temple are also statues and drawings of the various poses and techniques including self-massage. This particular pose is considered very dangerous and recommended only for very serious professionals. Take a look at that face. Does that seem like a happy patient to you???
Afterward I had a massage at the temple’s two pavilions. So though it may look like I was an extra in the latest Jackie Chan movie or entering the qualifying rounds for the Thai Greco-Roman wrestling team, I am actually being made healthy. Apparently.
Further research took me to Bangkok’s best rated super spa at the five-star Dusit Thani Hotel, the Devarana Spa. The sight of the place is massage for the eyes, lots of infinity designs to doorways and hallways, a reflecting pool, soft light and perfumed air. A half hour of Thai herbal treatments and then 1.5 hours of a woman half my size cracking most of the joints in my body and using her elbows, knees, feet and shoulders to pull my limbs off was just what I needed. OK, I can’t lie and say it wasn’t at times uncomfortable, but the results really left me energized and feeling a lot more limber than usual.