Share: do you like your massages hard or soft?

Coming to Thailand is not complete if you haven’t tried their traditional Thai massages. But Thai massages are not for everyone because the traditional ones require the masseuse to apply firm rhythmic pressing and stretching of the entire body; this may include pulling fingers, toes, ears, cracking the knuckles, walking on the recipient’s back, and even arching the recipient’s body. I’ll bet many people can hardly relax in that two-hour session!

We had a foot reflexology yesterday and it was pretty relaxing because it was done in a spa salon. Although this salon is situated above the train station, but we were able to doze off during the 45 minutes with the aromatherpy and soft music playing in the background. Perhaps it was also because we were placed in a sleeping position on a comfy chair too!

I actually hate foot reflexology when I’m back home because I find those masseuses in Singapore rather sadistic as they seem to derive pleasure from seeing us cringe at the pain when they press on our pressure points. But somehow, reflexology in Thailand is far more relaxing and enjoyable. I mean, if I can doze off, it must have been comfortable! Yet, my feet were noticeably lighter after the session.

The traditional Thai massage for the full body is another story though. We decided to walk into a salon at Central because it was late and we didn’t want to go any further. This is a hair salon that also offers massage services. It’s kind of strange to me but at least the massages were decent. In fact, the masseuse applied very strong pressure while she massaged my body and I had to endure the pain throughout the session. Yet, I was unwilling to ask her to reduce her pressure because I wanted to have those tight muscles unknotted!

Although the 1.5 hour session was hardly relaxing for me, but I actually relish the pain and even wished she would go on for longer. (>.< ) The thing is, I enjoyed the firm pressure she applied on my body but I think the ambience didn't cut it for it wasn't a spa and did not offer any frills of loose clothings to change, music or aromatherapy. The best massage I've tried in Bangkok was at Dusit Thani Hotel; it was both relaxing and satisfying. So how about you? Do you like body massages? Have you tried the traditional Thai massage and how do you like yours - with a firm pressure or a lighter touch?


  1. N. says:

    I’ll tear up with a hard pressure massage. I just can’t take it.
    I am very tense to the point of being advised in having a professional massage every week so I can have my muscles relaxed and to loosen the knots etc. But the first massage (and last) I ever got, a full body one, was amazing. Light pressure, my masseuse believed that it was possible to relax any muscle without pain. Plus the relaxing music, the scent, the oils, amazing. No pain and I got out of it feeling as if I floated.

  2. sesame says:

    Your therapist is right…a lot of times I feel more relax with a light pressured massage. Like the reflexology in Singapore vs the ones I’ve tried here. But the pressure cannot be too light that I feel it doesn’t do anything.

  3. Issa says:

    I also want soft massage! i can’ take it if there’s so much pressure, the more I’m not relaxed….

  4. MsLips says:

    I normally like soft massages as too much pressure would make me bruise and would not be relaxing. Having said that, I recently fell and apparently twisted my veins. My massage therapist told me and helped me realigned my veins. It was painful and I definitely didn’t doze off in that half hour but the results were good. I could actually raise my arms again. The best massage I had in Bangkok is at Health Land. Love the place!

  5. stella says:

    hard massages for me, the more it hurts, the better i feel after! maybe it’s simply coz my muscles are too tight. hard thai massage is the best for me; no wussy swedish (etc.) massages for me, i feel nothing!

  6. LatestGirls says:

    Last year I was in bangkok and wow there was a lot of walking to be done ?

    I went in for a massage and it was quite an experience. The herbal tea they offered me before the massage session made me feel so good from inside.

    I don’t remember either it was a hard massage or a soft one. Who cares I was so tired.

  7. Audris says:

    Medium pressure? I’ve gone for hard (tears) and softer massages and I prefer somewhere inbetween, as if it’s too hard, I’ve actually had my back aching for a few days from the bruises. My favourite’s a Thai Body Massage and an additional Foot Reflex, about 2 – 3 hours. Heaven =)

  8. Soos says:

    I don’t care for strangers touching my body! I had a knot in my shoulder this evening from work, and asked DH to massage it out. I’d say the pressure was on the medium to strong level, and relieved the pain and tension.

  9. mandy says:

    i prefer hard massages but only where my muscles are very tense cos the effects seem to last longer after the massage than merely enjoying a comfortable massage during the session.

  10. sesame says:

    Yes, I agree the effects are a bit more lasting.

  11. sesame says:

    Oh I see…it’s good your husband can give you a good massage. Mine has strong hands and a light touch to him is too strong for me.

  12. sesame says:

    I think medium would be about nice too. While body massage followed by foot reflex…agree that it is heavenly!

  13. sesame says:

    I guess it was probably just right. If it was too strong, it would have kept me awake and in some discomfort.

  14. sesame says:

    Haha…like the word you used – “wussy”…I agree. It cannot be just rub rub, finger finger and at the end, I don’t feel anything. Quite wary for small skinny massage therapists. Normally they have no strength.

  15. sesame says:

    Oh Health Land! My bestie wanted to go there but it was a bit far and we were so tired…so we just landed up at a random salon.

  16. sesame says:

    I know what you mean. I couldn’t relax when she was pressing on my thighs…it was quite painful and I was bearing with it for at least 20 mins (10 mins each thigh).

  17. Sylvia says:

    Definitely hard! I can’t stand soft massages that just touch the muscles but hardly do anything with it… Due to too much computer work, I have tense shoulder and back muscles. They need some good strong massage from someone who knows what she’s doing. In Singapore I usually go to a remedial massage therapist and it’s good but often pretty painful. But I love Thai massage too. Had some great ones there in a detox retreat I once did.

  18. sesame says:

    Oh…you had a detox retreat? Sounds interesting.

  19. Sylvia says:

    I wrote about my detox retreat on SBG if you’re interested. It’s at

  20. sesame says:

    Okay, I’ll read it later…couldn’t access into your site.

  21. Jasmin says:

    As for, it depends on the body part. I prefer hard massage for “cushioned” parts like the bum and thighs. For the “bony” parts like the shin, I prefer soft. I usually have a combination of swedish and shiatsu.

  22. sesame says:

    I find hard massages on thighs very painful. Don’t mind hard massages for the back but usually, will feel a bit sore afterwards.

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  26. Cathy Rogers says:

    I prefer soft massage. Sesame, what do you think which is most relaxation?

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