The venue is a little hidden away in The Address hotel, but once I find it, I instantly leave behind Dubai’s searing temperatures and blaring car horns and enter a tranquil refuge from chaotic city life. Candles guide my way through the softly lit corridors and gently burning oils help to relax me before my treatment.
This ancient form of traditional Thai massage is designed to relieve tension by applying ‘positive’ (read: a lot of) force on pressure points, muscles and ligaments. Through stretching and bending, the spine is elongated and joints are relieved of stress, giving a sense of wellbeing, energy and flexibility.
Step by step
I already have an idea of how forceful a Thai massage can be, so upon introduction to my tiny masseuse, Punnasa, I wonder if she’ll have the strength to sufficiently manipulate my considerable frame. I needn’t have worried. Within minutes, she’s applying so much pressure to my back, spine and shoulders with her fingers that I try not to wince in pain (much to her amusement). She then works out the knots in my back and shoulders before clicking all my joints and stretching what seems like every muscle in my body, from toes to neck, using varying techniques including walking across my back and pulling my arms while pushing my back with her feet. Punnasa then asks if I have any problem areas, to which I reply that I have particularly tight hamstrings; she then spends an extra five minutes focusing on stretching my legs. I’m then led to a relaxation room and served ginger tea while I recuperate.
• The massage really relaxed my muscles and the masseuse didn’t worry about causing me temporary discomfort in order to achieve this.
• You can use the sauna, steam room and shower before and after your treatment. You can even brush your teeth, should you so wish.
• If you want a relaxing spa experience, this isn’t for you. Although the massage is relaxing in parts, it often requires the masseuse to put real pressure on the muscles, which can be uncomfortable.
Immediately after the treatment I felt much more flexible and supple. My tight hamstrings often cause me discomfort in my back as my hip bones are pulled out of place slightly, but after the massage
this discomfort was gone.
Thai massage at Express Unwind
This retreat offers massages using herb poultices. From Dhs150 for an hour. Ladies only. Trafalgar Tower, International City (04 430 8304)
Royal Thai massage at Thai Privilege Spa
A more relaxing take on the traditional massage. Dhs350 for one hour. Ladies only. Al Wasl Road (04 348 9679)
Thai masage at the Shangri-La
Comfy surroundings and warmed beds make this spa’s Thai massage a real treat. Dhs320 for an hour. Sheikh Zayed Road (04 343 8888)
Traditional Thai massage is Dhs625 for 80 minutes. Until December 31, get 30 per cent of your first treatment, 40 per cent off your second and 50 per cent off your third. The Spa at The Address Dubai Marina (04 436 7777)