It would be very easy to argue that you don’t really need a reason to have a good massage, particularly in so synonymous with the art as Thailand. However, there are five main reasons why people seek out a Phuket spa. And so they should, because massage can help with all of these reasons. Do any of the following sound like something you can relate to?
Yes, I know what you’re thinking: “Thanks for the newsflash, Captain Obvious – people get a massage to relax. In other news, Pope declared to be Catholic!” However, there is some scientific backing to this (the massage thing, I mean). A team from the Oxygen Research Centre in Australia found that people getting daily massages alongside standard treatments for anxiety achieved much better results than those on just the meds. Even in times of extreme stress, a massage is proved to be effective in lowering blood pressure and pulse rate.
If you’re not used to Thai massage, you might be surprised to find that people go to the spa to relieve pain. The knots a good Phuket masseuse can tie you in would make even a contortionist go pale. However, once again, there’s scientific support to suggest that what they’re doing to you will have a positive impact. Researcher’s from the Crocker Institute in South Carolina, USA, found that 116 of their first-time clients felt a reduction in muscle and joint pain after their first one-hour session. Plenty of other research papers have found that an ongoing course of massage treatment will provide lasting relief to even chronic pains.
No, that’s not a euphemism. The fact is that we all get stiff and sore after a day of exertions. Try spending a day walking around Phuket Town, enjoying the sights, shops and sweets. On returning to your hotel, a visiting to the spa will help your sore feet and will mean that you don’t lose a perfectly good pool day because your legs have ceased up. Various case studies have found even people suffering from crippling and chronic stiffness can get some ease and relief from a massage.
This is a little like taking the previous point to the extreme, but massage treatment can help to speed up the repair of damaged muscles. A team from Ohio State University tested the theory on rabbits (that’s not a euphemism either) and found that those which received massage therapy recovered faster, with improved strength and reduced swelling. Other studies conducted on humans found similar results, which is why professional sports teams usually have a professional massage therapist on staff.
Sometimes, it’s nice just to treat yourself. In fact, it’s healthy – at least, that’s what a team from the University of Hertfordshire and the University College London found. Just the sensation of being touched and massaged, even when there’s no practical need for it, improved the sense of self in 52 human test subjects.