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Phuket has garnered a reputation as being one of the top spa destinations in the region. Phuket has a diverse range of spas offering all different kinds of treatments. There really is something for everyone, from spa pros to first-timers.
You might find yourself getting a full body massage on the beach or else being spoiled rotten at one of Phuket’s many full-service spas.
There are numerous independent Phuket spas as well as specialist hotel and resort spas. Each offers its own unique menu of spa treatments, many of which feature a combination of Asian and Western styles. You might get to sample the delights of local fruits and herbs or else perhaps you’re just after a pedicure and manicure.
There is a huge amount of choice when it comes to Phuket spas. Some spas hit the mark and you will leave feeling on top of the world, while others leave a lot to be desired. The popularity of the spa industry in Phuket can be traced back to 1995 when the Banyan Tree Spa, Phuket’s first luxury spa, opened its doors.
Within a few years, most of Phuket’s hotels and resorts had their own spas. In fact, there were spas all over the island. Phuket even has its own spa association, the Phuket Spa Association.
Spas in Phuket are run by creative people. The industry continues to come up with new treatments and packages for the public to try out. It pays to have an open mind and experiment a bit when it comes to spa treatments. It’s also worth having a good chat with spa staff to give them a feel of your health history and work out the best plan of action for your treatment.
Spa therapy in Phuket is a spiritual process that blends elements of meditation with a love of all things natural to help a person reach heightened levels of mental and physical happiness.
Phuket’s spas have achieved such notoriety because of Thailand’s long history of natural healing. This has taken on many forms in Phuket, from meditation to massage. For centuries, Thailand’s temples were the center of physical and spiritual healing in the country.
Massage in Phuket
It was Thailand’s monks who were the first to master the arts herbal remedies, massages and other treatments. This tradition evolved into a booming spa industry and nowhere is the more evident than in Phuket.
You can sample the delights of traditional Thai massage all over Phuket. Most hotels and resorts in Phuket offer massage services and facilities incorporating the best of the East and the West.
With so many spas in Phuket, it would be easy to become overwhelmed with all the different treatments on offer. As a general rule of thumb, you should expect to pay upwards of 500 baht for an hour-long massage, although prices vary considerably from one spa to the next.
If you don’t want to splurge on your Phuket massage treatment, there are numerous massage salons dotted around the island. The treatments at these places are usually nothing out of the ordinary, but if you have a few aches and pains there’s no harm in spending a couple of hundred baht in a salon. With such cheap prices, the massage salons are great places to go for regular visits.
The treatments offered usually don’t go much beyond Thai massage and sometimes reflexology. Massage salons are easy to spot as there will usually be a group of girls outside touting for business.
When it comes to massage in Phuket, there are several main types.
Traditional Thai massage
The first and most obvious is traditional Thai massage. You should be able to find this in just about every spa, hotel, resort, salon, beach and sidewalk in Phuket. Traditional Thai massage is physical and it can be exhausting. If you want something light and relaxing, this probably isn’t for you.
The aim of traditional Thai massage is to have your body worked on so as to release any tension. As they say: no pain, no gain. Putting your body through a traditional Thai massage will hurt, but you will feel like a new person once the massage is over.
Traditional Thai massage has evolved from techniques first pioneered in India during the time of Buddha. Thai massage involves lots of stretching and compressing owing to its close ties with yoga and reflexology.
You’ll usually find yourself being stretched and bent into positions similar to those used in yoga. A lot of the focus is put on applying pressure to certain points of the body that correspond to the body’s energy channels.
It’s perhaps not for the fainthearted, but everyone should get a traditional Thai massage in Phuket at least once.
You’ll find oil massage in many places in Phuket. Although the techniques used are similar to those of traditional Thai massage, you get additional elements such as aromatherapy. Oil massage is one of the most relaxing forms of massage that you are likely to find in Phuket. The whole experience is certainly a lot less demanding than a traditional Thai massage.
For the uninitiated, reflexology basically means foot and hand massage. The idea here is that the masseuse targets pressure points where nerves are located in your feet and hands. These pressure points are linked to your body’s organs and nerves. Although the attention is to your feet, hands and sometimes ears, the effects will be felt throughout your body.
Reflexology can help keep a person’s body healthy and, supposedly, fend off or even cure ailments, including headaches, breathing difficulties and backaches. We’ll let you be the judge, but there’s certainly no harm in trying while you’re in Phuket.
The Swedes have a lot to offer: beautiful people, a lovely country and IKEA. And then, of course, there’s Swedish massage, which you can find all over Phuket.
Swedish massage in Phuket is a great way to tackle niggling aches and pains. The procedure involves lots of oils and work on the muscles through kneading and long, purposeful strokes. This essentially airs and cleans out the body by allowing oxygen to move more freely through blood vessels.
You should be able to find Swedish massage in its various forms in most Phuket spas. Swedish massage is a great way of relieving stress and tiredness.
Shiatsu and acupressure
These two involve working on stimulating the flow of your body’s chi, or energy, in order to reach heightened levels of wellbeing. The process involves the application of pressure and various stretching techniques to improve the body’s circulation and flush out harmful toxins.
And the rest…
There is, of course, more to Phuket spa treatments than mere massage. There are all sorts of interesting packages available, some fairly standard and other completely wacky. Between one spa and another you might find yourself covered in chocolate or soaked in tom yum soup.
Steam and sauna
Having a steam bath and a session in a sauna is a good way of getting relaxed before a spa treatment. It opens up the body’s pores and the heat means that you sweat out unwanted toxins.
If water is involved then it’s probably something to do with hydrotherapy. Many Phuket spas offer whirlpools or footbaths as a way to help keep the body ticking over by increasing circulation and aiding digestion. Hydrotherapy is relaxing and can be an effective way of combating aches and pains.
Body scrubs and wraps
Lie back and relax as your body is covered from head to toe with natural products ranging from honey and lime to mud and sea salt. Body scrubs and wraps can be found in many Phuket spas. There is no better way of exfoliating and moisturizing the skin. Treatments can be tailored to your needs and the condition of your skin.
More one for the ladies, lots of spas now double as beauty salons, with full ranges of facials, pedicures, manicures and waxing available. You can even get your hair cut and styled.
Some Phuket spas offer packages targeting different needs. Perhaps you want a weight-loss package or a package to help relieve stress. Expect a full program of massage and treatments along with anything from colonic cleansing to tai chi. Many Phuket spas will tailor packages to suit a person’s needs and goals.