Life in Chiang Mai
A hands-on experience:
massage by blind people
By Tom Long
There’s certainly a plethora of choice if you’re in the market for a
massage, here in Chiang Mai. On almost every city street pedestrians are
constantly assailed by imploring cries of ‘’massage?’’ as little local
parlours seek their custom.
But far from all of them are professionally-trained and thus able to provide
a decent massage service (though certain other services are often said to be
So if you’ve looking for a well-trained person, head for the Northern Thai
School for the Blind. This is situated at 41 Arak Road, on the moat not far
from the Suandok Gate (tel.053 – 278009). [www.cmblind.org].
This vocational training institution has courses to enable young blind
people to take up massage work and, judging from the results, very
well-trained they are there, too.
To start with, they’ll ask you if you’ve got any sore points on your body
needing attention. This will then be explained to the blind person who will
massage you. They have both men and women there providing massages.
You can have a foot massage or a full-body massage; either way the price is
a very reasonable THB 150 per hour, for the 1 or 2 hours that you select.
You’ll be given a sparkling clean cotton outfit to wear during your massage.
Their massage chambers are spotless, airy and air-conditioned.
Many of their people provide acupressure massage, where meridian points
around the body are pressed, quite hard, rather than muscles and/or loose
flesh being rubbed, as happens elsewhere. Such an approach requires proper
training, but the results are vastly superior to ordinary massages.
You’ll end up with all your nerve ends tingling, but in a nice way. The
whole experience is as a massage should be, gently relaxing. I took only an
hour’s session there the last time, but I won’t make that mistake again:
I’ll plump for a two-hour session there from now on.
As well as making you feel great physically, you may also feel morally good
because you’ve helped to provide work for blind people who would otherwise
not find it easy to get a job here in Chiang Mai. So go ahead, and give them
a chance to show what they can do to your stressed-out body!
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