A Thai massage can be a bit of a struggle but is surprisingly energizing. It feels a bit like enforced yoga, as the person being massaged is twisted and stretched in all directions. The masseur or masseuse applies pressure on certain points and pushes the joints. They stretch the person and twist them to stretch certain areas. It does feel uncomfortable at the time but feels great afterwards.
Thai massages are widely available in most tourist areas, such as Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Pai and the beach resorts. Thais give tourists massages on the beach: these vary in quality and can often be just a gentle rub down rather than a true Thai massage. Beach massages can be on a rug or blanket, or some make wooden stalls with mattresses on wooden couches to lie on. Make sure your bikini is securely fastened if getting a genuine Thai massage, some of the moves are quite rough.
Thai massage parlours in the cities on the other hand tend to offer a variety of options. Foot reflexology is advertised - reflexology is supposed to have healing powers and is based on the supposition that each part of your body is reflected in an area of the foot and stimulating and rubbing these areas can heal and balance a person. Other options are massages with herbal oil which are more relaxing but do incorporate aspects of traditional Thai massage, or hand and foot massages.
There are massage courses on offer which usually last a few days. One of the best places to do these is in Chiang Mai, where there are many massage schools. There are other massage centres around the country. Wat Pho in Bangkok has a very good reputation for its courses and is supposed to be the best place to get a massage. Visitors can experience a massage or learn the art through a 10 or 15-day course in Thai or English here also.