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One of the things that both ex-pats and visitors to Koh Samui love is Thai massage. The definition of massage is the kneading and rubbing of the muscles with hands, although in Thailand you are likely to be kneaded with elbows and feet as well.
Depending on where you are in the world, your massage experience can be very different. While having a massage can have huge benefits, and broadly speaking anybody can enjoy this treatment, who should be thinking twice about having a massage? Massage is not recommended for people who have problems with their blood circulation, conditions such as diabetes, pregnancy, high blood pressure, skin problems or arthritis or a bad back or neck. If you have any of these conditions, called contra-indications, it does not mean that you cannot enjoy the benefits of a massage but it would be wise to take advice from your GP before you do so. (if you are suffering from a bad neck, please note a massage can aggravate the situation) A reputable masseur/masseuse, will always ask about his/her clients medical problems before he or she decides whether or not to massage his/her client.
So, what does a massage actually do? Massaging the muscles increases the blood flow through muscles. This then enables the lymph fluid to pass round the body. The heart pumps the blood and the muscles push the lymphatic fluid around the body. The desired effects of a massage are relaxation and invigoration. If you are looking for a relaxing massage then it is probably advisable to elect for an oil massage rather than a traditional Thai massage that is based more on manipulation than kneading and rubbing. There are many different oils than can be used. Almond oil is a very good base oil. A popular choice would be almond oil with an essential oil such as lavender. When using essential oils, only a small amount of essential oil is needed and the amount used also depends on whether you wish to be relaxed or invigorated. Usually a choice of oils will be offered that will suit your needs. Essential oil massage is not to be confused with aromatherapy. An aromatherapist will choose certain oils for different conditions.
Having a massage will certainly help you to relax and if you are visiting no trip to Thailand should be without one, but, do remember to tell the masseuse if you have any contra indications.