I'M a sucker for a good massage.
And it's not just something that I treat myself to on special occasions - I truly feel that massages are an important part of a person's general well being.
For that reason, I head to my massage therapist about once a month for a good oldfashioned rub down. And while I love getting a deep tissue massage, sometimes it's nice to break out of routine.
Recently, I visited the newly opened Sabai Thai Spa location in Ambleside, to try out a completely unique experience in the "nuad pra kob" or herbal compress massage.
Walking into the spa, I was immediately transported into a different headspace. The dark wood and auburn colour scheme combined with the slightly spicy scented aromatherapy was enough to melt away the day's drama.
While getting ready for the treatment, I asked for a little more information about it.
Nuad pra kob combines 20 Thai herbs including prai, ginger, lemongrass, tumeric and cumin into a cotton compress that is steamed each time it's used. It's then applied to the skin using a massage technique.
The heat and herbs help reduce muscular inflammation, increase blood circulation and stimulate lymphatic drainage, said Nisita Auttapong, manager of Sabai Thai's West Vancouver location.
According to Auttapong, the treatment originated in Thailand more than 2,000 years ago.
"A long time ago in Thailand they didn't have hospitals or any doctors or any technology. When people got sick or injured they just went to the jungle and find any kind of herbs that they put together in the compress," she explained.
"They'd cover the injured areas and people got better so they continued to use it."
My 90-minute session started off with a soothing back massage using herbal oil. The herbal compress was then steamed and pressed against my skin in a dabbing motion.
I was initially concerned about the compress replacing the practitioner's hands for a large portion of the treatment. But I quickly found that I enjoyed the sensation of it against my body and the warmth and aroma it provided were equally comforting.
The treatment tended to my arms, legs and even my face and by the end of it, I was feeling a lot less stiff. I would highly recommend it to anyone who is truly looking to relax and be pampered.
The herbal compress is available for 60, 90 and 120 minutes at a cost of $110, $149 or $198.
If you're looking for something that will improve your flexibility, than consider trying "nuad boran" a.k.a. traditional Thai massage.
It's completely different from a regular massage in that it doesn't use any oil and recipients are asked to dress in loose pajamas. The treatment combines pressure point stimulation with gentle stretching to ease the body and boost energy.
"It's like somebody is doing yoga on you, but more relaxing," says Auttapong.
Traditional Thai massage is also available for 60, 90 and 120 minutes at a cost of $94, $129 or $179.
Sabai Thai is located at 1867 Marine Dr., West Vancouver and 987 Marine Dr., North Vancouver.
For more information go to www.thaispa.ca.