I love Thai food. Spicy and coconutty. Delicious, a fabulous cuisine. So tasty and delicate and light.

However, a Thai massage is not delicate and light.

I have had back problems since I was 16. An inflamed sciatic nerve is very painful. The pain starts in your lower back and shoots down your leg. The pain isn’t constant, it strikes when you get off a chair or get out of bed or lift something heavy. So throughout your day, you forget it’s there until you do something to trigger it and the jolt of pain shocks you to the core.

I hurt my back pretty badly while trying to turn a sedated patient during a procedure the other day. I could not even walk properly. Patients were actually feeling sorry for me, for a change!

I had to do something, and my husband suggested a Thai massage. He warned me it probably wouldn’t be pleasant, but I didn’t care, I just wanted to be rid of the pain.

So after work, I walk Into the massage parlour and I am greeted by an itsy-bitsy Thai lady. I was like a giant next to her. She was positively Lilliputian. She told me to take all my clothes off and lay face down on the chair. I am a confessed prude and I’m rather uncomfortable being nude around anyone except my husband, so I stripped down to my underpants and lay face down, covered in a towel, dignity intact.

The first thing she did was put a hot towel on my back. It felt amazing. I was so stiff and sore. I thought, hmmm ok, this is going to be all right.


That was the only ‘nice’ part about the massage. She then proceeded to massage my stiff and aching back with her elbows. It was excruciating. Then, to my horror, this tiny Thai woman climbed on my legs, balanced on my bottom and massaged my lower back with her knees.

PAIN PAIN PAIN PAIN PAIN PAIN. And I am no pussy. I have a high pain threshold, thank God. But this was pain like I never experienced before. Also, when I am in a lot of pain, I have a weird habit of laughing maniacally. It completely sends out the wrong message. Usually during a relaxing massage I can’t relax because I think of funny things, like imagine if I were to fart, I wonder if the masseuse ever needed to massage anyone really hairy and does the hair get stuck in her fingers, I wonder what would happen of I suddenly jumped off the bed and screamed like a raging psychopath in the masseuse’s face. But this time I couldn’t think full-stop because of the pain.

The following conversation ensued:

Me: wow, that hurts quite a lot.
Thai lady: yes, it very painful. But you strong lady, s’okay! *cue cheerful little laugh.
Me: MMMMMMmmmmmmargh!
Thai lady: Madame, u ok? Yes u ok! You strong lady! But very stiff muscles.
Me: MWAHAHAHA (evil maniacal laughter)
Thai lady: tee hee hee! Pain! Little pain and burning!

And so much for dignity intact. She moved my underwear into a kind of half thong and massaged my butt cheeks. Very weird. And painful, as my butt cheeks are also stiff.

Towards the end, she sat me up, squatted behind me and put her knees on my back and pushed me forward. While doing this, I had to clutch the towel to my chest because towels don’t defy gravity. This wasn’t an episode of Spartacus…completely different part of the world. Then she said ‘no, no you must relaaaax!’ And she grabbed my arms and put them by my sides. I tried to grab the towel with my teeth, but my jaws weren’t nimble enough. Ah well. She was behind me and I was facing a wall. Dignity intact. Once again.

‘Ok you are done!’ Thank God. But then she told me to bend over and touch my toes slowly.While holding up a very small towel. So I figured she would leave the room. Nope! She waited until I performed the final exercise. I wrapped the teeny-tiny towel (i guess it was thai size) around my chest and touched my toes. Then she finally let me get dressed.

‘You should come in again on Wednesday’ she said ‘as you are verrrrrry stiff’.
Me: ‘maybe.’

No fucking way.

So, my final verdict: believe it or not, it actually worked. I could hardly walk when I went in and I felt great walking out. Almost entirely pain-free. I probably will go for it again some time in the future.

Just not Wednesday.
And I’ll bring my own towel.

And here is a red Thai curry.