I found Thai Lotus Healing Spa in Sherman Oaks through a friend’s recommendation. As I mentioned briefly in my last post, I think Thai Massage is awesome. I wanted to set out and find another place to go.
The tricky thing in this town, and probably others, is that often you don’t know if a place offering Thai Massage is legit. Some of those $40 massage places don’t look it, their windows are covered and I often wonder if there isn’t something more nefarious going on. I first looked up Thai Lotus Healing Spa online, I checked out their website, their reviews on Yelp, and then I decided to give them a call. This is what you should do before you check out any massage therapy place. You need to make sure they are legit, and that the work they do is healing.
When I called to set up an appointment, there was a bit of a language barrier. As they also offer a Swedish Thai massage, I wanted to make sure I was just getting a basic Thai session. Unfortunately, I think they just heard I wanted the Swe-Thai, and that’s what was scheduled. I figured, Eff it, why not?
So what is Thai Massage, and why would you combine it with Swedish? Because combining styles is ahhh=-mazing. When one gets a standard Thai Massage, you’re lying on a mat on the floor, wearing comfortable stretchy clothes, and your therapist is often kneeling beside you, crouching next to you, or even using their hands and feet to stretch you out. Some people who receive it for the first time get a little freaked out, because they feel their personal space may be invaded. It’s okay, it happens, it’s part of the style.
Thai bodywork is all about working along energy channels that run through the body, (what they call Sen Lines). They use rhythmic hand pressure, stretching, pulling, all to open up the whole body instead of focusing on one section. You could imagine that someone is leading you through a yoga routine, but they’re the ones moving you around. You might even feel like you’re getting a workout, but at the end of the session, you’re completely relaxed and loose. I often recommend it for dancers and athletes alike. Heck, even if you’re on the computer a lot, I recommend a session. Traditionally, a session will last 90 minutes to 2 hours. HEAVEN.
When I arrived at the spa, I was pretty much open to whatever they told me. It turned out they did think I asked for a combination massage. Ha! Again, not going to fault them, I’m sure anyone speaking their second language on the phone isn’t easy. I also wasn’t going to have a fit because no matter what, I was going to get a massage, right?
Their spa is a small, intimate one. Low lighting, a water fountain trickling at all times, and there is the requisite new-agey music playing the background. I was taken down their small little hallway, and shown the first room. It’s really more of a large booth! The walls are the paper thin style that you see in movies, except they don’t slide around. A large curtain is the door. I was told to lay facedown on the mat, use the neatly folded up blanket for my cover and to hang my clothes and belongings on the wall. It was a little strange for me, because I’m so used to a standard “Western” feel of a spa – a locker, robe, a door to your room, etc. The mat provided comfort, the blanket was soft, light, and comforting.
My therapist, Eve, started out applying warm, wet towels to my feet. Ahh. She then proceeded to use her hands to “walk” up my legs in a steady rhythm. She moved my legs around for light stretches, and my mind proceeded to zone out. The massage consisted of a mostly Thai style, the stretching, the rhythmic pressure, but when she got to my back, that’s where the Swedish style came into play. A sweet smelling cream was used, and here, her strokes were just as deep before, but they became long and fluid, instead of the short, staccato like pressure that I had on my limbs. When she finished working on my back, she then applied another warm, wet towel to my back. It was a nice added touch. She proceeded to tell me when to turn on my side and worked along my neck and shoulders. And then we did the other side. (In traditional Thai massage, the therapist is the one that moves you around the mat, and turns you over all by themselves. It’s pretty fun to feel like a rag doll). What was extra cool for me, is how the massage ended. Usually, you’re face up, and the therapist ends at your feet or head and that’s it. No, Eve had me sit up and worked on my shoulders and neck a bit more. And then she proceeded to use a technique called Percussion on my back. It’s to help stimulate your nervous system and wake you up a bit. Basically, she used her fists to pound up and down my back. (I’ve always loved that).
I left feeling ever so relaxed. I can tell you that Thai Lotus Healing Spa is legit. They offer a soothing place to unwind, a friendly staff to make sure you’re taken care of, and wonderful bodywork. They also have an esthetician, so you can get facials there. What is especially extraordinary, is if you book a massage before 2pm, it will only cost you $35! That is an amazing bargain! A normal deep tissue massage is $45. That’s crazy good, y’all. If you’re open to receiving amazing body work at an inexpensive price, I think you should check out Thai Lotus. SO GOOD.