Even if you are traveling on a budget, it is necessary to treat yourself once in a while. After all, traveling isn’t just about relaxing on the beach and drinking cocktails. It’s also about pushing your limits by climbing mountains, hiking through jungles, partying for days straight without sleep, surviving long congested bus/train journeys, etc. It can be pretty tiring stuff; especially if you’re traveling for an extended period of time! Whether it’s spending a night or two in a nice hotel, fine dining at a restaurant or getting a relaxing massage, treating yourself is revitalizing and helps you to continue your travels.
Since I’m a sucker for massages, I’ve made that my “must do” in each country I visit. Luckily for me, most of my travels over the year are in South East Asia, which means fairly inexpensive and amazing massages!
What’s better than spending a ten hour layover at the best medicinal spa in the world!? Only twenty minutes from the Reykjavik airport, the Blue Lagoon offers visitors a chance to soak in the warm geothermal seawater, relax in the steam bath, apply a silica mask to the body and get a massage under the Blue Lagoon waterfall. If you’re not convinced that this is one of the most amazing places on earth, check out my article on the Blue Lagoon.
After spending a couple of months in India doing hours of yoga and meditation, I found it necessary to book myself in for an hour long Ayurvedic massage. Ayurvedic massage uses a A LOT of oils, a vigorous touch using hands, feet, elbows and forearms with special attention given to pressure points, referred to as “marmas,” which are intended to stimulate certain organ systems. The massage is performed with the intention to eliminate toxins through purification, strengthen the muscle tone, relax the body and rejuvenate the body. I shopped around a lot by asking other travellers who they had received an Ayurvedic massage from. I finally was convinced to go to this one lady, who two American girls claimed to have given them the best massage of their life. Well, I’m not sure how many massages they had in their life, but I wasn’t too impressed. However, it was still nice to be pampered for an hour.
A must-do in Thailand is to get the ever so famous Thai massage. Especially if you have been partying and dancing for a couple weeks straight. Little did I know that I was going to be pulled, twisted and folded into a pretzel. If I wasn’t flexible, I would have walked out of the massage place in more pain than when I walked in. So, travellers beware, make sure you know what you’re in for what going for a Thai massage. But don’t get me wrong, it felt really good!
This massage was definitely my favourite. Not because it felt amazing or it left me feeling like a new person afterwards, but because I couldn’t stop laughing the entire time! It’s definitely a weird sensation to stick your feet into a pool with hundreds of hungry fish waiting to feed. However, it doesn’t hurt one bit, but it does tickle. This massage only lasted ten minutes, but left my feet as smooth as a babies bottom. I hope those fish get paid a decent wage…
What’s the best thing to do when you feel like you’ve done everything there is possible to do in Kuala Lumpur? Get a massage of course! I am a sucker for foot massages and boy did I ever get a foot massage by a very strong Chinese man:) A one hour reflexology massage had me melting in my chair. It was one of the best massages I’ve ever gotten! After one hour of heaven, I had another hour full body massage and….massage cupping. Now, I was told before my “cupping experience,” that it was relaxing and not painful. I am going to have to highly disagree with this. First of all, massage cupping is a modified version of the common practice of cupping therapy, used in traditional Chinese medicine. Through suction and negative pressure, massage cupping releases rigid soft tissue; drains excess fluids and toxins; loosens adhesions, lifts connective tissue; and brings blood flow to stagnant skin and muscles. During the process, it feels like your skin is being stretched and pinched. You can also compare it to a bunch of big angry fish giving you a 15 minute hickey. At the end of it, I was left with the back of a lady bug…or a dinosaur…
What was your best and worst massage?
Kristen Sarah is a full-time traveller, tiny home owner and adventure junkie. She has one of the leading YouTube travel channels and is the head honcha of award-winning travel and lifestyle website, Hopscotch the Globe.