Prisons & Massages.

Now I’ve never been a fan of massages, in fact being completely honest I’d never had one before. There’s something slightly unnerving about entrusting a complete stranger in a darkened room to manipulate your body.

So in for a penny in for a pound, why not head to the local Thai prison in Chiang Mai for a massage!

This whole concept absolutely fascinated me. I can’t be entirely sure of my facts but from what I learnt there’s a big emphasis on rehabilitation for prisoners in Thailand. The idea is that prisoners can learn new skills, gain qualifications and earn money in Thai prisons. I’m sure we have an element of this back in the UK but I’m not aware of any schemes that allow prisoners to practise their skills on the public and earn money to be used when released. I think it’s a fantastic idea.

The Thai prison stereotype isn’t completely off the mark though. Apparently if you commit a drug related crime then there’s no rehabilitation. Not very fair but the rationalisation is that most drug crimes are committed by educated people. They’ve often had a good start in life but have made the decision to lead a life of crime and not through necessity. I could argue all day on this subject and don’t believe it’s a fair policy. Do people often turn to crime just for the thrill? Are people caught in possession of drugs really less-deserving of rehab than murderers? Anyway, it is what it is and I hope it goes some way to stamping out drugs and the harm they cause.

Sadly as you can’t book in advance for a prison massage I couldn’t get one. The queue was long, but I was pleased there was a high demand for their services. Instead I headed slightly out of town to the ‘Massage Palace’. A beautiful traditional and ornate building with many treatment rooms. I took my shoes off outside as is the done thing not to wear your shoes across the threshold in most homes and buildings in Thailand. I then had my feet washed with hot soapy water and was led to a room with a mattress on the floor.

The 2 hour traditional Thai massage was everything I hoped it would be. I got walked on, pushed, pulled, clicked and prodded till I felt exhausted. At one point I could have easily slept which is incredible considering the amount of manipulation my body went through. I paid 400 BT for this experience and it was well worth it. You can find cheaper but I came out feeling like a new woman and fully stocked up on a Tiger Balm type substance to treat my mosquito bites.

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