A story from Thailand


Yesterday, I made my way back to Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand. It was a day of indulgence from the get go. Rented a new scooter, found a clean $15 a day room on my favorite side of town, and it was Sunday which meant Sunday Night Market was happening. The largest outdoor marketing in Chiang Mai with local artisans, street food and Thai Massage everywhere. I made my way to the market around 4 and ate some delicious street food, samosas, Kow Soa and a strawberry smoothie. Walked around the market a bit but most vendors weren’t set up yet so I popped a squat for a $5 foot massage. I love this massage spot. There are about 60 foot massage chairs on the corner of the market, people watching galore. Met some American dude named Josh living in Peru traveling through Thailand and learning about online marketing. So we shot the shit while getting massaged. My massage was very light and relaxing but I truly prefer deeper foot work with reflexology points and those fun little wooden tools they poke in your feet. No big deal, I enjoyed myself watching all the different people walking through the market and talking to Josh about traveling adventures.

The market was in full swing now. Every vendor was full on and the crowd was building. But my massage craving wasn’t fulfilled. So I hopped on my scooter and headed over to get a blind massage. Yes, you read that correctly. It is a Thai Massage studio on Soi 9 in the old city that only employs blind massage therapists. The government trains them for free and gives them a skill to make money. 90 minutes of Thai acupressure coming up. It was a solid massage. $10 later and feeling Sabai, I went back to run around the market for a couple hours.

After 2 hours of walking, I was determined to get a good foot massage. Went back to the same place as before and had a seat while eating some amazing shrimp caramel flavored popcorn. A 30 year old Thai woman takes a seat at my feet and begins to clean my feet, which is very traditional before a Thai Massage. She looked pissed off, like she had an argument with someone. Scowling face, anger transcending through her touch, and taking it out on me. She literally stared at the clock for 5 minutes while she spoke in Thai to her boyfriend who also seemed less than happy. I am a super laid backed person and try to stay non-reactive in all situations. But this had to end. I couldn’t allow this to continue. I leaned over to her and said “30 minutes” although I paid for 60 minutes. She made a face at me and continued on with the badgering of my muscle tissue. Thats when I had to ask her to stop, wiped the oil off my feet, tipped her and walked away. She acted confused about why I stopped the session. In fact, she knew exactly what she was doing. I wasn’t going to take on her negativity. I did not like the way she made me feel. And as a massage therapist, it bothered me to see her act this way. As therapists, we never take our personal issues into a massage. The sole purpose of a massage is to help others relax, feel good and receive the warm vibrations the therapist is emitting. Hopped on my scooter and called it a night.

Today, I was determined to recieve a bad ass foot massage. Went to a place I’ve been before and stumbled upon one of the most amazing bodyworkers of my life. 60 minutes of pure focus, slow paced, rhythmic, even pressure, massage. It was an intuitive massage. He wasn’t going through the motions, but feeling what needed attention with perfect pressure. This man and others at Chiang Mai Reflexology take their jobs seriously. They all have a small plastic implant on their thumbs for foot massage. Hardcore bodyworkers don’t play. In 60 minutes, I remembered what I loved about masssage, why I was orginally drawn to Thai Massage and a blissed out feeling of awesomeness. It was a gift to find this bodyworker today. I couldn’t let it pass me by. After the foot massage ended, I asked him if he wanted to do a 2 hour full body Thai Massage. He nodded his head with a smile. I may have been the happiest person on planet earth at that moment. He continued on with a masterful, artistic expression of bodywork. Weaving energy lines, finding little areas of tension, and using firm, even, cohesive pressure. We went on a journey together. As we connected more, I got out of his way to allow myself to fully recieve the healing benefits being handed down. 3 hours of massage finally came to end. It was like a time warp. It seemed like he worked on me all day, yet at the same time it felt like it was only about a minute.

Blissed! Beyond satisfied. What the hell just happened? And then it struck me hard. This is what I do everyday for my clients at home. This! And I had to receive it to be reminded of the sheer awesomeness of Thai Massage. So many things went down in a 3 hour period of time. Dreams, thoughts, emotions, rewiring the system, relaxation, nidra, surrendering, gratitude, humbled, fortunate, way too much to list. As I sat up from the session, my new friend left and I began to cry. Our session brought me full circle as to why I started on this healing path. I realized how purposeful my calling is in this lifetime. For me, there is nothing more gratifying than helping others heal. Thailand, you have a way of always re-inspiring me.

Finishing the night with yoga and meditation, sending loving kindness to all beings in need of some healing and love. I hope that the woman in this story finds peace. And to the bodyworker from heaven, thank you for sharing your gift with me today bro. It came at exactly the right moment.



Michael McCarthyA story from Thailand

Comments 6

  1. Mary Johnson

    There are no coincidences dear friend! You are on your path, right where you were always meant to me. Thanks you for sharing this inspirational message…. Peace and love…xx

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  2. Amyra

    Great piece, Michael! Glad to have you back in Chiang Mai.

    I can relate to the story about the angry masseuse; have had numerous such experiences too.

    Keep writing 🙂

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