VILNIUS - I had been anxious about getting a Thai massage because friends of mine who had one in Thailand said they limped out of the massage salon after being beaten to a pulp by the masseurs.
So when I went to Vilius' new Sala Thai salon I was a little worried 's I didn't want to hobble home on crutches.
The result, however, was completely different 's I walked out feeling at ease and relaxed in body and mind.
My friends hadn't been completely untruthful 's there were times when the woman doing my massage did things that hurt a little, but after the initial shock of being stood on or having my pressure points squeezed, it felt strangely nice.
I got the full body traditional Thai massage, which the owner assured me is exactly the same as those given in Thailand. It lasted for one hour and at the end I wished that it would go on even longer.
The massage started by donning some simple cotton pants and a button up shirt. Then comes the foot bath 's the reason for this is of course for the comfort and respect of the masseur, but it feels like real Asian hospitality when they wash your feet and ankles in a warm soap bath, then dry them with a towel.
Bubbling away gently at the head of the massage bed is a bowl of incense, which gives the room a lovely aroma.
After the footbath, the masseur goes to work on your feet and works her way slowly toward the head. Unlike other massages, which focus mostly on the back or shoulders, the majority of the traditional massage works the legs.
After the legs, the arms, back, shoulders and head are massaged.
Once the massage is finished, I was served a cup of Bael fruit tea, which is said to decrease blood pressure and improve circulation.
Samran Peerapenkul is the owner of the Sala Thai massage salon. He said he started the salon to perpetuate the culture of Thailand in Lithuania.
"Before I opened the salon, I was a missionary monk. I had a contract to come to Vilnius University to teach Thai society and culture 's that was in 2006. After a year living here I decided to give up monkhood and become a businessman. I completely changed my life from the monastic life to the worldly life."
"Thai massage is a type of Thai art and knowledge that is mixed with Indian yoga and our own knowledge from ancient times. Before, it was only used in the royal family and in the palace. It was a secret of treatment and relaxation for the nobles, then one or two centuries ago, the king unlocked this secret and the news spread to the people 's they could learn Thai massage and get the massage."
Since the spreading of massage knowledge, it has become famous worldwide, Peerapenkul said.
He said that massage has traditionally been part of treatment of illness in Thailand.
"The monks not only taught massage, but they also planted the herbs for treatment because in ancient times, the temple was like a hospital for Thai people, a life school and a pavilion of the the well being of the people."
The salon performs a large array of Thai massages included the traditional, golden, aroma therapy, back and shoulders, head and hand massages.
"The difficult one to get is the four-hand massage 's that is with two masseurs," Peerapenkul said.
The masseurs at Sala Thai have been qualified for over 10 years, giving them a balance of technique and power, the owner said.
The salon operates seven days per week with a rotating day off. Appointments are essential.
Sala Thai massage salon
Gaono g. 1 Vilnius
Ph: 85 2615613www.salathai.lt