As I lay face down with arms spread on the massage table, a small foot was expertly seeking out the tightest spots along my spine. The other foot belonging to my masseuse, was balanced with poise on my buttocks.

It was at that moment I realised I had effectively paid a masseuse to stand on me. And it was strange.

This was to be different to my first experience where I was fully clothed and at times it felt as if I was losing to my masseuse in a wrestling match.

Yet there I was, experiencing a traditional Thai massage and discovering that pain and pleasure are not closely related, as some commentators may consider, but distant feuding relatives.

As the name would suggest, The One Thai Massage parlour specialises in traditional Thai massages. The small unit on Bridge St, Deansgate is serene, clean and adorned with typical Thai designs, from your Buddhist hand statue to beaded elephant cushions. As you walk in a dream catcher tinkles. It makes you feel calm. 

Photo 1Inside The One Thai Massage reception

I'd come to experience the ancient medicinal practice, which uses a combination of firm movements to leave you energised and loose. For 30 or 60 minutes your limbs are at the mercy of a firm-handed masseuse who is free to use their hands, elbows, thumbs, shins and even their knees on your weary body.

It's known to hurt a tad too. Especially if like me you’re a big girl’s blouse.

Thai MassageThai massueses can use knees, feet and shins.

This was to be different to my first experience where I was fully clothed and at times it felt as if I was losing to my masseuse in a wrestling match. At The One Thai Massage I was to undress and told to prepare for a more relaxing experience.

My masseuse Laura walked in with a warm smile. I was told that she’s one of best and I was quite literally in good hands. Laura is petite, talkative and chats to me about Thailand and whether I was as rich as the ten rings on my fingers would suggest. As I lay there in my pants, the lighthearted conversation helped ease any awkwardness. 

Dsc_0912The One Thai's calming massage room.

Suddenly, as if she'd been given a green light, she began to get to work on my feet first. With a tight fist she began to pelt against my soles with little punches. My immediate instincts were to wriggle away but I resisted. The tension I had collected in my flat feet was being worked away. Laura was battling with a decade of running around in heeled boots and I felt some relief - albeit an unsual tingly relief that made my toes curl. 

Moving towards my back, Laura noticed that I had the common posture of a person who spent most of their time hunched over a computer - I am the hunchback of Manchester City Centre.

With vigour Laura slipped her thumbs and fingers under my shoulder blades and kneaded my back with the pressure of someone twice her size. Now, I’ve previously complained about masseuses who timidly and weakly apply pressure,yet it was evident that this wasn’t to be the case; Laura’s hands moulded my body with all the strength of Samson.

Giving attention to my arms she rubbed with so much force my hands began to open and close like a robotic arm. It was intense and the speed of Laura’s technique didn’t leave me with enough time to absorb the blows.

Then Laura stood on me.

With care and precision she rocked back and forth across my back as I grimaced into the pillow. As the most talked about technique, I wanted to like it, but I didn’t. 

Concerned and immediately aware it was hurting me, Laura popped off my back and suggested she take away the pain with an oily massage.

Photo 5Traditional Thai MassageSmoothing me with oils I began to melt in to the chair. Still adding pressure and focusing on my problem areas it was far more pleasurable and I immediately relaxed. In fact, I began to enjoy it so much I asked for another thirty minutes – on the agreement that we just stuck with this technique.

Laura fell into a wonderful rhythm, moving seamlessly across my body and spending time on my calves, lower back and neck. It was blissful.

Nearing sleep, I was jolted awake when she began to knock on my thigh as if it was a front door. Time to wake up, I gathered. 

The concluding face massage was also curious. The traditional technique saw Laura slip fingers under my eye sockets and press her thumbs hard between my brow. Not so much painful this time, just weird.

To Laura’s credit she responded to my squirms and gave me a massage I could handle and I thoroughly enjoyed, mostly. She was in tune with my body’s problem areas and without prompting knew when to ease up on sore points.

Those who champion the Thai massage tend to be my athlete friends who love the focusing pressure of someone’s elbow in their ribs. Although hard to bear for me at first, I knew that those who love a strong and skilled hand would feel the benefit of Laura’s. 

Not sure about being stood on though. 

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The One Thai Massage, 87 Bridge St, Deansgate, Manchester.

Traditional Thai Massage costs 30 mins £25, 60 mins £40. 

T: 0161 834 7846


Score: 10.5/20 

Product: 8/10 (It hurt a lot at first but it turned into a pleasurable experience)

Effectiveness:4 /5 (Felt relaxed and less tense by the end)

Service:5/5 (Skilled, helpful and pleasant)