Nuad Thai • Northwood Hills

…And Relax…

25th May 2012

Jill Glenn experiences a traditional Thai massage at Nuad Thai, Northwood Hills…

Having dined recently at My Thai (the restaurant side of this two-pronged business), it was, I suppose, inevitable that I’d soon go back to experience the linked Nuad Thai massage salon that occupies the other half of this divided building. Food and health make an interesting combination.

Nuad Thai suffers, as the restaurant does, from a huge plate glass window onto the street which makes the reception area feel rather exposed. Inside, though, every effort has been made to create a calm and welcoming atmosphere, in keeping with the salon’s mission to send their clients back out into the world feeling refreshed and energised. I was a little discomfited, though, to find the restaurant manager from a couple of weeks ago installed behind the counter and clad in a t-shirt and jeans. Discussing your massage plans with the chap who served you your Tom Yum soup and your Thai Dim Sum is… unusual.

Leaving my shoes behind me, I was shown into one of the massage rooms, instructed to strip, and left. I did find it odd not to have been introduced to Saralai, who was to deliver the treatment before it began, and admit to feeling uncomfortable while I waited in my white robe…

… but she was, of course, charming: clearly experienced and well-trained. Nuad Thai therapists have all studied at the Wat Po Thai Traditional Medical and Massage School in the Royal Palace in Bangkok, and therefore have considerable provenance. Traditional Thai massage as practised at Nuad Thai combines elements of acupressure and reflexology with guided yoga-like stretching, to manipulate the energy lines and so stimulate the metabolism, diminish tension and create a feeling of well-being and vitality.

There’s a certain amount of contortion, naturally, and the order is pleasingly symmetrical. The application of scented oil both soothes the process and fills the senses so that you can block out any pain as the therapist works through the tensions that you’re holding in your body. The hour passes very quickly, and it’s certainly a delight to be removed so thoroughly from day-to-day stress.

I made an error though, in allowing – even encouraging – the deepest of deep tissue massages in preference to the ‘relaxing’ option also on offer. I’m hard, I thought; I can take it. I was wrong. Although Saralai regularly checked whether I was okay (especially as I was wincing), I simply said yes, even when I was in huge discomfort. My spirit felt regenerated, but the next day some parts of me were exquisitely painful – and some parts were excruciatingly painful. A week later I was still creaking. I’d choose differently another time…

Nuad Thai • 68-72 Joel Street • Northwood Hills • HA6 1LL
01923 824416 • www.nuadthaimassage.com

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