Phuket is blessed with many spa treatment centres and massage outlets, ranging from the dreamlike exotic spas in five-star hotels to simple three-bed massage parlours that pop up all over the island. Some resorts offer day-long treatments that include massage, hydrotherapy, scrubs and wraps.
For those who fancy a bit of rough and tumble a Thai massage is hard to beat, although there are 'softer' versions to be had. Still, there are almost countless versions of treatments to choose from so have a look below at what's available here in Phuket.
- Phuket FantaSea Cultural Theme Park
- Phi Phi Islands Tour with Express Boat
- James Bond Island Full-Day Tour via Big Boat
- Coral & Racha Islands Full-Day Tour
- Whitewater Rafting & 4-Wheel-Drive Adventure
- Sea Kayaking at Ang Thong Marine Park
- Flying Hanuman Ziplining Experience
- Canoeing Excursion in Phang Nga Bay with Thai Buffet Lunch
- Introduction to City Tour
- John Gray's Cave Canoeing Tour in Phang Nga Bay
Some spas, in addition to massages and body treatments, provide a full range of beauty services including facials, hair styling, manicures and waxing. A nice feature in service-oriented Thailand is that these are often done with a spa-level of care. A haircut, for example, is often not just a haircut - you may get a head and neck massage while your hair is being washed, or before and after the cutting.
Body Scrubs and Wraps
A number of treatments including body scrubs and wraps are done to help exfoliate, moisturize and freshen up the skin. Natural products such as tumeric, aloe, honey, kaffir lime, tropical fruits, mud, oils or sea salt are applied, with blends often specially prepared to suit one's skin condition (dry, oily, sunburned, etc).
The term hydrotherapy covers any sort of treatment in which water is used, such as a soak in a whirlpool or a footbath. Both hot and cool treatments may be done. It is believed to help tone the body, stimulate digestion, improve circulation and the immune system and to relieve tension and pain.
Reflexology developed from the belief that there are reflex areas on the feet and hands corresponding to all parts of the body including internal organs. It is believed that applying pressure to specific points on the feet and hands can affect organs and body systems, and therefore promote good health. In addition to being a relaxing treatment, reflexology is believed to help relieve headaches, sinus problems, breathing disorders, digestive problems, circulatory problems and backaches.
Shiatsu and acupressure are based on the same principle of stimulating the flow of energy ("qi" or "chi") through the body to relieve health problems and promote one's well-being. A combination of pressure and assisted-stretching techniques help to improve circulation, release toxins and tensions from the muscles and give the recipient a relaxing and revitalizing experience.
Steam and Sauna
A short herbal steam bath and/or sauna session is often included as part of a spa package, usually done before a body treatment to open up the skin's pores and get people into a relaxed state of mind. Steam/sauna is also believed to benefit one's health by stimulating circulation and ridding the body of unwanted materials through sweating.
Swedish massage uses a blend of long strokes, kneading, friction, tapping and other techniques, which help to increase the oxygen flow in the blood and release toxins from the muscles. It is also believed to stimulate the skin and nervous system, and also soothe the nerves and feelings of stress.
Thai massage has been an integral part of traditional Thai medicine for at least 2,500 years. Derived from a blend of Ayurvedic and Chinese healing influences, Thai massage is a technique that aims to balance energy in the body.
In a typical two-hour session, the masseuse will guide stretching movements similar to yoga postures and also apply pressure to points along the body using the hands, thumbs, forearms, elbows, knees and feet. These pressure points are believed to be connected to energy channels that run through the body. Massaging them will help remove blockages and stimulate energy flow, thus restoring balance and health in the body. A Thai massage session can help increase flexibility, provide relief to tense muscles and joints, and give one a feeling of refreshment and renewal.
Total Health and Beauty Programs
Going beyond the typical day spa experience, some spas are now offering a complete package of services to improve one's health and well-being. Massage and body treatments are just part of a program for weight loss, diet, stress relief or physical healing.
Spa cuisine, fitness regimens, colonic cleansing, physiotherapy, tai chi, yoga, meditation and more may be offered, as well as beauty treatments such as Botox injections. Some spas may even have professionals on site to perform such treatments/training, or they can arrange treatments at a local private hospital.
There are more types of treatments available, in addition to the ones listed above, as Phuket's spas continue to improve their range and quality of services. Some will even tailor-design a program just for you. Check with the spas for more specific details.