The Latest Massage Trend in Thailand: Let Fish Feast on Your Flesh


Fish Massage

Thai massage is one of the treats of any trip to Thailand, of course, especially that old-fashioned bone-cracking earth-fracking kind where the masseuse basically does yoga to you and the degree of muscular penetration basically depends on her weight and mass.  Want the heavy-duty massage?  Order up a big-ass mama to straddle you and wreak havoc.  

That’s the original Ayurvedic style as handed down most famously through Wat Po in Bangkok, which has since been augmented by many different styles to stay one step ahead of the competition.  I remember distinctly around 1997 when someone came to town and started teaching reflexology, i.e. ‘foot massage’, and within weeks the signs with foot-map pressure points were springing up all over town.  Now I think it’s also considered a Thai tradition, just like the croaking wooden frogs that I brought over from Vietnam in 1998.  Memories are short. and the nights are long.  

The latest trendiest new massage technique is ‘fish massage’, and no, I’m not (nod nod wink wink) talking about that rogue fatboy trouser trout that sometimes raises its ugly head in the heat of a solid physical work-over.  No, apparently you sit on a bench and stick your legs and feet into an aquarium below, while hundreds of tiny ‘doctor fish’ nibble your toe-jam, dead skin and body bacteria.  No, I haven’t tried it yet.  I’m waiting for the full immersion… though I guess they’d have to stop short of the armpits, wouldn’t they, just for the tickle factor?  Now there’s an existential conundrum…