Recommending a massage is a tricky old business. Marrying the myriad of variations in types of massage with personal preference is an exercise in matchmaking, and if it is Thai massage you’re after it all gets a little more confusing – it seems every second street now boasts a Thai massage joint.
Sabai Leela is one of good ‘uns. Quite inconspicuous in appearance, with an entrance on the less glamorous end of the Old Brompton Road, it is all too easy to walk past without realising that what lies within is really worth your time. 90 minutes of your time, to be exact, should you have the Thai Yoga Massage I had.
What differentiates a Thai Yoga Massage from an Aromatherapy or Swedish? Well, this massage was a little different from the off, as I was told to remove my clothes in the locker room and don the baggy trousers and a t-shirt they provided. I was a little confused and thought perhaps she would strip me in some yogic relaxation ritual. It turned out to be a little simpler than that – this massage doesn’t involve any nudity. There are no oils, either, so if you are a little self-conscious and don’t like feeling greasy, this massage is for you. It was so good, though, that even if you are a keen exhibitionist and love a good greasing, this may be worth forgoing those delights.
Essentially, it is a manipulation of the body into positions to release tension and, like yoga, sometimes you feel stretched and sometimes just deeply relaxed. It is firm and remedial. My masseuse, Nok, climbed into all sorts of bizarre positions to lever my limbs into unorthodox poses and, surprisingly, I wasn’t nervous of muscle strain by the second position. Oh no, Nok was too skilful for any slips. I thoroughly enjoyed my entire time in her competent hands (and sometimes feet), and would gladly go back.