Thailand is now officially a global centre for massage treatments, spa facilities and wellness tourism, having garnered the 2012 Asian Spa Capital of the Year award at the 8th annual AsiaSpa Awards ceremony held in Hong Kong recently, sponsored by AsiaSpa magazine.
Demonstrating the growth and expansion of Thailand’s spa industry and its many health based applications, the top award was one of five earned by Thai wellness centres, health resorts and spas across the kingdom. Other awards included Spa Retreat of the Year, In-Spa Training of the Year, Medi-Spa of the Year and Day Spa of the Year and the establishments honoured were located throughout the kingdom.
Mrs.Titiporn Manenate, the director of Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Hong Kong office said the awards were the result of Thai spa's ability to blend traditional well-being therapies with relaxing massage, holistic treatments and numerous indulgent ways to relieve and detox an overworked physical and mental system, adding that Thai spas are becoming as popular as Thai cuisine.
Indeed, any online search indicates a steep rise in the number of Thai spa and health resorts being established, as well as an increase in spa services being offered from Chiang Mai to Bangkok, Phuket to Koh Samui, the latter islands long known as major destinations for top class spa facilities. Thailand's hotels have also seen a rise in earnings from spa services in recent years, especially from massage and beauty treatments. In fact, almost every tourist to Thailand revels in the availability of such services at relatively low prices when compared with similar treatments in their home countries.
A new trend among private villa guests is also to have massage therapists administer an exquisite treatment in the privacy of their own holiday home. This is often accompanied by a bath in herbal essences to further relax and open the body to receive the massage. Such personalised treatments offer the ultimate indulgence and are available without guests even having to leave sun deck next to their private pool.
Increasing numbers of visitors return to Thailand every year, and many even decide to buy a second home in the kingdom to be close to the health benefits offered by numerous Thai health and massage specialists around the country. The treatments on offer range from traditional massage testaments to herbal, holistic lifestyle and dietary programmes or total mind and body detox courses, all in a wide variety of price ranges and settings. Thai massage is actually one of the aspects of traditional medicine that is now regulated by the Thai government, as it is considered a medical discipline and is therefore worthy certifiable standards. An emphasis in many quality massages is the use of very pure (and often locally grown) herbal elements that can provide additional healing and aid relaxation.