Stress was the second most common cause of long-term sick leave in 2015*, and private health insurance companies have started to reward customers who take steps to reduce stress to a level that doesn’t make them unwell. So we’ve designed our Spa Spotlight series to help you discover the relaxing world of spa living.

Recently I was lucky enough to spend a couple of days in Bangkok, and whilst there I visited Perception Blind Massage, an enterprise founded in 2014 to provide employment for blind and visually impaired massage therapists.

Many of Perception’s therapists were in another trade altogether before they went blind – I was told my lady had been a merchant, although the language gap stopped me from finding out more from the lady herself. It wasn’t really set up for chatty massage, anyway, as I was lead up narrow stairs and into a loft room painted entirely grey, with the lights turned low as feasible without risking sighted guests having an accident.

Around the edges of the loft were broad cabanas draped with black muslin curtains. The dimmest bit of daylight showed behind the fabric where small windows sat low along one wall, but on all other sides I couldn’t even see how big the room was – it could’ve extended right back across the building, or finished a few metres away. The entire design was inspired by blindness and low vision, but also had a sleepy and quieting effect – everyone whispered, apart from one lady who became so relaxed during her massage that she groaned a bit, and her friends had a giggle.

It was an intimate shared space, but not uncomfortably so – we were given soft loose shorts and a top to put on in privacy, and the massage was an excellent methodical pressure point approach through this clothing. My therapist nudged me into position, and really went to work on the knotty bits. I felt bad when I saw her in reception afterwards, because she was massaging her own arms with a pained expression on her face. My massage therapist friends take great care to use their own bodyweight and gravity to do the work, rather than damage themselves, so I hope my petite blind masseuse gets the hang of that before she does herself an injury.

The listed price for all this was just over £6. We all paid more, because it didn’t feel like enough, but we still got incredibly good value compared to UK prices. If you happen to be visiting Thailand, it’s well worth checking out. It’s on the Sathon Tai road and the nearest BTS station is Chong Nonsi.

* Page 18, “Absence Management Annual Survey Report”, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development

Don’t forget we do travel insurance as well as health! And you can read more Spa Spotlights here…

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