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Ancient northern Thai healing practices at Anantara Chiang Mai Resort

Reviving Northern Thailand’s centuries old massage and aromatherapy techniques, Anantara Chiang Mai Resort has introduced two rare therapeutic treatments, ‘Yam Khang’ and ‘Yajoo’, both with longstanding historic roots connecting guests with the region’s rich Lanna heritage. ‘Yam Khang’ or Thai Fire Therapy is an ancient Lanna tradition, considered a sacred art where the therapist is required to have gained a high spiritual maturity. The treatment is done by using the feet only which are first bathed into healing oil infused with mixed local herbs. The therapist then slips her foot onto an iron plough shear or ‘khang’ that has been heated over an open fire, then skillfully balanced, she massages the guest with one foot only. With a strong tradition of rice cultivation, farming communities in northern Thailand have been using a cast iron plough (khang) for centuries which is attributed with mythical properties whilst being an indispensable part of farming life, The Yam Khang 60-minute treatment is priced at THB 4000. As the treatment uses an open fire, it is done outdoors next to Anantara Chiang Mai’s stunning pool on the banks of the Ping River. Moving into air-conditioned comfort the ‘Yajoo’ treatment utilises the healing powers of the local herb ‘plai’ to ease tension and deeply relax guests. The 90-minute treatment begins with the heating of an herbal poultice, giving off a fragrant aroma, that is then pressed along the body to ease pain and inflammation. A plai oil massage follows, ending with a light head massage and Tok Sen. Tok Sen involves a wooden hammer being tapped along your Sen energy line, relaxing the muscles, healing chronic pain, and improving the pathways of the nervous system. Anantara Chiang Mai’s 90-minute Yajoo therapy starts at THB 3,500++ and includes:
  • Relaxing foot soak
  • Foot pressure therapy using tok sen wooden hammer
  • Application of a plai poultice, heated over an iron plate, to areas of concern
  • Full-body massage with plai oil using long, light strokes for deep penetration
  • Light head massage and tok sen back massage using a wooden hammer

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson is Editor of A Luxury Travel Blog and has worked in the travel industry for more than 30 years. He is Winner of the Innovations in Travel ‘Best Travel Influencer’ Award from WIRED magazine. In addition to other awards, the blog has also been voted “one of the world’s best travel blogs” and “best for luxury” by The Telegraph.

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  1. It’s good to see these ancient rituals being kept alive. I have far more faith in traditions that have been around for centuries than pills that come in a packet with a long list of side effects and health warnings.

  2. Why go to your local GP when you can sort out your aches and pains in a beautiful setting such as this? Much more therapeutic.

  3. So good to see traditional healing rituals being preserved. This is the sort of knowledge that UNESCO should be preserving as an intangible asset.

  4. As lower back pain is virtually endemic in societies where people spend 8, 9, 10 hours or more hunched over a screen and keyboard should not our doctors be prescribing such treatments?

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