Maybe you already read my blog about doing good by eating a delicious meal. A pleasant way to support an important project. In Thailand and Cambodia, I discovered there are more win-win opportunities when it comes to doing good. How? For instance, by taking a massage. Sounds just too good to be true, right? But I’m not joking. I always love to take massages when I am abroad, and in Thailand and Cambodia I experienced two of my most special massages.
Massages by (ex-)prisoners
Raise your hand if you think I’ve gone mad, after reading this title. I understand if you do, but let me explain. In Chiang Mai, you’ll find the Chiang Mai Women’s Correctional Institution. And in this prison, they have a unique rehabilitation program: woman whose imprisonment will soon come to an end, have the chance to learn a profession, while still in jail. One of the options they have is to be trained as a masseur. And when they completed their training, they’re able to already make a small living. The money they earn will be set aside, until they’re released from prison. This way they’ll already have some money to build a new life, once a free woman again. This will help them to avoid doing illegal things to survive. Such a great program. I’m a strong believer that these kinds of projects work.
And as I said, I love massages. So, when I was in Chiang Mai, I cycled to the Chiang Mai Women’s Correctional Institution to book a massage. Unfortunately, once arrived I found out all spots for the day were already booked! But across the street there was a massage center by ex-prisoners of the Chiang Mai Women’s Correctional Institution. An equally good initiative, so I booked my massage there.
I was given some clothing to change into. And then I was brought to a big room with a lot of massage tables where a lot of people being massaged. A friendly woman massaged me. ‘Is this ok, miss?’ ‘Is the pressure good for you, miss?’ Curious as I was about her background, I didn’t ask her anything and just enjoyed the massage. And the massage was good.
After the massage, I felt reborn and relaxed. And I was happy that I contributed to a good cause.
So, if you’re in Chiang Mai and you want to do good and have a nice massage at the same time, visit this massage center. Don’t expect a private, luxurious, setting. Just a good massage.
Massage by blind people
For blind people, it must be quite a challenge to find a job. But in Asia I discovered something really cool! I saw many massage studios run by blind people. Such an excellent idea! Blind people know how to work with the sense of touching better than any others. In Kampot (Cambodia), I visited one of these massage studios: ‘Seeing hand massages’. A very basic studio. Nothing fancy.
I went to Seeing hand massages after I cycled the whole day, so I thought deserved a massage.
Like the massage by ex-prisoners, I first had to change in some kind of purple clothing. Charming! After changing the massage started. My masseur was a guy wearing a pair of sunglasses. We were not really able to communicate much; his English was so so. But without talking much he felt which parts of my back needed extra attention. And after an hour I felt reborn from the long, sportive, day.
The massage at Seeing hand massages was at least as good as massages by non-blind people. So, I decided to take these massages more often, if I run into massages by blind people. Another win win!