“Sabai” is a Thai word that translates roughly to relaxed. More notably, “receiving a Thai Swedish Massage at Thai Sabai in LA” translates roughly to one of the most incredible massages of my life.
As the 2010 winner in CitySearch’s Best Thai Massage in Los Angeles category, this was not a total surprise. You know I love some of the little Asian spots better than a lot of fancy resort spas for my treatments, but this actually was not just a no-frills place to get a massage. The photos on their website and in this post, snapped on my iPhone, do not do it justice. Famous for their (now personally confirmed!) mastery of the Thai Swedish Massage, Thai Sabai provides quite a luxurious ambiance with simple, traditional Thai accents.
I took my friend and fellow West Coast social media beauty buff Tracy Hepler of TotalBeauty.com to experience 75 minutes of their bi-culture bliss. First the spa owner Robert gave us a full tour of the Westwood facility (they have two locations in LA): Handsome dark hardwood flooring gave the reception area, a long hallway and the treatment rooms an instantly rich feel. Rooms with high ceilings were either private, or contained multiple treatment areas, separated by luminous ivory draped curtains in a with delicate flower embroidery. All the massage tables at Thai Sabai are not tables, but rather cushy mats on the floor (typical for Thai Massage), presented with spa stones and flowers and covered neatly with towels. They do also have one traditional table for folks with disabilities or who have difficulty laying on the floor for whatever reason.
THE MARRIAGE OF THAI & SWEDISH:
We’ve explored Thai Yoga Massage on Spa Week Daily a number of times before. It dates back over 300 years in its present form, with origins going back more than 5,000 years to ancient India and China. Using gentle yoga-like stretching with massage of the muscles, tendons, pressure points and energy lines, or Sen, Thai massage focuses on the ten main energy lines (out of hundreds), or Sip Sen. It is traditionally done with loose clothing on to account for the stretching movements and body twisting.
Swedish Massage, on the other hand, is traditionally done in the nude and the focus is on melting stress with human touch and relieving muscle tension. Devised at the University of Stockholm in 1812 by Henri Peter Ling, Swedish massage technique employs five different movements (long strokes, kneading of individual muscles, percussive tapping movement, rolling of the fingers, and vibration) and oils beneficial to the skin. It is the #1 most popular massage in America. The combination of the two calls for this attire we have on here, made by a Thai seamstress in LA’s Thai Town. The outfit doesn’t have a name (it so should!). Any suggestions?
The combination of Thai and Swedish Massage offers an even wider array of significant health benefits than either does on its own. Together, it’s a match made in massage heaven.
Benefits of both Thai Massage and Swedish Massage:
- Relief from stress and muscle tension
- Relief from aches and pains
- Improved circulation
- Unblocking and balancing of energy flow
- Detoxification of the internal organs
- Increased flexibility and range of motion
- A general increase in energy
- Improved mood
Distinct overall benefits of each:
- Thai Massage can help improve alignment. It also focuses more intensely on increased flexibility and range of motion.
- Swedish Massage provides the benefits of massage oils and moisturizing lotions along with constant human touch.
The massage itself was thorough and skillfully, fantastically executed. My massage therapist Sasivipa, their senior masseuse who’s been practicing Thai Massage for over 10 years, is also a nurse (in Thailand), trained in ER, Surgical, ICU and Sports Medicine nursing, and is also a Certified Midwife. You know, just in case I should start giving birth during my treatment. No postpartum effects thankyouverymuch, but I did leave with a much preferred, unmistakably post-massage walking-on-sunshine glow. Tracy also loved her treatment—she’ll be writing about it soon too so I’ll be sure to link you.
I’d highly recommend Thai Sabai to anyone in LA—they participate in Spa Week’s $50 events each season with ridiculously long treatment offerings, but their prices to are very reasonable to begin with (2 hours for $85, yes please!). They accept walk-ins and stay open late too – till 10 pm, so no excuses.
And, just saying… if you get Thai food around the corner before or after, I would not recommend pairing it with Swedish meatballs.
Thai Sabai – 2 locations:
2306 Westwood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90064
Thai Town / Hollywood
5261 Hollywood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90027
This spa treatment was comped for editorial consideration, but all opinions stated are genuine and my own. Disclosure Statement