The Art Of Massage In Vietnam: A Journey Through Time
The practice of massage has been an integral part of Vietnamese culture for centuries. Dating back to ancient times, the art of massage in Vietnam has evolved and adapted to various influences, from traditional Chinese medicine to French colonial practices.
Today, Vietnam boasts a rich and diverse array of massage styles that cater to different needs and preferences and in this article, we’ll delve into the fascinating history of massage in Vietnam, explore the different styles available, and recommend some of the best places to experience a massage in Hanoi.
The History Of Massage In Vietnam
Ancient Roots Of Vietnamese Massage
The earliest evidence of massage in Vietnam dates back to the Hung Kings period (2879-258 BCE). It is believed that the practice was introduced to Vietnam by the Chinese, who were heavily influenced by traditional Indian Ayurvedic practices. Massage played a significant role in Vietnamese medicine, providing relief from pain, improving circulation, and promoting overall well-being.
French Influence On Vietnamese Massage
During the French colonial era (1859-1954), Vietnam experienced a substantial influx of French culture and practices and French massage techniques, such as effleurage and petrissage, were introduced to Vietnam during this period. These techniques, which focus on smooth, gliding strokes and kneading, were incorporated into the local massage practice, creating a unique blend of Vietnamese and French styles.
Since the reunification of Vietnam in 1975, the country has witnessed rapid economic growth and increased globalization and as a result, massage has become a booming industry in Vietnam, attracting tourists and locals alike. Today, you’ll find a wide range of massage styles and establishments catering to all needs and preferences, from luxurious spas to affordable street-side massage stalls.
Different Styles Of Massage In Vietnam
Traditional Vietnamese Massage
Traditional Vietnamese massage, also known as “Tam Quat,” is a holistic treatment that combines elements of traditional Vietnamese medicine, acupressure, and reflexology. Practitioners use their fingers, palms, elbows, and sometimes even knees to apply pressure to specific points on the body, helping to release tension, stimulate blood circulation, and promote relaxation.
Hot Stone Massage
Hot stone massage is a popular treatment in Vietnam, where heated volcanic stones are placed on key points of the body. The heat from the stones penetrates deep into the muscles, relieving tension and promoting relaxation. This therapy is said to improve blood flow, alleviate stress, and support detoxification.
Herbal Steam Massage
Herbal steam massage, known as “xông h?i,” is a deeply relaxing and therapeutic treatment that combines the benefits of a steam bath with traditional massage techniques. The treatment begins with a steam bath infused with aromatic herbs to open up the pores and relax the muscles and afterwards, a massage therapist performs a full-body massage, using herbal oils to nourish and rejuvenate the skin.
Thai massage, although not native to Vietnam, is widely available across the country. This style of massage involves deep, rhythmic pressing and stretching movements, aiming to release tension, increase flexibility, and balance the body’s energy systems.
Where To Get A Massage In Hanoi
Address: 18A Hàng Mành, Hàng Gai, Hoàn Ki?m, Hà N?i, Vietnam
Moc Spa is a luxurious retreat in the heart of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, offering a wide range of massage treatments, including traditional Vietnamese, hot stone, and Thai massage. The spa’s tranquil atmosphere and skilled therapists make it a popular choice for both tourists and locals.
Address: 52A Hàng Bún, Trúc B?ch, Ba ?ình, Hà N?i, Vietnam
Omamori Spa is a unique, socially responsible spa in Hanoi that offers exceptional massage services while supporting the visually impaired community.
The spa employs blind and visually impaired therapists who are trained in various massage techniques, including traditional Vietnamese, Swedish and Shiatsu and with a serene environment and a mission to empower the visually impaired, Omamori Spa is a must-visit destination in Hanoi.
La Belle Spa
Address: 20 Thi Sách, Hàng Bông, Hoàn Ki?m, Hà N?i, Vietnam
La Belle Spa is an elegant and luxurious spa located in the bustling center of Hanoi. It offers a variety of massage treatments, such as herbal steam massage, hot stone massage, and aromatherapy. The spa’s professional therapists, high-quality products, and attention to detail make it a top choice for those seeking a rejuvenating massage experience.
Le Spa du Metropole
Address: 15 Ngô Quy?n, Hoàn Ki?m, Hà N?i, Vietnam
Le Spa du Metropole is a prestigious spa located within the historic Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi Hotel. The spa offers a range of massage treatments, including traditional Vietnamese, Swedish, and Balinese massages. With its opulent setting and world-class service, Le Spa du Metropole provides a truly luxurious massage experience.
The art of massage in Vietnam is a rich and diverse practice that reflects the country’s fascinating history and cultural influences. From traditional Vietnamese massage to the luxurious treatments found in Hanoi’s upscale spas, there is a massage style to suit everyone’s preferences.
When visiting Hanoi, be sure to indulge in one of these unique and therapeutic experiences to truly immerse yourself in the local culture and leave feeling revitalized.