Wat Pho, Bangkok

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You are immediately greeted with a sense of peace as you enter the Wat Pho Buddhist Compound. There are stupas throughout the courtyard as you pass the umbrella that says “Buddha is not for tattoo.” And, as impressive as the stupa are, the Buddha are breathtaking. The building that houses the famous giant reclining Buddha was being restored, so I wasn’t able to visit it, but there are an extraordinary number of deities that inhabit the compound that I was able to see.

A tour of people arrived soon after I did, so I ducked into a nearby courtyard to avoid them. There I found golden statue after golden statue, and, with no one else around, I was able to contemplate in silence. The experience was extraordinary, and one that I won’t forget. There was power in that courtyard.

As the compound started to fill with more visitors, I continued to seek places of serenity. I was fortunate enough to step into a temple where a giant Buddha resided, with five golden figures representing his followers seated beneath his throne.

There was also a statue of Buddha that devotees would press gold sheets upon as an offering. This Buddha still retained its original shape, but I’ve heard of figures in Myanmar that have had so much gold pressed upon them that they now look like blobs. I hope to see them when I visit Myanmar.

 The Buddha’s surface is uneven because gold has been pressed onto it by devotees

The Buddha’s surface is uneven because gold has been pressed onto it by devotees

Was Pho is the birthplace of the Thai massage. I wasn’t planning on getting a massage, but as I passed the building, I decided that a half-hour session would be nice. Once my half-hour ended, I immediately asked for another half-hour. The experience was extraordinary, and most importantly it helped relieve some of the pain that I experience from fibromyalgia.

I discovered after the massage that my pain had become like white noise, always there yet invisible in its ubiquitousness. As my discomfort is alleviated, I’m growing excited about the possibilities. I know that the symptoms won't completely disappear, but a reduction is welcome.

I was sick for two days afterward, likely from the release of toxins from my muscles into my system during the massage, and the experience was worth the cost and the illness. I’ve slowed down on my plans to leave Bangkok, and plan on returning for more massages as long as they continue to heal me, or until I fly to Vietnam.