Did you ever experience a Chinese Foot Massage? Wow, amazing. Absolutely nothing like our North American massages, at least the ones we’ve had.
It was a special and unique opportunity to experience a traditional Chinese foot massage at the famous Liang Zi Foot Massage in Beijing, China.
Absolute pampering is the only way to describe it, and considering all the walking you’re likely to be doing, it will be just the cure for aching feet and tired muscles. OK, maybe pampering is not quite the right word, but you will have to read on to find out why.
You will be treated with extreme deference and respect, and they pride themselves on providing the highest quality of service. They do not speak English, so everything is done with bowing and gestures.
You are cordially escorted to another room and invited to lie in a recliner chair where they will gently and slowly remove your shoes and socks, followed by a an offer of tea, beer, or wine.
Smartly uniformed masseurs will perform all of their massage actions together in perfect harmony all in a row at their customer’s feet.
It is like a dance. You watch is amazement as every movement of each of the masseurs is performed at the exact same moment for each of the 4-5 clients.
In a few minutes masseurs will come in, again working in perfect unison with each of the 4-5 clients, and will lift your feet and gently place your feet in a wooden bowl of very hot water with round stones in the bottom.
As you lean back with your drink and relax, an attendant returns periodically to add a dipper of very hot water to your bucket.
The uniformed masseurs return, and still again in unison, massage your arms and legs, ending with your feet. They start ever so gently with the most delicate of hands, and work slowly more deeply and aggressively.
Using techniques such as nailing, pressing, stroking, rubbing, and scrapping, they twist, turn, pound and knead your feet extremely vigorously for about an hour.
You squirm, and moan…
Now about this time… you start getting scared…
Owww….. Oh my God…
A person waiting hears your moans, and starts to get worried….
Quietly and surely, the beautiful Chinese girl identifies reflexology points and tells you, remarkably accurately, which part of your body you are having problems with.
She’s smiling, but somehow you sense an evil pleasure underneath…
Ahhh… (she gestures to a part of your body you are having problems with). And she is dead-on, correct.
Finally, they wrap your feet tightly in soft towels, and leave you to recover.
Then 10 minutes later, they return to put on your shoes and socks.
Your feet feel incredibly good, but you’re not sure if it’s because of the massage, or because they stopped massaging.
You thought you were done, but no, you are gently escorted to another room with a long padded bar-like table with small stools and a full-length mirror behind the bar.
You are invited to sit on the stool facing the mirror while a Chinese masseuse guides you to fold your arms on the padded table and lay your head on your arms.
He begins working on your back…
But just as you smile and start to relax, he starts pinching your back. You see the other masseuses doing the same thing in unison to your Chinese friends beside you on the stools, and wonder why they are not reacting in some way, while you squirm and grit your teeth.
Then suddenly his knee is jamming into your back with such force you are sure he is going to break your back! It is all you can do to keep back a scream. You groan in suppressed agony.
He continues to work on your back and with cupped-hand slaps, kneads, knuckle-rolls, squeezes, pinches, and elbow pressure all done in perfect unison with the other masseuses working on the other clients lined up at the padded bar-table.
After about only 15 minutes, the masseuse indicates that you are done, and as you stand up and turn around, the masseuses surround you with big smiles and ask for a picture together. It was actually a great photo, but somehow I have lost that picture, so you’ll have to form this picture in your mind’s eye.
By the end of the massage, you have that soft smile on your face and a slightly dazed look. Your eyes are glazed over in a state of shock mixed with an odd feeling of euphoria.
Thank God I didn’t get a full body massage…
No, none of that soft and mushy oil type of massage…
No, no… we left more like this…
(Oh, um…yes… it was lovely!.)
But we were thinking…. What the…
Still, after the initial shock of extreme stimulation….
We felt invigorated and strangely cheerful.
Perhaps it was because…. we survived.
A long foot massage and back massage is 150 quai (C$30) without drinks. A full body massage is about double.
Not to confuse the ‘personal massage’ with this professional one, gentleman should be aware that they may be approached on the streets with offers of massages that include other services (sexual).
If you travel to Beijng, China, treat yourself (sort of) to an amazing and unique foot massage at Zhuguafan Langzi, known commonly as the Liang Zi Foot Massage, Beijing. Phone: 0373-2030918, Fax: 0373-2029898, (web site: http://www.liangzi.com.cn).