Ryan, Lynn and I went out yesterday to do some errands. I needed my bank card pin number changed (because I forgot it…duh!), Lynn wanted her boots shined, and Ryan wanted to get some decorations for Christmas. We also wanted to buy a Christmas present for the head of our department to present at our Christmas dinner on Friday.
It was a group present, from all 6 of us foreign teachers, and we decided to get her a massage gift certificate. After all, Chinese massages are well known and many people get them regularly. Plus, our department head works a lot, and has been really nice to us so she deserves a little relaxation!
Luckily, Lynn speaks pretty good Chinese (and she managed to help me get my pin number changed which was a whole complex process unto itself) so we went to a nice massage place to ask for a gift certificate.
The massage place (sorry, I just can’t use the word ‘massage parlor’ because that just sounds too dirty or something) was really nice. There was a doorman out front, and the marbled lobby looked more like a high-end hotel then massage place. An hour long foot/body massage turned out to be 50 yuan. (About $8.) Turns out they didn’t have any gift certificates, but after a minute of debating we decided to try the services ourselves and get a massage!
They led the three of us into a very nice warm room with 4 reclining chairs. You don’t undress at all, rather you just take off your shoes and socks. A man came in to turn on the television, give us some sugar cane to snack on and a cup of green tea to sip. The room was blissfully warm.
Three masseuses came into the room. Ryan has a female, and Lynn and I both had men. They stuck our feet in steaming warm buckets of water and proceeded to rub away. At times it hurt like hell, but for the most part it was a good hurt.
Then, they finished the feet and moved up to our backs. At this point, I was basically beaten up. My masseuse was so strong and while I am not too familiar with massage techniques I’m convinced he did some deep muscle type moves. At times he would press down so hard I couldn’t even breathe.
I was facing Ryan and could see that his masseuse was shaking his limbs to relax them, pounding gently on his back, massaging his hands and fingers. Mine was just employing some sort of torture techniques. I will admit he found pretty much every tight muscle in my body, but once found he was ruthless. He would dig in and not let go until he was satisfied.
He also did some weird spine stuff where he would put serious pressure on the either side of my vertebrae for a painfully long time. Also, he would press so hard that my belt would dig into my stomach. Ryan, on the other hand, almost fell asleep during the back massage and ended up feeling revitalized and wonderfully refreshed afterwards.
Last night I felt like I was bruised all over. Today, my shoulders feel like I’ve been bench-pressing all day. But at the same time I felt he was a professional and whatever he did was for my own good, and in a few days I’ll be better than before. (That’s what I’m hoping for anyway.)
So is that it for me and Chinese massages? I think I’ll definitely give it another shot. The only thing is next time I’m asking for the woman!
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