Saturday, June 02, 2007

Impressions from China - Massage Therapy

I am afraid that I have become quite addicted to massages, both body & feet. I can't do without my weekly fix of being kneaded/pressed/stretched, especially after riding, or sitting in front of the computer.

Before moving here, I limited my massages to once every two weeks or so. When I was working full-time, it was even less frequent, because of time constraints (although Lord knows I needed it more then, what with stiff shoulder muscles from prolonged sitting, & tension headaches from stress!).

I don't know much about the therapeutic value of foot reflexology - apparently, it can diagnose & "cure" conditions like kidney problems according to this article. True or not, it sure feels good.

I first discovered the pleasure of massage therapy at a spa in Phuket, during a family holiday at one of the resorts there (I think it was the Marriott) quite a few years ago. Hubby & I treated ourselves to a full body aromatherapy massage. When the masseuse kneaded my very tense & sore back muscles, I almost groaned out loud in ecstasy...aaahhh...the pleasure....

Now, living here, where massages are so cheap compared to Singapore (50 yuan can get you a full hour body massage; 80 yuan for 2 hours of foot relexology & body massage), I have had the pleasure of trying out various massage centers (I don't like the term "massage parlors" which seems to have negative connotations) to find the best & most value-for-money massage I can find.

I categorize the various methods of massage as follows:

a) The Kneader - usually found in spa resorts, and described as Swedish massage, this is great for tense muscles as it helps to loosen up the knots.

b) The Rocker - certain Chinese massage therapists use this method. They press & at the same time, rock the back/limb from side to side. Not too sure why, but it certainly helped with my sprained back!

c) The Presser - uses pressure on certain key tension points on various parts of the body. Don't know why it works, but it does. Sometimes is hurts like hell when the pressure is being applied, but after that, the tightness & soreness of the area is gone.

d) The Rubber - too light handed for me. If I need a foot rub, I'd do it myself. Sometimes, it generates a lot of warmth over the area, which I suppose acts like heat therapy to relieve pain.

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