The tradition of Chinese massage dates back thousands of years and has developed to be not only a method for promoting relaxation but also as an important facet of traditional Chinese medicine itself. Relax your body, relax your soul. Massage is the best way to release the stress and find peace. China’s rich culture can be found in all perspective in life including massage. Chinese massage is particularly healing as Chinese medicine is widely used. Massage can be practiced as just simply body massage but sometime herbs or different types of oil are also used for the therapy.
Chinese massage can be as simple as a quick half-an-hour shoulders massage or the top services with rare herbs and oil, relaxing music, offering a meal with tea, skillful masseur or masseuse who can spot body issues almost as accurately as therapists… Be careful, good massage can be quite addictive. Find yourself a good place and choose the type of massage you want then sit down (or lie down), relax and enjoy your massage.
Traditions above everything
These traditional massage therapies can help with mood control, relieve stress, promoting blood flow and alleviate pain. In most cases traditional Chinese massage therapies also aim to promote the proper flow of a person’s life force or “Qi” and eradicating blockages and thus promoting health and vitality as well as balancing Ying and Yang energy. Below is a short guide to the most popular Chinese massage techniques.
The art of Tui Na involves stretching, kneading and pushing the muscles. This type of massage aims at promoting the balance of Ying and Yang and is one of the most common massage types in China.
Zhi Ya is slightly more clinical than its cousin Tui Na and focuses on pressure/acupressure points to relieve stress and pain. The aim of this type of massage is to encourage the proper flow of energy throughout the body meaning an increase in nervous system functions and relief from stress and pain.
Chinese foot massage is very popular throughout China with small massage parlors dedicated to this massage type being found in most neighborhoods. The massage often starts with a soak in a wooden bucket full of hot water and Chinese herbs and a head massage and back rub. Later a dedicated masseuse will give a full oil massage to a patients feet and often finish a treatment with hot stone and wooden hammer treatment (don’t worry it is not as painful as it sounds!).
Blind masseuses are said to have a superior sent of touch and therefore are supposed to excel at massage therapy. Furthermore “blind” massages are conducted with a patients clothes on meaning a relaxing experience for those who are a bit shy at stripping off!
Where to Find the Best Massages
Unless you want to experience something “extra” at the end of your massage we highly recommend staying away from parlors with pink/blue lights or girls in the window. The best bet for a professional and relaxing massage without having to deal with the stress of unsolicited services is to try a country wide chain such as Dragon Fly with massage locations in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hong Kong and other big cities. Or to find a parlor that also deals with traditional medical techniques such as cupping or acupuncture.
Traditional Massage as Medicine
Take traditional Foot Massage for example, you will be surprised by the masseur or masseuse when they spotted something wrong with your liver, kidney or other issues. Unbelievably, a good masseur or masseuse really can tell everything just by touching one’s foot! According to Chinese medicine, everything in a human body is connected by QI. When a masseur or masseuse is practicing massage, he or she doesn’t just work on the muscles and joints but also need to pay attention on the customer’s body condition. And yes, many of them are blind yet they see more than your doctor may tell you. If you are lucky enough to find a good massage service with herbs, that can be a real luxury experience.
Where to go for a massage in China and everywhere
Many massage companies provide extra services such as drinks, food, sauna, TV, quality sound system… However, there are some ‘services’ might get you in troubles. Surely the shop design should give each customer some privacy but you should still be able to see a clear picture of the place from outside. Avoid those with windows all covered. To be safe in your journey, it’s best to go for chain shops with good reputation. As it’s supposed to be a very personal experience, customers are encouraged to specify their needs. Always reflect when the massage is too strong that might hurt you or if you have a certain place need to put more effort in, such as your shoulders, waist or the injury you have. Women in their periods or pregnancy should also inform their conditions in advance.