Living in Los Angeles, no one is a stranger to the ubiquitous Chinese Foot Massage centers: you get an hour of fingers digging into all of your reflexive foot zones for a mere $20 bones.
Such a steal, why isn’t everyone there?
To be honest, most think of these as the “Happy Ending” massage places. The tawdry, flashing neon, the curtains, the sparse English. I blab on to many friends and acquaintances about how I’ll only go to these since they are the cheapest – the weight of the stares after I mention this makes me consider hiring a porter.
“Well, you have to be careful with those…you never know what you’ll get…”
A cheap, full hour massage with a Mandarin lesson included?
Let me explain to those feeling apprehensive:
For one hour, usually around 20-35 dollars, depending on what you want and the area of LA, you’ll lie flat on a somewhat cozy, well-laundered towel coated easy chair. They soak your feet in scalding water, while they massage your head and arms and upper back with an oil you would never buy in fear of a rash – it works fine, sans rash. Then, they make your feet feel like they owe you an apology for existing – this can be a mixed bag. Afterwards, you roll over for the back portion. Men usually take their shirts off, and if you are a woman with no fucks to give, you can take off yours as well – it’s done discreetly.
Yes, it’s not the most private – you are in a room of other people getting a rub down. But they put a towel over your eyes, so you can sort of chill out. And yeah, they do whisper to one another, in Chinese. If you are super sensitive, this might not be your cup of Oolong.
I went to several while exploring the vastness of the Peoples Republic of China on a recent trip, and I can attest: these are true, honest to God, Chinese massages. Even the pricing is similar. With people that probably just came from there a few weeks ago.
An additional perk that you won’t get at your Healing Hands place? A punch card with $20 off if you are a lonely person/regular.
I’ve included some of my favorites below if you need some cajoling:
Monterey Park – if you have time for a hop to the SGV