Massage in China
Massage is available all over China, often both high quality and reasonably priced. Traditionally, massage is a trade for the blind in Asia. Expert work costs ¥15 to ¥30 an hour.Almost any hairdresser will give a hair wash and head massage for ¥10. This often includes cleaning out ear wax and some massage on neck and arms. With a haircut and/or a shave, ¥15 to ¥25.Foot massage (zúliáo) is widely available, often indicated by a picture of a bare footprint on the sign. Prices are from ¥15 to about ¥60.Whole body massage is also widespread, at prices from ¥15 an hour up. There are two varieties: ànmó is general massage; tuīná concentrates on the meridians used in acupuncture. The most expert massages are in massage hospitals, or general Chinese medicine hospitals, usually at ¥50 an hour or a bit more. The best value is at tiny out-of-the-way places some of whose staff are blind mángrén ànmó.
Some massage places are actually brothels. Prostitution is illegal in China but quite common and often disguised as massage. Most hot spring or sauna establishments offer all the services a businessman might want for relaxation. As for the smaller places, if you see pink lighting or lots of girls in short skirts,
probably considerably more than just massage is on offer, and quite often they cannot do a good massage. The same rule applies in many hair salons which double as massage parlors/brothels.The non-pink-lit places usually give good massage and generally do not offer sex. If the establishment advertises massage by the blind, it is almost certain to be legitimate. It is possible to take a nap for a few hours in many massage places and even to spend the night in some. Hairdressers generally do not have facilities for this, but you can sleep on the table in a body massage place or (much better) on the couch used for foot massage. Fees are moderate; this is probably the cheapest way to sleep in China. Note, however, that except in high-end saunas with private rooms, you will share the staff's toilet and there may not be any way to lock up luggage.
Language for massage
tòng (痛) and bú tòng (不痛) are "pain" and "no pain"hǎo (好) and bù hǎo (不好) are "good" and "not good"; hěn hǎo (很好) is "very good" or "great"yào (要) is "want", bú yào (不要) "don't want"yǎng (痒) is "that tickles"There are several ways a masseur or masseuse might ask a question. For example "does this hurt" might be asked as tòng bú tòng? or tòng ma?. For either, answer tòng or bú tòng.