Massage of any kind is a luxury for many people. In China though, it can be a relatively affordable but superb experience. As with Thailand and Indonesia. These are the 3 countries with the best masseuse for relatively little money. Hence, the foot massage has become an activity many residents are familiar with.
In China, it's often known as foot reflexology as no lotion or oil is applied and the pressure applied is mostly on the bottom of the feet. In Thailand, the concentration is on both the foot and leg. There are many massage parlor and spas in China, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines and Malaysia. The trick is finding one that you are comfortable in as well as like the pressure it's being applied. Once you've found a good one, stick with it!
There is no way to know other than to try it yourself. Nonetheless, friends and acquaintances can provide good leads. Ask around and then go around testing.
The routine starts with a 15 mins soak in hot water. I do mean hot! I've been told that's how it ought to be so as to provide the maximum benefit. Some kind of traditional chinese medicine or potion (powdery) is then added into the hot water for a mix. In the Chinese style, you simply soak the feet. In the mean time, the masseuse will do a neck and shoulder massage for you. I enjoy this most since I found my back over stressed due to bad sitting posture as well as too long stretch of time in front of the TV and computer!
In the other South East Asian countries, the water is merely warm and the masseuse will perform a cleaning service by scrubbing and massaging the feet in the water. That's the main difference.
Thereafter, the masseuse will either massage the head and scalp or the shoulder or both. The last would be the feet.
A foot massage session normally lasts for 60 mins or 90 mins. My preference is 90 mins but if it's someone I've never tried before, I'll try 60 mins for a start and if he/she is good, then extend it to 90 mins.
Another added service is the removal of cuticle and dead skins from your feet. That is a luxury which I do love. It makes my feet totally smooth at the end of it. In China, it's a mere RMB30/35 (less than $5). In other countries like Thailand and India, they might do it for free in a foot spa service. I encourage you to do it. You'll be very happy with how smooth your feet are once the dead skins are removed. I love applying the massage oil to my feet after this. Really great!
One last suggestion, do your foot massage at day spa or massage parlor. They are a lot more economical. Never do one in the hotel spas. They are highly overpriced there. One doesn't need so much privacy where foot massages are concerned. The hotel and destination spas are best for body massages and certainly not foot massages!
As a guide, an hour of foot massage in China is about RMB 60 (US$10) and it's less in Thailand, Philippines and Indonesia. The advice of the masseuse is to do it at least once a week. For Chinese reflexology, foot massages are meant to cure sleeplessness, lack of appetite or other known illnesses. It's been claimed that a good masseuse will know what kind of problem you're having by pressing certain acu-point and if you are in great pain, then you've a problem in certain area of your body!!!
For those of you who have no chance of going to a foot massage, WikiHow has a manual on how you can give a foot massage to your loved ones. Click here.
One last note about (foot) massages, you can get addicted to them!!!
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I'm a traveler at heart & have been nicknamed Travel Queen by friends & colleagues alike. Traveling has been my life passion for the last decade or so. As we enter a new decade, I'm excited … more
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Reflexology, or zone therapy is an alternative medicine involving the physical act of applying pressure to the feet, hands, or ears with specific thumb, finger, and hand techniques without the use of oil or lotion. It is based on what reflexologists claim to be a system of zones and reflex areas that they say reflect an image of the body on the feet and hands, with the premise that such work effects a physical change to the body. A 2009 systematic review of randomised controlled trials concludes that "The best evidence available to date does not demonstrate convincingly that reflexology is an effective treatment for any medical condition."
The Reflexology Association of Canada defines reflexology as:
"A natural healing art based on the principle that there are reflexes in the feet, hands and ears and their referral areas within zone related areas, which correspond to every part, gland and organ of the body. Through application of pressure on these reflexes without the use of tools, crèmes or lotions, the feet being the primary area of application, reflexology relieves tension, improves circulation and helps promote the natural function of the related areas of the body."
There is no consensus among reflexologists on how reflexology is supposed to work; a unifying theme is the idea that areas on the foot correspond to areas of the body, and that by manipulating these one can improve health ...