Rubbing It In: Getting A Massage In Asia 按摩
(Taken by me in Taiwan, 2014.) If you suffer from tension and anxiety like me, having regular massages can be a way for you to manage your symptoms minus drugs. But how do massage clinics in Asia compare with those in Australia? I've been for a massage in Taiwan, and I've also gone for massages in various regions of Japan. The quality of each location varied to some degree. Some felt cleaner than others. Some offered me free tea. As a generality, and probably not surprisingly, acupressure massages and Reiki are taken much more seriously in Asia than they are here in Australia. Within Japan, it isn't unusual for a massage clinic to look much like a medical office from the outside. One curious feature I found was that the costs of getting a massage was fairly consistent. In Japan the amount of Yen, if I translated it to Australian dollars, worked out to be about the same as what I was used to paying. In Taiwan, I found a similar situation, there. Maybe it was slightly cheaper at some locations. It's worth your while to keep your eyes open for deals.
As is true in Australia, the quality of the massages you get, and the ability of the masseuse to speak English will tend to vary. But I think one of the things I found the most interesting was that even in Japan, many of the masseuses I encountered were still Chinese and had simply learned to speak the local language.
A final tip I'll offer is that in Japanese massage shops, the rules for shoes are much the way they are anywhere else. You are expected to change from your shoes to a pair of sandals they provide before you leave the lobby. Staff will typically put your shoes into a shelving unit not far from the front desk. If you find it hard to communicate with the staff, Google translate can be a great help.
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