Foot Massage in Taiwan
Even tourists preferring to be chauffeured around in plush limousines or cozy coaches can’t avoid using their feet when visiting tourist destinations. After walking to scenic spots, shopping at large malls, or browsing the alleys of a traditional night market, at the end of the day your feet will most likely be in need of some well-deserved recuperation. A foot-massage parlor a few blocks down the street from your hotel could be the perfect solution.
Considering the large number of foot-massage centers that can be found in Taipei and other major cities around Taiwan, it’s likely that there is one of them close to your hotel. Many of these establishments cater to tourists and are therefore often located in areas frequented by visitors from abroad. An increasing number of tour operators even include a stop at a foot-massage center in their tour itineraries, especially if those tours are designed for visitors from Japan and other regional countries. In Taipei alone there are countless foot-massage parlors and health centers offering foot massage and a range of other health-related services. There are, in fact, so many qualified foot-massage practitioners on this island that it wasn’t a problem at all to find 1,000 of them to take part in a mass foot-massage event organized last year at Taipei Arena, which set a record for the most people having their feet massaged simultaneously.
The growing popularity of foot massage and other forms of massage treatment in recent years has encouraged many entrepreneurs to invest in full-fledged multi-story health centers that cater to the many different needs of weary visitors. Kin Raku on Taipei’s Bade Road is one of the modern health oases that have brought the foot-massage experience to a whole new level. Forget about those one-chair-in-a-dark-night-market-alley operations, which might be cheap but surely lack any kind of relaxing ambience.
The concept of Kin Raku is to create a wholesome new-style experience, a place where you can relax and leave all worries behind for an hour or two. The first things you notice when entering the center are the pleasant scent wafting through the complex and the soothing background music. You are greeted by friendly staff, not unlike in an exclusive hotel or a fine restaurant. The design of the facility is basic, with a modern feel.
There is no need to worry about embarrassing moments when your feet – persistent smell, nagging skin problems, and all – are revealed to the foot kneader. A relaxing (and cleansing) medicinal foot bath starts off the experience. You might have seen pictures or footage of people grimacing with pain while being massaged, but you can rest assured that the professional, well-trained masseurs here will ask you how much pressure you want them to apply. After all, having your feet massaged should bring pleasant sensations, don’t you think?
When done by a qualified masseur, foot massage is much more than a relaxing therapy for weary feet. At most foot-massage centers you will find colorful “maps” of the feet. The colored spots represent the reflex zones on the soles of your feet. According to traditional Chinese-medicine concepts, applying pressure to these reflex zones stimulates the energy (qi) flow inside the body. On the maps you can easily identify which of your body organs is connected to which part of your soles. The theory is that the more pain one feels when a certain reflex zone is subjected to pressure, the more severe the energy flow through the connected organ is being blocked. A targeted foot massage can thus reveal internal problems and, for some, bring aid in restoring a healthy energy flow.
At Kin Raku there are large open-concept foot-massage rooms on the first and second floors. For more privacy and other types of massage, such as a full-body oil massage or other traditional treatments including scraping circulation (guasha) and vacuum-glass suction (baguan), the center provides private rooms on the third and fourth floors.
A 40-min foot massage is available at NT$600 (A$24), a 60-min full-body oil massage at NT$1,200 (A$48), and a 100-min foot and body massage set at NT$1,500 (A$60).
Kin Raku Foot Massage Center (éæ¨èæ¬é¤çæé¤¨)
If you have just arrived after a long intercontinental flight, the “Traveler’s Perk” Jetlag Recovering Massage (1 hr, 45 min / NT$3,800) might be just what you need, enabling you to enjoy your full stay in Taiwan fully refreshed. A session includes various massage techniques, combining styles from Indonesia, Hawaii, and Taiwan for an optimized treatment that reduces both mental and physical fatigue. Fragrant essential oil that you yourself choose before the treatment will enhance this stimulating experience.
The Tuina Massage service is another must-try if you want to experience the pleasures of being massaged local-style. The term tuina can be translated as “push and grasp,” describing how the hands of the masseur go to work. By pressing, tapping, and kneading, the practitioner seeks to stimulate the flow of energy and blood by unblocking the meridians of the body. The principles of this massage are similar to those of acupuncture, moxibustion, and acupressure. At Wellspring Spa, you can opt for a refreshing “Rejuvenator” Chinese Tuina Massage (1 hr, 45 min / NT$3,800) to relieve your tension and fatigue.
If you are in the mood for a bit of a change and want to treat your body to something extravagant, how about trying the “Trinity” Triple Massage (1 hr, 45 min / NT$9,000)? Three masseuses will be working on your body applying a range of methods, including palm pushing, finger pressing, and neuro-lymphatic massage, to help your body regain its balance. You will feel just great.
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