Shanghai Massage Culture

4 years ago
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I am a true Shanghai resident now because I have embraced the local ritual of a complete stranger rubbing my feet for an hour or more.   After all, life can be hard and wouldn't everyone be nicer if they took the time to get regular foot massages?  All I'm saying is that there would be far less negativity and drama in this world if there was more massaging going on and everyone's feet felt wonderful as a result.  Who's with me?


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 So to that end, I finally broke down and joined the ranks of the many VIP Massage card holders with the very popular Dragonfly chain here.   The lovely ladies at the salon were so excited when I acquiesced and got this deal where you spend some serious cash up front for a gift card and then get discounts as you use it for massages and mani/pedi's, waxing, etc.--all those very necessary services that are an integral part of the Chinese lifestyle. 


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 Their brochure listing the many spa services is a hoot…who doesn't want a "Happy Landing" massage, not to be confused with the "Happy Ending" massages at other less reputable places…you get my drift, right?  My husband, Thom, routinely gets approached on the street when I'm not with him by the lovely ladies offering him a quick "Happy Ending" massage, though he would never consider it, of course.  Dragonfly also offers massages with catchy names like:  "Give it to me one more time" or "Double Trouble", which is a four hands massage--how decadent can you get!  Some other services they offer bear further investigation like the "Playboy" wax job…hmmm…or the "Red Grape Footcare Treatment", which sounds like something you would get by stomping wine so I'm all in to try it. 


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 Using our new VIP card, Thom and I have decided to start 2014 by making our weekly date night now a "massage night" and enjoy Dragonfly's services.  Our first  appointment was for the 90 minute hot stone/oil foot massage.  Now, I was skeptical that I would be able to sit still for that long just to have someone rub my feet but, oh holy hell, it felt so good when it didn't hurt so bad. They also threw in a neck and shoulder massage to start, then put the hot lavender rice pillow around my neck as I reclined in the soft chair.  With little hot (and I mean HOT!) smooth pebbles between my toes and large hot stones rubbing up and down my oiled legs and feet, my spa guy was disappointed that I wanted him to go softer. But after a few screams of pain, he got the hint and took it down a notch.  Thom, on the other hand, admitted he was in pain too but was too manly to cry like a baby to his spa gal, though he shed a few quiet tears.    


We both thought we would have bruises on our legs but today we felt just fine and are planning our next massage date.  Maybe this time we'll do the two hour "Royal Delight", one hour of Chinese massage followed by two therapists simultaneously delivering an hour Oriental Foot massage and Head and Shoulder Massage.   Ahhhhhh……Shanghai………Massage=World Peace!


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