2005.12.05 Beijing, China
Joyce and I just returned from an impromptu night out. We haven't been out on the town much over my present visit to Beijing: she's been busy with work, trying to get her gemstone business off the ground. Having worked from home the entire day, she was antsy by late evening--I suggested we go out for a massage.
There's a place not far from her apartment that gives good massages at reasonable prices. It wasn't cozy in the way a spa in the U.S. would have been. That's not important to me, though. I care only that the masseuse has strength enough and knows how to apply pressure in the right areas.
We splurged 66 yuan ($8.17) apiece for a two-and-a-half hour treatment. For that much yuan we got:
I had no idea what head dry-cleaning could be the first time I heard the term. The same phrase, gan xi, is used at laundries that clean clothing with chemicals, using no water. However, in massage, the process is:
It seems every time I go for a massage in China there's some service I've never heard of and couldn't have imagined myself. This massage actually wasn't my first time getting my head dry-cleaned. It was, however, my first time getting the healing ginger kidney treatment. The ginger kidney treatment follows these steps:
The treatment is believed to provide therapeutic effects to the kidneys. I can't be sure whether it was on account of the ginger kidney treatment, but I became relaxed and pleasantly drowsy upon being turned over on my back. I wasn't tired before, so think there must be something to having your mid-section wrapped up in herbs, ginger, and hot towels.
There are many services common to massage in China that wouldn't be found in most countries. I paid extra to have callouses and other dead skin shaven off my feet. That also included a pedicure performed with three different scalpels.
We finished off with an ear cleaning. Tiny spoons made from clear plastic excavate for earwax: a button at the base can be pressed to illuminate the ear canal. A small brush finishes the process, whisking away specks too small for the spoon.