July 4, 2012

Get a blind massage in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is a haven of street markets selling knock-off designer labels and expensive stores selling the real thing, but one can eventually run out of shopping stamina and need a completely different kind of therapy.

I had heard about blind masseurs from a friend living here. He swears by them. Rudely, this so-called friend was out of town for my visit so my first task was to find the Visitor Information Centre at Central and try to find out where indeed these blind massages take place.

Massage table

There’s nothing fancy for the seeing. Pic Tracy Hunter on Flickr

Established in 1987, there are now a couple of blind massage centres in Hong Kong (here’s the link) and all the masseurs are trained in traditional Chinese acupressure and massage by the Hong Kong Society for the Blind. I had a really sore neck from sleeping oddly about a week earlier and had not had time to get to a physio before leaving home. Well that was my excuse to spend the whole day being pampered. As it turned out, ‘pampered’ was quite the wrong expectation to have.

Amy manoeuvred her way around the wall to the foot of the table. I was concerned she might trip on the pile of clothes I’d stacked on the floor so pointed them out, but she wasn’t bothered as she set a talking alarm clock for one hour. She turned and ran her hands down my spine, familiarising herself with my shape then threw a small cotton sheet, no bigger than a pillow case, over my shoulders and began to work.

There is no such speed as gentle. I was jiggling until my brain rattled and at times my knuckles were white as I fought to handle the pain. Determined not to be a wuss, I found if I blocked my ears by clenching my jaw muscles I was able to disconnect in the same way I used to as a 16 year-old waitress carrying burning hot plates.

Blind massage

One of the masseurs trained at the HK Society for the Blind

My initial neck and shoulder trouble spots, while hurting in a satisfying masochistic kind of way, were nothing compared to the tense muscles she found in my backside! How did she know? She flicked the sheet over my lower back and began working into my gluts and I nearly shot through the curtains. It took all my concentration just to keep breathing. Her English was quite good and my wincing caused her to ask what I did for a job. Sitting at a computer, I squeaked, which apparently explained the pain.

“15 minutes,” said the clock in a robotic American accent and by now I had learned to enjoy experience and did not like the countdown every five minutes, then one minute, till the end finishing with a tinny concerto to round off the appointment.

With my back and butt now pummelled into well being, I was no longer a walking knot so decided I needed my feet seen to…. But that’s another blog!

About Megan Singleton

Megan

Megan Singleton is a travel writer, blogger and radio correspondent. She's been gallivanting around the world telling stories for the last 16 years and has her suitcase always half packed (or half un-packed!) Follow along on Facebook or Twitter and sign up for monthly newsletters if you want to keep up with the journey!

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