I truly thought I might perish at the hands of my brutal Taiwanese masseuse!
I was in Taiwan on a decadent Spa Press Trip. I know, how divine, you would think. But this treatment took the cake…
I’ve never had an all over body massage (and I mean all over). And certainly not an all over body massage by a Taiwanese woman with hands like a builder who has little comprehension of pain thresholds. While the door remained open so she could chat to her colleague in the next room, I can only describe my experience as if I was a piece of timber in a carpentry workshop. She first rubbed so vigorously I thought surely I would burst into flames, then she planed over and over on the one excruciating spot until every knot was worn smooth.
If there’d been a video camera looking up at my wincing face through the hole in the table, it would have been hilarious. My mouth alternated from Elvis lip-curling to baring teeth like Mr Ed as I tried to absorb the pain, eyes squinting ever tighter and clenching my teeth so I could hear the ocean in my ears.
After the neck, back, bum and legs were finally finished burning and stinging she was ready to flip me over and start on my internal organs. But having already tried to communicate through gasps to my non-English speaking carpenter that the pressure was too hard and clearly not being understood, I was determined not to let her loose on areas unprotected by a rib cage.
I tried to say thank you, that I’d had enough and began to make moves to leave, but she clearly wasn’t finished and didn’t want me to be short changed. After much shouting to her colleague next door about the rebellious piece of four-by-two trying to leave the work bench, a face popped around the door and seemed to understand my breathless request for less pain. In Mandarin, she conveyed to the builder that “no hard” was required and for a while things went smoothly. I’ve never had a tummy massage before so was quite interested although it felt a little strange, but when she peeled the towel back and massaged my boobs I didn’t know where to look. I shut my eyes – just as she belched. Seriously! She had already punctuated her treatment with a few of these, but really – while bending over my chest?
Suffice to say, massage in Taiwan is a varied experience. The next day I was treated to a luxurious hot stone massage at The Wellspring Spa at Formosa Resort on the clifftop of the mighty Taroko Gorge that ended with me melting in a bathtub overlooking marble boulders the size of cars in the river.
Oh and then there was the couples massage on a cruise ship with my husband some years later where my therapist had a heavy cold. She spent the entire entire massage either sniffing or actually blowing her nose whilst keeping one hand on my back, then once she’d thrown the snot-bearing tissue aside, she put the evacuating hand back on me and continued where she left off. This happened at least five times in my $200 treatment #notimpressed!