There is nothing like nice massage to help you unwind, and in Asia, there are an abundance of massage shops willing to offer you a range of services at a very reasonable price. With so much choice you do need to shop around from time to time to find a good place you enjoy and when you do find one, stick to it. Many massage shops will differ in quality and it is not always the case that the more expensive it is, the better quality the massage. Here are a few tips when finding the perfect massage.
- Before you go in, see what is outside.
What I mean by this is that some massage shops offer extra services and the massage shop is just a front. This is particularly true in tourist areas and those known as red light areas. If the masseurs outside are mainly young women dressed like they are ready for a night on the town, chances are they are expecting you to purchase more than a 1 hour massage. If there are a mix of masseurs ranging in age and dressed in a uniform then you are probably going to be fine.
- Look for certificates on the walls
Good massage shops will often display the qualifications of the masseurs in the shop. Look around for these certificates and if you see plenty of them then you can be sure this shop hires qualified masseurs who have taken the relevant courses for their country.
- How big are the chairs?
Something I always look for is the size of the foot massage chairs, do they recline back enough? I found a particularly nice massage shop that had huge sized chairs that was very relaxing. Some places have smaller chairs with very little recline making the whole experience uncomfortable.
- What does it smell like?
Nice aromas in a massage shop can tell you If this place is going to give you a good professional massage. Some places take this very seriously and try to build up an atmospheric experience for your senses. If there is little smell other than the stale walls then you are probably in a very cheap run down place and although the masseurs may be good, you may not enjoy the experience so much.
- Is it busy?
A lot of good massage shops will have a number of repeat and regular customers. In most Asian countries, local people love going for a massage and when they find a good one they are loyal. If the place is often busy, especially with local people, it’s a good sign that you will get a very good professional massage.
A lot of this is going to be trial and error. I personally have been in a number of massage shops in various countries and I know now which ones I prefer to go to and where I can find a good one in certain cities. If you are a tourist staying somewhere for a few days then just follow the 5 rules and you should be able to have a nice relaxing experience.