An Unique Experience with SCIC Beijing in China

Foot Massage Experience after Wushu Class at BSU

Program Title: Social Activities (Chinese Massage Experience)
Participants: Martial Arts Students
Activity Date: 18th May 2009

One evening after Wushu training, SCIC Beijing took us to have a proper Chinese foot massage! We were very excited..... 

Getting massages, foot massage included, is a popular leisure activity in China, along with playing sports, karaoke, spending time with family and so on. This was the first time I had experienced a massage of any sort in China (although it certainly wasn't the last).

The place we went to was a large, classically-decorated place, with friendly service and very helpful staff. I could tell it was a good place because it was busy, and we had to wait a little while for our spot. While we were waiting, we relaxed in comfy cane chairs, and drank complimentary glasses of hot green tea (very refreshing after an afternoon spent training). 

When it was time for my foot massage I was eagerly anticipating it. I had trained as a reflexologist in England prior to moving to China, so I was curious to see what differences, and similarities, a Chinese foot massage had to what I had studied previously. 

We were taken into a large room with two large, comfy chairs, with cushions to rest our feet on. A television and air-conditioning were also in the room. Our drinks were brought through to us as well. Before the foot massage started we had a short back massage, given very firmly. 



 Soak feet in herbal Water

 Shoulder Massage starts with

Then the foot massage started with a soak in hot water and herbs. This was very relaxing (and is very similar, I imagine, to the foot spas sold in the West). After my feet had soaked for several minutes the masseuse then scrubbed my foot and ankle with a rough lotion. This left my feet tingling and by this point I was feeling very relaxed. 

The next step caught me by surprise - I was a little perturbed to see the masseuse take out an old-fashioned cut-throat razor, like the ones you occasionally see in barber shops in England. She then used the razor to scrape the dead skin from my feet and toes. I needn't have worried about a razor being close to my foot, as she was very skilled, and this part was actually quite relaxing too, as my feet felt cleaner and fresher by the time she had finished. 

Then she massaged my feet, very firmly (as seems to be the norm in China). In England the reflexology massage is delivered gently but firmly, and does not include the various steps I've outlined here.  





The masseuse was very skilled, and knew exactly where to press on my feet. It was very enjoyable. After the hand massage was finished she then placed several 'cups' onto my feet, and left them there for several minutes (this is also a part of Traditional Chinese Medicine, where glass or plastic 'cups' are placed onto the back of the patient in order to draw out toxins from the body). After the cups had been removed she then used two soft rubber hammers to knock up and down my foot, ankle and calf. 

The final step was steaming my feet in a large wooden bucket.

This was a great experience and very, very relaxing. It's definitely a part of Chinese culture well worth exploring!