Beijing Massage Guide
If you’re looking for a guide to massages in Beijing, you’ve come to the right place. First, let’s take a look at main kinds of massage venues available in Beijing:
Kinds of Massage in Beijing
- Hair Washes
- Reflexology (Foot Massage)
- Blind Massage
- Massage Supercenters
- Beauty Shops
Hair Washes (Head Massage)
If you haven’t been to China, it sounds strange to put hair washes and massages together. But at almost any place you get your hair washed or cut, they will also give you a relaxing head massage.
A hair wash is by far the quickest and most affordable massage available, and it costs anywhere between 5-25 RMB to get this kind of massage in Beijing. Yes, you heard right: you can get a hair wash and quick massage for under a dollar in Beijing and many other cities in China.
Reflexology (Foot Massage)
Reflexology, or foot massage, is the next cheapest form of massage. It’s also possibly the most painful. Depending on where you go in Beijing, a foot massage can run anywhere between 30-100 RMB.
Reflexology shops are usually the smallest massage places and are easily identifiable from the picture of a foot hanging above or pasted next to the door.
In China, it’s very common for blind people to become expert masseuses. And blind massage (盲人按摩) centers are readily available in Beijing.
While a bit more expensive than foot massages, Blind Massage centers are the cheapest full body massage out there. If you’re looking for a pampering experience, you might want to check out the next type of massage place.
Looking for a place where you can relax, take a leisurely shower, sit down and have a snack while watching (Chinese) TV, and maybe even go for a swim? Look no further than your nearest massage supercenter, otherwise known as a sauna.
You can even get a good night’s sleep in one of these places, usually for a lot cheaper than a hotel. But be careful, of course, and don’t do anything stupid. There is sometimes an entry fee (between 30 and 50 RMB), and then a fee per massage. A sauna is definitely the most expensive option for getting a massage in Beijing.
Beauty shops that look more like places of disrepute are usually just that. Stay away from these places if possible. With the Olympics fast approaching, will these types of venues for massages in Beijing be closed?
Styles of Massage in Beijing
Besides reflexology and hair washes, there are two main types of massage available in Beijing:
- Chinese Massage
- Thai Massage
What’s the difference?
Chinese massage (中式按摩 – zhōng shì àn mó) relies much more on a style of massage called tuī ná (推拿), which involves the extensive use of pressure points.
This can be quite painful, along with the extensive kneading that is used. Practitioners of Chinese massage, especially the tuī ná variety, believe it to have strong healing properties.
It is easier to find Chinese massage than Thai massage in Beijing, although both are usually available in the larger saunas.
Thai massage (泰式按摩 – tài shì àn mó) is a much more relaxing kind of massage. It involves much more rubbing and pressing instead of kneading, as well as interesting stretching techniques.
While both Chinese and Thai massage will leave the person being massaged much more relaxed and comfortable, the Thai massage is less painful and even more soothing. A good massage will leave you in a sleep like state. This comes with its price, however, as Thai massage is a bit more expensive than Chinese massage in Beijing.
Beijing Massage Recommendations
If you have a legitimate place to get a good massage in Beijing, please leave it below. However, numbers for other services will not be accepted.
Sometime I’ll get around to compiling a list of places to get massages in Beijing, and a list of massage vocabulary so you can make sure you’re getting what you want and not something extra.
Best of luck in getting a nice, relaxing, and legitimate massage in Beijing.