They’re on the street corner in just about every Asian country; the women standing outside with their brochures beckoning you in – and no, I am not referring to certain establishments with seedy undertones – I’m talking about massage parlours. Spas, salons – whatever they are called, you can understand why there are so many – with one hour massages being offered for 70.000 rupiah an hour (that’s $7.00 AUD), a massage a day is just one of the many appealing activities for tourists visiting Asia.
I’ve had many a massage in a number of countries I have visited, and I definitely understand the lure and temptation of it – I am a sucker for a massage myself, especially after a tiring few days being on the road – there’s nothing quite like it. However, whilst having a massage today here in Ubud, Bali – I couldn’t help but think of just how different a massage is here in an Asian country compared to the type we’d have back home in a modern, Western environment. It’s actually amazing how much we overlook in terms of ‘standards’ and ‘practices’ when we’re paying $7.00 for an hour as opposed to $90.00+….
On that note, I thought it would be a fun to put together a bit of a list of the thoughts that run through our minds whilst having a massage… there’s a lot of them!
1. Finally! A massage parlour with the prices advertised outside the store. Thank god I don’t have to go in and then walk away if it’s too expensive….
2. 70.000 rupiah… bargain!
3. That place down the road charging 90.000 is such a rip off.
4. Yes, one hour Balinese massage. No, I don’t want a pedicure.
5. No I really don’t want a pedicure, thank you.
6. Sure I’ll wait here.
7. How long am I meant to wait?
8. Did they go to lunch or something?
9. Ah she’s back. Thank god.
10. Wow, look at these beautiful rooms, the music, the incense – hope I’m in there!
11. Wait, where are we going?
12. We’re actually exiting the building. Um, excuse me?
13. Oh. Of course. The room is out the back, outside, up the stairs, around the corner and down the hall. On the left. And the left again.
14. Oh this isn’t so bad. Bamboo walls, flooring, natural sunlight – this is nice. At one with nature…
15. You want me to what? Change and take off my underwear? Why can’t I keep my own underwear on?
16. Fine I’ll wear your pre-packaged underwear.
17. Far out, who do they make this underwear for – elephants?
18. Dear god, they are see through…. that’s ok, I’m lying on my front the whole time right?
19. Now where did she go?
20. Of course she walked in whilst I was leaning up off the table and scratching my boob.
21. I’m going to bury my head in this head rest right here.
22. Did they wash this towel?
23. Ok I’m all covered up now, I feel modest again…
24. WHOA she just mounted me. As you do.
25. What is the weight bearing of these tables? Is this even a proper massage table?
26. Ahhh here we go, the oil is out, now it’s going to get good!
27. HOLY MOLEY! Why are my calves so goddamn tight?!
28. I’m glad I shaved my three week leg hair growth yesterday. This could have been awkward otherwise.
29. Yes, the feet, my favourite!
30. Please don’t dislocate my ankles doing that rolling thing you’re doing…
31. Wait – what about my feet? You’re done already?
32. Guess she’s finished with my feet. Dammit. Next time I’ll make sure I get a separate foot massage.
33. Oh wow, having your hands massaged is actually awesome. Don’t stop.
34. She stopped.
35. Yes, the pressure is great – thank you!
36. She packs a lot of punch for a tiny person.
37. Ah yes, finally getting onto the back and shoulders, my favourite.
38. I have so much tension in my neck.
39. I hope she works on those knots in my shoulders, had a rubbish sleep last night.
40. Oh yes, yes, that’s the spot right th-
42. Why’d you stop! That felt good.
43. Man, now she’s doing the other side. Didn’t she feel that knot?
44. They’re very methodical aren’t they?
45. It’s like they use the same approach for every type of body.
46. Where do they even learn this?
47. I’m hungry.
48. Turn over? Already?
49. You mean my back, one of the largest muscle groups in the body – you’re just going to spend five minutes on it?
51. Dear god I’m like a baby elephant trying to turn over whilst concealing my boobs. I just ripped up all the sheets.
52. Ok my boobs are out. This is awkward.
53. I’ll just keep my eyes closed.
54. Oooh head rub! Me likey!
55. This. Is. Soooooooo. Good.
56. Scalp massage? Um hang on maybe you should –
57. No that’s ok. Rub my hair with oily hands. Not like I just washed it yesterday or anything.
58. Ugh I really don’t want to wash my hair again. My shower pressure is rubbish.
59. I guess it feels pretty good at least…
60. Yay she covered my boobs up! Thank you!
61. Woooah no she didn’t. Just re-adjusting the sheets…
62. Why are you massaging my stomach?!
63. Oh god this is awful.
64. Please stopppppppp…..
65. Far out she spent as long on my stomach as she did on my back. Crazy.
66. OUCH. OUCH. OUCH.
67. Oh my god, why do the thighs hurt so much?!
68. I need to stretch more.
69. YAY she’s doing my feet again! This is heaven!
70. Well that was short-lived.
71. Back to my arms. Again.
72. They really don’t need that much attention you know. Perhaps my shoulders, feet… ?
73. Or not. That’s cool. You do your thing.
74. How did she manage to crack every single finger? Skills!
75. Hey can’t you get arthritis by cracking your joints? Oh well, too late.
76. Oh, I’m sitting up now… ok ok, I got this.
77. Finally I get to cover my boobs back up.
78. I’m from Australia.
79. No I’m not married.
80. No, no babies either.
81. Finally, a bit more work on those knots in my shoulder!
82. Well, for a minute at least.
84. Oh, she actually left.
85. Ok I’ll just climb off this table and go have a shower over th….
86. HEART ATTACK! How much oil on my feet?!
87. Tread carefully…
88. Ok I got this, all good! Safe on solid, non-slippery ground!
89. Um, there’s no soap. How am I meant to take the oil off without soap?
90. Was that seriously sixty minutes?
91. Man now all my clothes are oily. My clothes, my hair, my body. I’m like an oily, greasy person.
92. How do I get out of here again?
93. Left, that’s right.
94. Nope. Right is right.
95. Terimah kasih! Thank you! Ya, bagus massage, thank you!
96. I feel sooooooo good!
97. Seriously this is the best I’ve felt in so long.
98. Can you get two massages in a day? Is that allowed?
99. I think I’ll come back tomorrow.
100. Seriously – best massage ever!
What do you think? Fairly close to most of your experiences?! What other thoughts have you had whilst having a massage – leave them in the comments below!