Foot (and Back) Heaven in New York’s Chinatown
From Joe’s Shanghai (see yesterday’s blog to read about my soup dumpling adventure in NYC), I walked across the street to Foot Heaven for a massage.
Earlier in the week, I sent out an email asking friends to recommend a cheap massage place, preferably in Chinatown, and Jillian recommended this spot. I made an appointment (although they take walk-ins as well) for an hour long acupressure back rub ($45).
For those accustomed to high-end massage experiences, Foot Heaven could be an unpleasant surprise. The atmosphere, while calm, is not stylish or particularly antiseptic, and each massage area is separated by thin walls and curtains. My masseuse was impatient to have me change out of my clothes and get started and I wasn’t sure how to lie on the table. When she entered, I was standing there, completely in the buff, and she directed me to lie face down on the massage table, with my face in the table’s hole surrounded by clean washcloths.
The massage itself was very intense, with deep kneading with hands, knuckles, and elbows into tense spots throughout my back ans shoulders. There were more than a few times that I focused carefully on breathing deeply to avoid whimpering out loud from the discomfort, hoping that the intense pressure would release some of my knots.
When the hour was over — and I knew when it was over because the masseuse set an egg timer that went off loudly — I asked her if she had time for a 15 minute foot reflexology massage. The prices were listed in the room as I was changing back into my clothes and I couldn’t resist the offer for an additional 15 minutes for $10.
The foot reflexology is done in the front room of Foot Heaven and it was similar to the massage in that it was both painful and relaxing at the same time. The masseuse seemed to intuit where I needed the most pressure and focus in on those areas. After paying, I happily floated my way through Chinatown to the subway and home.Tags: massage, New York, wellness