On breezy Sunday afternoons, the ultimate pastime is Chinese foot washing. After face-timing with K, doing the dishes, and helping my Grannie clean the house, I decided to take my aunt’s VIP card and go for my own pampering session.
Chinese foot washing is a structured multi-step experience, although it may vary depending on the salon. At He Shun Tang, therapists are first selected by their numbers. The room is prepared, and hot tea with fresh fruit and small snacks are placed on the counter next to the massage chair.
There is a wide selection of different “baths’ to choose from, ranging from the popular Chinese Herbal Foot Soak, Rose Petal, to Honey Milk. I opted for the traditional Chinese Herbal Foot Soak, and my masseuse #19 (no names are allowed) immediately fetched a steaming basin of just-a-bit-too-hot Herbal Foot Soak goodness. After a few winces, my feet adjusted to the temperature and were comfortably submerged. I sipped some tea, flipped through a few channels, and got ready for the ultimate relaxation session.
“Foot Washing” is a misleading term, as the 90 minute session pampers almost the entire body. The standard procedure is to start by loosening the neck and shoulders. Pressure is exerted on certain pressure points, and tension from sore muscles is slowly relieved. After the feet have been soaked in the ‘bath’ for 20 minutes, they are towel-dried. The masseuse will then move on to the main focus of the session: the soles of the feet. The Chinese foot massage is based on reflexology, and the theory asserts that human beings have many reflexes on the soles of their feet that relate to every organ and system in the body. These reflexes are energy centers that need to be stimulated with the appropriate amount of pressure. Additionally, the philosophical concept of “chi”, or energy of life, correlates deeply with the Chinese foot massage. The very essence of this increasingly popular technique is the promotion of “chi” flow through effective massaging of pressure points on the feet.
My masseuse was extremely experienced and applied the perfect amount of pressure on my feet. After a relaxing foot massage with fragrant oil lotion, she returned with steaming hot towels to wrap my feet. Then she brought out long wooden massage sticks to stimulate blood circulation on my legs.
The last part of the session was a Chinese-style back massage. The sofa bed was adjusted accordingly, and I was told to lie flat on my tummy. Ahhh…20 minutes of much-needed back relaxation. It definitely hit the spot. Masseuse #19 ended her service with a fresh bowl of green bean soup.
5 minutes later, Therapist #11 showed up to give me a Chinese pedicure. He wore a peculiar lamp on his forehead to illuminate my toes. Again, a very interesting experience.
I emerged out of He Shun Tang feeling relaxed, thoroughly pampered and happy with the world.