Can You Put A Non-Licensed Sports Logo On A T-Shirt Pros and Cons of The "Asian Foot-Massage" Businesses

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Pros and Cons of The "Asian Foot-Massage" Businesses

Almost every week it seems a new Asian foot massage business opens in town. I’m amazed at how these people can connect to start a fully staffed business in no time. There is no shortage or bad economy for them. Every time I see an ad for a grand opening of one of these, I wonder how I missed that connection or why more cultures don’t connect in the same way to build for each other. I wondered if there was no competition, weakness, fear and deceit in these cultures; ie energies that have been retained by many other ethnic groups, including my own. They seem to appreciate that one person can have a dream business, but it takes more than one person to pull it all together. I appreciate that too…and give Asians a lot of credit for this essential trait.

So I was curious about this “foot massage business” and since I can’t always afford to go get a massage myself, it seemed like an economical option. After all, the Asian community is at the forefront of reflexology and Eastern therapeutic treatments, so there is much to benefit from receiving sessions from them; even if it’s just a “learning experience”. It should be noted here that many of these companies have a history or appear to have ties to the porn industry. There are all kinds of stories about police arrests among other sting operations across the state/country. Some are not “shy” about promoting their services and their ads can be found in local cheap and/or free magazines and newspapers. I actually know people, men and women (but especially men) who have patronized and received their “lucky tugs”. This enjoyment is for or against depending on who you are and what you are looking for in a massage. As a therapist, one has to decide whether or not they want their profession to align with this for money, and/or whether they will honor their skills and keep their profession honorable.

Every few weeks I notice coupons in one of those coupon magazines that come with your junk mail, advertising a 60-minute foot massage for $19.99. I thought wow…that’s cheap… I wonder what they do for 60 minutes…. The ad said they added a shoulder/back, head and hand massage with foot reflexology and there was an option to get a full body massage body for $35.00 using special vegetable oils. So I called and told them I wanted to check them out, but I didn’t make an appointment. I walked by shortly after and peeked through the glass door. It was so dark that I could only see my reflection. I opened the door and looked around, but maybe it was too bright outside for my eyes to quickly adjust to the darkness inside. After a few moments a man came up to ask me if he could help me. I looked around, said no thanks and left. All those images of “happy looking” men leaving that place next to the spa I used to work for in Studio City flooded my mind and I felt dirty for walking in…but eventually I would overcome this feeling by forming my own opinion. What are the pros and cons of patronizing a place like this?

My experience has shown the following combined pros and cons (not in any order of priority/importance):

1. It’s weird going in or out of these facilities, especially if you’re a therapist.

2. Hardly anyone speaks English there. This means that your therapist will not be talking to you the whole time.

3. Usually you don’t want anyone to know you’re there so turn off your phone.

4. It’s cheap! Well worth the $15-$20! $35 for a full body massage!…but you get what you pay for.

5. These places are usually convenient…close to where you work, for example, so there’s no need to park your car in front. Simply leave it at work or at the store across the street.

6. The staff is usually very attractive, like the people at your nail salons.

7. It is quite dark inside so you may not recognize others or be recognized.

8. You can give a fake name and wear a mask.

9. You don’t take off your clothes unless you go to that “back room” for a “full body” massage.

10. The overall environment embodies the culture of the staff.

11. Certificates and licenses are displayed in the “lobby”.

12. You are served promptly, usually, and they finish right on time.

13. Tipping is mandatory! The therapist waits expectantly while you pay or collect your belongings.

14. General reflexology takes place in a large room where other users are doing the same thing right next to you.

15. Most of the highlighted “Certificates” are copies of certificates and are not always certified by a CA (and it is not known if they are real).

16. From a therapist’s point of view, the staff do not appear to have over 250 hours of training in anything other than Shiatsu/Reflexology.

17. The staff consists of men and women.

18. Be prepared for a staff member who has just come from a cigarette break.

19. You have no choice of companion unless you have booked and requested someone by name.

20. Most of the visitors to these places seem to be white and/or non-black.

21. I think a “foot soak” is just a pan of plain hot water, nothing else.

22. Everyone seems very tired and a little frustrated with their work.

23. If you are an athletic woman (muscular), expect them to be extremely rude/rude (change your companion without notice and speak their language with “disdainful gestures”) and don’t complain… they won’t. I don’t understand you and I will continue. (My Asian colleagues have often asked me why I think I have to be so “muscular and unfeminine”… Culturally, they believe that women should be “slim but soft” to attract and retain men. Others say ‘ Qi in muscular it’s too strong for a woman. That might be why the female attendants seem to refuse” and let the male attendants massage me. These men acted like I was a freak and didn’t treat me like a lady. I believe it’s because I don’t look that “soft ” as they thought women should be.)

24. I’ve seen men get service with their shirts off, but ladies shouldn’t try this!

25. Ladies should not go in a sports bra or just a tank top, hoping to get more back and shoulders. They will simply put a towel on you and continue with their “robot routine”.

26. Don’t ask them not to touch your face. They don’t understand you (unless you specify a person in customer service who could translate if they understand).

27. Ladies should wear comfortable yoga-like clothes. No jeans, shorts, dresses or skirts. One would think that shorts would be ok, but I tried it on and no…don’t…!!

28. Part of their routine is to “stretch” your legs, which from the therapist’s point of view is a Shiatsu-like stretch, a la yoga “twisting the spine.” Jeans are too tight and inflexible for this stretch, and shorts can become like ropes that choke your groin and treats, especially if you get a “very eager” male companion. Mine seemed to be looking for a certain reaction or to show its power. I felt like he was pleased to have “won” me…a muscular, unfeminine woman…(but I knew he wouldn’t understand my language if I complained so I didn’t…)

29. There seems to be no break between clients so the staff are really very tired.

30. These companies are sometimes open from 10:00 to 22:30, but can be found later.

I have decided, based on my own observations and experiences, that I will no longer patronize these establishments. My first objection is that we don’t speak the same language. When I say “that hurts”; “please don’t touch my head or face”; or “I don’t want to be pulled like that”, these instructions/requests are received with a smile and a nervous nod and just continue with their routine, or until someone comes to translate, which may be too late and/or cause a scene in this large room service provider.

In my opinion, these are not legitimate massage therapists and give credit to those who believe that “anyone” can massage or do reflexology. They are in line with other chain spas and franchises that are simply in the “money-making business” rather than the “people-health-then-money” business.

Legitimate body workers, like myself, are genuinely concerned about the health and well-being of their patrons and people in general. We don’t “judge” you, which in my experience, I believe these places have judged me.

When an individual goes for a massage at any establishment, he should not wonder if he is fat, thin, muscular, black, short, tall, ugly, beautiful or what not. Yes, in my particular line of work, clients will ask about their health and what I discover while working on them. Some will ask for suggestions on how to deal with a health problem. Sometimes I know and sometimes I don’t. Others complain about trying to lose weight or gain weight, or low energy, or post-workout soreness, etc. and yes, I have experience in nutrition and wellness as well as weight management/personal training and have no problem making recommendations that can know the business . However, this is mostly not the reason for coming.

Although I make recommendations on how to eat in the days following your massage session with me, this is only to nourish the organs affected by your session and to prolong your therapeutic results. The ultimate goal is for your health to improve, and that will be with your consistency in coming to treatment and adhering to recommendations. A client told me yesterday that she is considering my opinions/treatments right there with her team of doctors. It was a sweet compliment and I believe her. She has seen results and experienced “my power” as she calls it and it feels great to have attracted someone so open and available for healing.

We mostly go for massages because we believe they are good for us and our health. They feel good and we want to feel good. The economy is certainly a concern, but we understand that we get what we pay for. People who patronize foot massage businesses and chain spas are usually making an economic decision, not necessarily a health decision. I would like to be sure that my therapist has been trained in a US accredited school and is licensed and certified by the state or county in which I am receiving service. I would also like to know that the establishment is honest with the rules of operation and is in no way connected with the porn industry. Finally, I would like to know that there is no prejudice; that everyone speaks the language I speak; that my money is worth as much as any other patron, and that my spirit and my body will be honored in the professional rendering of contracted services and for the improvement of my health and vitality.

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