Ok, so I don't love everything about massages. I'm not thrilled with the $85+ an hour price tag. I would prefer it if my feet got a little more attention. I could do without the occasional therapist that wants to chat about ex-boyfriends. If only there were a cheaper massage with an incredible footrub that didn't require either nudity or chit chat!
I already gave it away in the title. Clearly, I'm going to talk about reflexology.
Let's cover what they'd* like you to believe. The basic premise behind reflexology is that ancient peoples (which ones? Maybe Chinese, maybe Egyptian) discovered that applying targeted pressure to specific zones on the extremities can unblock pathways and allow one's life-force or Qi to travel unencumbered throughout the body. Short version: rubbing your feet can cure all sorts of stuff. You can read more about the theory on Wikipedia.
|Reflexology Chart courtesy of Wikihow|
When you go, wear loose-fitting or yoga style clothing. Something you can get rubbed-down in. It will usually cost $25 - $30 for an hour of awesome relaxation, and there are often 30 and 90 minute prices as well. Similar to traditional massage, you will be in a darkened room listening to trickling water and pan flute. Reflexology, however, is done fully-clothed (both you and the therapist) and you're often in an pseudo-armchair next to somebody else.
You will typically start with your feet in a bucket of hot water, so don't worry if you've been power-walking all day in unbreathable kicks. I don't think there's any standardized technique, but your therapist will likely start with your face and scalp; if you don't want lotion in your weave, best to tell them up-front. They work your way down to your feet, flip you over and work their way back up.
The best reflexology places are in strip malls. That's because they're all in strip malls. Don't let names like "Magical Foot Spa" or "Happy Feet" deter you. They're more accurate than you think.
This is a great date, girl's outing or Mother's Day gift. I have yet to meet someone who really disliked it. Admittedly, the most recent one I took my best friend, Megan, to was a bit odd. The room looked uncomfortably like a cheap motel (complete with nightstand, alarm clock and bottle of lotion) and it involved some awkwardly aggressive stretching and slapping. I'm not entirely sure someone didn't just set up camp in an abandoned storefront. Maybe go the extra mile and check out Yelp before buying a gift card.
How do they do this so comparatively cheaply and why don't you have to disrobe? My theory (and this is JUST a theory) is that there's some way to circumvent massage licensing, as long as people stay dressed. Does this increase your risk of going to a creeper? I'm not totally sure. I've only been in Arizona, California and Idaho; and I've never had what I consider to be an illegal experience. Once again, a little research couldn't hurt.
*"They" being the marketing gods who can emotionally manipulate every gullible American on the quest for inner peace and permanent health, who is unwilling to invest time or even constructive decision making.