Have you ever considered having a full body massage, but worried that your massage would turn into an unwanted sexy fiasco? Here we give you advice on how to recognize the differences between parlours offering sexual services and those that give legitimate professional massages in China.
Although not generally known as a destination for prostitution or sex tourism in the way some other South East Asian countries are – places in which prostitution and pedophiles are a high profile social problem – China is still home to a large sex industry, and a great many prostitutes. The prevalence of prostitution is hardly surprising phenomenon, especially when taking into consideration the abundance of people in China, the disparity of incomes between rich and poor, and the well known adage of prostitution being the oldest profession in the world.
In the Middle Kingdom prostitutes commonly ply their trade in KTV halls, saunas and massage parlors. In terms of massage parlours, it is at times difficult at first sight to tell which places are offering genuine services and which ones are brothels in disguise. Here are a few things to keep in mind when searching out a good venue to have a legit massage in China:
Pink Light Zone
The best way to identify a bonafide massage parlor in China is just to use your eyes. When looking for a massage, using common sense, as it generally does in life, tends to pay off. If the place looks seedy, more than likely it is seedy. The first visual clue to check is lighting. Pink lighting to make an establishment’s wares (the ladies) appear more appealing is the most obvious sign of a brothel. In the rest of the world it is red light; in China it is pink.
Colors aside, there are other visual hints that give away clues as to an establishment’s true nature. If you look though the window – this is particularly applicable to smaller local parlors – and there is a row of dejected looking girls, heavily made-up, wearing revealing dresses and fishnet stockings, grazing on a sofa in front of a TV, then more than likely what you are looking at is a house of ill repute. Dressing “sexy” is not what would immediately spring to the mind of most people when asked to consider what a professional masseur’s job description might entail. Likewise, if you are perusing adverts in the classified section of a magazine looking for outcall massage and the masseur has felt it appropriate to describe herself as “172 cm tall, curvy and sexy” you may be in for more than you expected when the call out arrives at your home. As mentioned already, common sense should prevail.
Looks Can be Deceiving
Ruling out massage parlors that don't look seedy, however, is not necessarily an 100% foolproof way of avoiding that embarrassing “massage situation”, as many more up-market looking and priced establishments have “special services” or “teshu fuwu (特殊服务)” staff. Even in classier looking places where masseurs wear uniforms with numbered badges, one may still fall foul of an attempted happy ending. Having said this, it is less likely in the aforementioned parlors than in the seamier setups around town
Should you still be uncertain of the nature of the massage parlor you're visiting, the best way to safeguard oneself against an unwanted scenario is to choose a style of massage which will less likely lead to misunderstandings. Choosing TCM-style tui na (推拿), or Thai-style massages in which the recipient remains fully clothed, or wearing the pajamas often provided, is definitely a safer option. Oil massage, on the other hand, which requires disrobing could possibly lead to uninvited contact. In this respect, foot massages are always a good bet for those seeking less bang for their buck.
Two’s Company Three’s a Crowd
Should you have followed the above steps but there is still a niggling concern in the back of your mind that your massage parlor is not legit, there is another way of avoiding unexpected services: bring a friend, preferably a female one. Unwanted attention will most certainly be deflected if you are a man arriving at a massage parlor in the company of a female friend.
Word of Mouth
If you're not sure where to find a venue for a professional massage, it's always a good idea to ask for recommendations of reputable parlours. Chinese friends and other expats will more than likely have suggestions which will help you find what you're looking for in your area.
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In Shanghai, and I presume other cities, there is something called 'Blind Man Massage'. And the signs are in both English and Chinese. The masseur is a blind person who has been trained in massage. It allows blind people to find legit work. There are other massage places, where there are tow or three massage tables in the room. A man in a white coat, and anatomical/accupressure/accupunture diagrams on the wall. The massages are clothed, and the guy in the white coat is a trained practitioner. As for foot massage. Most of the girls are untrained. Pain seems to be a pre-requisite, I think there is a belief that pain is needed for the job to be beneficial. Injuries are not uncommon.
Mar 18, 2010 18:51 Report Abuse
here in hefei , though 95% are both how ever my wife and I usually go to a female/ universal place where no only are they professional's they are licensed chinese medical doctors or have qualification a good place with a friendly environment is near huai he lu in hefei, .to avoid problems try not to go towards what i call the end zones . they attend to be called bath houses in english. if you do then, 10 rmb is enough for a decent bath then do bother asking service people about other treatments . that is an automatic suggestion on what you could say. a tease for human foreplay . i suggest yes, even though most are strictly a womans place if you have a wife they at times be more than happy to assist you in a legit /.legal and clean massage
Mar 18, 2010 20:53 Report Abuse
i am working in ningbo city, i work in human resource department, this is a spa centre, where you can enjoy real massage both for man and woman, the decorating is based in white, the massage rooms are clean and comfortable, most of our massagists are graduated from chinese medical college, with rich knowledge of traditional methods of health keepying .our name is :sanyang.if you want to reserve ,you can call me :13566021061
Mar 21, 2010 02:23 Report Abuse
QUICK ADVICE: I have found over the years from Shanghai to Beilun to Wuhan to Ningbo that many brothels always have a dimmed pink light BUT also a barber pole just like in America. This is usually a clear sign of a brothel. ...and just look inside and you will usually see girls sleeping and watching TV. Beilun has about two or three blocks of them and some of them just sit inside a room where you can view her through the glass.
Dec 04, 2010 04:44 Report Abuse
Not necesarily! In guilin there is this massage place that looks reputable: no pink light, not seedy, girls wear uniform qipao with numbers. The thing is that at the end of the massage, you get a happy ending. Price? from 80 to 300 RMB. And this is not the vip service!
Sep 30, 2011 23:00 Report Abuse
Massage spas are mostly very nice, never seedy unless you're in a secondary city. Again, price is the best indicator of what you're getting! The girls in the massage biz all come from farming villages and they choose this profession willingly. They make the same money working in a 5 star hotel vs local massage parlor. So by staying away from the over prices hotels you're doing them a favor because you can pay for more massages during your stay :)
Stay away from those massage without you changing into the house pj. Your good cloth will be ruined, and you can't get a good massage in street cloth anyway.
If you want the special, Thailand is easy, and Thai girls have amazing figures! If you're staying a few days you might as well ask one out as your gf for the trip. It works out better on your wallet and you get a local guide for free.
Apr 03, 2011 07:52 Report Abuse
Wow! This author sounds like a veteran massage customer. Perhaps the knowledge comes from experience? I want to ask the author, "if you know so much about how to avoid the prostitutes, then you must know where to find the prostitutes as well. My question is, is this an attempt to avoid prostitution or a confession of dabbling in it?
Oct 01, 2011 08:04 Report Abuse
yeah ! Jason i would like to share my experience with you . A chinese friend invited me to a meal and after having a he decided that we should go for a massage . since i was a stranger i couldn,t know which place could be better for us. He took me to a place where the ladies dressed in pink napkins. I was very surprise and a little affraid but my friend told me not to have any fear. but when i got in the massage room the lady only asked me to undress as she was also undressing. I pretended not to understand what she went and told my friend that i am not understanding . so my friend talked to me in English . So screamed and said "this is not massage and am not ready now" i told my friend. he was only laughing at me. At the end i didn,t do any massage and i didn,t do anything. my friend wasted his money
Oct 01, 2011 16:46 Report Abuse
My chinese friend told me that those seedier massage parlours are a necessary way of life here for millions of the migrant male workers who spend up to a year away from their partners in far flung cities, slaving away in factories to keep their families above subsistence. they must live the loneliest of lives. what is they call it for prisoners...'a congugal visit' ?
Oct 07, 2011 04:53 Report Abuse
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