The famous Chinese philosopher, Chu Huiweng, had the right idea when he said, "To avoid sickness eat less; to prolong life worry less." Back when he was alive, before things like global economic meltdowns, nuclear proliferation, and staggering house prices, maybe eating less and trying not to worry was easier. But for us living in the modern age, with doomsday looming around the corner (thanks to 2012), we need something that food, nicotine, and excessive amounts of alcohol can’t cure or suppress. We need something like…a massage.
Now before I start giving instructions on where an expat may venture for a much need massage, allow me to state a simple truth—the places on this list are legitimate places of business and not somewhere you can pick up an escort for some strange sexual fantasy. My goal was to seek out and introduce some places in Wuhan that have great reputations, affordable prices, and excellent masseuses that may be able to cure your nagging back pain or release some of your stress. That’s it. If you want ‘other’ services then go to a club.
With that little nasty business out of the way, it’s time to start tracking down some nice places you can go to get a massage.
It should be noted that Wuhan people love massages, and if you do business here your associate might ask you if you want to get a foot massage. First, don’t panic. Foot massages in Wuhan are a common social practice. If you have extremely ticklish feet (like I do), however, you might agree to go but opt out for a body massage instead, because a foot massage is all about working every nook and cranny of the foot and, in some places, does tend to be rough and painful. The last time I had one, I nearly kicked someone in the face.
Seeing how the city is peppered with seemingly countless massage parlours, selecting a place can be a bit mind-boggling. Below you will find a handful of places that offer a weary traveller, an over-worked business professional, or someone just wanting to try something different, a place they can venture to for a much needed massage.
It should also be noted that just about every massage parlour in the Wuhan area offers widely similar techniques, but at different prices due to location, brand recognition, and quality of their staff. Lower prices may lead you to a place off the beaten path sure, but in an environment which might require you to get a tetanus shot. Also, typical forms of treatment you can expect to find are: Cupping (a traditional Chinese medial technique that creates a vacuum within a small glass cup to remove impurities from the body), full body massage, and foot massage. Some places, like Jia Fu Fu Qiao, offer Thai massage and the Japanese ‘walking’ technique style massages. So before you go, know what you want and then find the place that offers you exactly what you’re in the mood for.
1) Jai Fu Fu Qiao Health Club 家富富桥View In Map
This is a very interesting, upper-tier, massage location in Wuhan with several outlets to select from. It is very famous for its foot massages, which are slightly pricey. It also offers Thai and the Japanese walking massage techniques.
The night I went there with my wife and a good friend of mine, I didn’t know what a Thai massage was. I was escorted into a separate single room with a windowless door and a bed. Now my Chinese isn’t very good, so when the masseuses pointed at my pants and requested for me to take them off, I stood there frozen. I didn’t believe it. I thought it was just a simple misunderstanding until she pointed at my pants and demonstrated through body language what she wanted me to do—take them off! I refused and so she stormed off to fetch my wife from another room.
A minute later my wife came in asking, "What’s going on here? The masseuse told me you won’t do what she’s asking."
"She wants me to take off my pants," I retorted angrily.
My wife seemed to think it over briefly and then said, "Do it." She left and I took it off.
What happened next was insane. I was twisted, pulled, yanked, stepped on, rubbed, punched, kneaded, and finally released back into the world a calmer and gentler person. The massage lasted nearly an hour and fifteen minutes and worked every part of my body except for one unmentionable part. Everything felt great—my legs, head, back, arms, wrist, ankle, and even my buttocks felt new and different. The massage is fantastic, but it’s expensive. In spite of that, I think sometimes a little therapeutic mishandling is worth the money, which is why I happily paid the price.
And why did I have to take of the pants? I had to change into a pair of silk shorts and a t-shirt, both provided by the establishment, because the Thai massage is a combination of massage and yoga so you do get thrown about helpless like a rag doll.
So in the end, if you try this massage and they ask you to remove your pants, just do it.
When you visit Jia Fu Fu Qiao, you can try any sort of massage you like, but when I go, its Thai or nothing. My friend had one of the Japanese ‘walk on the back’ sort of deals the last time I was there and he said it was the most grueling, yet the most satisfying massage of his life.
It should also be noted that this place rarely offers discounts, but you could get a VIP card to save you money if you intend on going back regularly. Prices vary between 60 to 200 RMB.
Add: 265 Jichanghe, Qingnian Lu, Jianghan District, Wuhan
Tel: 027 8360 0979
Opening hours: 24 hours
2) Da Tang Mu Zu 大唐沐足View In Map
This is an extremely popular brand in Wuhan and has several key locations around the city. The interior is clean, the staff professional and patient, and you can book various types of massages ranging from the infamous foot massage to full body. They also offer some traditional style techniques such as cupping and a few even have acupuncture.
When coming here, Chinese is helpful because most of the staff doesn’t speak English beyond the usual "Hello," "How are you," and "Goodbye." But of course that’s not enough to explain what service you want, the price, or to inform the masseuse to use less pressure.
Massages here last anywhere between 60 minutes and longer depending on the type you booked and the time you go. If you come late and don’t want to go home afterwards, you can pay extra money to sleep and shower there which is why if you look at the picture the word ‘hotel’ is shown along the side of the building. During the massage you will be offered the usual free cup of tea and some fruit (watermelon or orange wedges).
Most of the Chinese people I asked while investigating for this piece recommended this place, so I suppose I will do the same. Copy and paste the name into Google and do a quick location search to find the closest one to your domicile. Then hurry over to enjoy a pleasant and relaxing evening.
Like the aforementioned place, Da Tang Mu Zu does not offer discounts. If you want to save money get the VIP card. Prices are between 50 to 200 RMB.
Add: 6 Fenghuangcheng, Beihu Xi Lu, Jianghan District, Wuhan
Tel: 027 8555 5211
Opening hours: 24 hours
3) Zhu Le Mu Zu 竹乐沐足View In Map
The last one I will mention is located in Hankou and is constantly praised for its services, affordable prices, and excellent massages. Prices are based on level of treatment you want; the basic level is only 55 RMB for a 70 minute massage. Price goes up from there, of course, but the highest is only 65 RMB. You can also get combination massage packages and those range from 100 to 120 RMB.
If you work up an appetite while enjoying the cozy atmosphere and excellent massage, you can also enjoy their buffet or order food directly to your room. Since they are connected to a famous Wuhan restaurant chain, the Green Tea, their food is delicious and, most importantly, not excessively expensive.
The last thing about this place is its location. It is located in the key shopping area of Hankou and positioned inside the World Trade Plaza. So imagine, enjoying a day shopping, visiting the famous Yangtze river, and then topping it all off with a visit to a famous massage parlour. Sounds like a fantastic day to me.
Add: 686 Jiefang Dadao, Jianghan District, Wuhan
Tel: 027 8544 9666
Opening hours: 11:00-23:00
So in conclusion, Wuhan is a great place to visit if you hunger for a massage. There are countless places to choose from and the ones mentioned above are some of the most famous ones in Wuhan. But remember, they are only the tip of the rub-down iceberg and always be careful what kind of ‘massage’ parlour you go to.
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Keywords: Massage in Wuhan Thai massage in Wuhan legitimate massage in Wuhan affordable massage in Wuhan
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Thanks a lot for the information about massage places. I have lived in Shanghai for about 2 years and will be going to Wuhan soon to teach English and I a love good clean massage which I use to have in Shanghai so now I have an idea where to go the minute I land in Wuhan.
Does anyone know if there squash courts in Wuhan? I am an avid squash player and coach and would like to play squash in Wuhan.
Nov 10, 2012 16:48 Report Abuse
There's a great, grubby little legit massage shop called Wan Da Fu in the back street opposite Hubei University. They do an amazing foot massage, pedicure, head and shoulder massage for about 25 kuai lasting for about an hour.
It's been patronised by many of the international teachers from Hu Da and elsewhere over the years, so although the staff speak little English, they're used to dealing with us.
Sadly the whole area is being redeveloped, and I guess before too long they will have to move again. I'll try and get some more information and keep you posted.
Chris, can you be a bit more specific with the location of the massage shops you mention?
Sep 28, 2011 10:35 Report Abuse
You are absolutely right about what you said about the small shops. When preparing the article, I decided to pick the more main stay ones rather than the smaller operations. In fact, there is a really good one behind my house...two beds, one man, and two handicapped workers. Some foreigners might not like such a place, because it doesn't look good, but it feels GRRRREAT! The blind massage places too are a must go, but again due to restraints, I decided to focus on the main ones. But thanks for reading!
Sep 01, 2011 17:45 Report Abuse
I am a strong connoisseur of Wuhan massage and have gone so often it is a wonder there is any flesh left on my bones. I've tried all the varieties in Wuhan, at all price levels. There is a kind of place that gives massages that are of the same quality and length of time that are also free of any intimate connotations but at 1/3rd the price. I live near Xianggong Lu and in the back, hidden behind all the cool front facing streets, are 3 shops sitting side by side, each one being only 35 to 25 RMB for 1 hour and 20 minutes. The first shop has two women who are hardcore about massage and will drill the meat of your back and spine with their elbows if they must to achieve the satisfactory level of pressure. I like this massage because I'm overweight and my core muscles are weak and this massage takes all the ache out of my lower back and spine and leaves me feeling almost giddy. The other two shops are much more mild and gentle, each having their specific expertise. So while the author of this article was good enough to suggest the most famous places, you should also be aware that you can indeed find a great great massage for only ONE THIRD the price, no change in duration. I go three times as often for the same price. My budget is fixed and not very good, so if I had to go to the expensive places, I could only go once every week. I go every other day for the same price, no difference in quality, except notably: the rooms are dirtier, smaller, and less ornate. If you don't care about your surrounding environs, and want to save money, don't forget the small shops who are also professional. Especially if you like massage as much as me.
Sep 01, 2011 09:33 Report Abuse