Fujian province has many geothermal hot springs and consequently many spas. Although residents don’t enjoy swimming at the beach, they do enjoy going to the spa for a hot soak, especially in the winter. Massages are also popular and are considered a good way to maintain a healthy body. There are commercial spas that offer a wide variety of massage techniques and there are traditional Chinese medicine establishments that offer Chinese massage treatments as one option for medical treatment.
Our last morning in Xiamen was unscheduled, and Xu, our host, proposed going together for a massage. There was much discussion about where to go and what kind of massage have but it turned out that the Chinese medical clinic was the most convenient option on a Sunday morning so we agreed to give it a try in the spirit of having a cultural experience. Angela was delighted, as she goes for a Chinese massage each month in Portland. Pat was happy to have some kinks worked out of her back after hauling heavy luggage around for several weeks and Lori was willing to give it a go. We shared a room with 3 massage tables, 3 technicians clad in white nurses uniforms, a cup of tea beforehand, and then the experience of having intense pressure applied from head to toe and occasional moans and groans when one of us reached our pain limit and had to beg for mercy. Now we know what it feels like when a Chinese doctor works on opening a blocked channel in the body. It hurts! Final verdict on repeating the experience: Angela – yes! Pat – maybe… Lori – no thanks!