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Sometimes it’s nice to wait to try something until you are in the right place.  (Okay the truth is that I did try to have reflexology in the UK once but I got turned away because my feet were so bad.)  (Scroll down for the low down on reflexology in London.)


Anyway, I’d read a lot about reflexology

and was very keen to try it, despite a lot of reports that it can be quite painful in Hong Kong and China.  Well I am delighted to tell you that all of the reflexology treatments that I had in Hong Kong and China were fantastic.  The only time I had any pain in Hong Kong and Shanghai were when the masseurs touched on my go-kart injuries, and as soon as I made an “ouch” face they were very careful on the other leg too, which meant that I fell asleep in both.  The lady in Yangshuo who gave me a wonderful reflexology treatment under the banana tree, was even better, she just touched the go-kart injuries, said “tong” and moved swiftly on.  I didn’t even have to tell her that there was a problem.  Sadly my reflexology session in Tunxi (near Huangshan) was very painful, but it really wasn’t the masseur’s fault.  After getting lost on the mountain I could barely walk.  Although my feet were fine, my shins and thighs were a mess.  He spent most of his time on the tight areas - this was reflexology as physical therapy and I’m really not sure if I could have managed the flight to Beijing without his help.


But I’ve gone a little bit too fast and I’m so sorry.  Just to backtrack, reflexology or Chinese foot massage is based on the belief that all of the areas of the foot relate to a specific area of the body or mind.  The Chinese, in particular believe that by massaging the relevant area on the foot they can alleviate problems in the body.  I have to tell you, I am sold.


In China a reflexology session starts

with a head and shoulder massage, which means that sometimes the therapist will ask you to sit on the foot stool facing the chair (no they haven’t got it wrong - as I thought in Hong Kong.)  I found the head and shoulder massage a bit rough, but they are focusing once again on acupressure points, and they all seemed to know what they were doing.  Often this will be at the same time as soaking your feet in a big bucket of hot water.


Once you turn around and relax in the big soft chair (or a bamboo rocking chair in Yangshuo) they’ll go to work on your feet, focusing on each toe in turn, and working up your leg, sometimes, as in Tunxi (near Huangshan) even going as far up as your thighs.


This treatment is great for jet lag,

stomach problems, muscle aches and pains and just travel stress in general.


Finding a good foot massage place in London was a little trickier...


...after a great physio session I decided to try some London reflexology, which was quite different to what I experienced in China.  This was more like reflexology as a medical treatment.  I went to Herbal Inn in Wimbledon where the similarities were the dunking of feet in a hot herbal bath (very nice), and a good foot rub, but there was no relaxing shoulder massage, no working of the ankles or calves and a post reflexology diagnosis of various health problems.  My “consultation” also included taking my pulse and checking my tongue, and the recommendation of some tablets and teas, which may all have been very appropriate, but just not what I was expecting or looking for on this particular day.


But it only took a few more months and literally a few minutes walk down the road to find a great reflexology treatment at Green Touch in Wimbledon, which although it's a Thai spa gave me an experience that was much closer to my Chinese bliss than the Chinese herbal shop up the road.



FOOT reflexology in Hong Kong sign
The street sign for Foot, Hong Kong, a great place to have your first reflexology session


As at November 2012

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