Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Jan 07 2008


“I got beat up a couple of nights ago,” I told The Taipei Kid at JB’s last Friday night during Jacques and Olwen’s farewell party, sh0wing him a large bruise on my neck.

He looked shocked. “Really?”

“No, it was just a really mean massage,” I said. You see, my hosts at the New Year’s Eve party, Bret and Alan, both insisted that their masseuse was wonderful, describing how great they felt afterwards, though the techniques used were forceful, to say the least.

“He’ll break you in half,” Bret said. Still, that oft-fatal mixture of curiosity and stupidity that has gotten me into trouble so many times before caused me to ask for a name card with the place’s address, and when cold weather nixed plans for tai-qi practice on Wednesday night, I decided to take the MRT up to Shilin and give it a go.

The massage place is located in an alley off of Meilun Street, a few minutes’ walk from the Shilin MRT station. I knocked and entered, then was told to exit and take off my shoes and enter again. Inside was a nicely decorated lobby. I gave my name and references, and was told to soak my feet in a pot of medicine for a few minutes before the masseuse, a short, stocky middle-aged man named Blue, was ready. Apparently Blue was busy eating dinner, and he invited me to share the hotpot they had bubbling in the back of the house before we began.

Then, the massage. Now, I’ve had some massages before, and some were fairly uncomfortable. I’d told Blue to go easy on me, as well as about my old knee injury, but I swear, if that was “going easy,” then I wouldn’t wish the full treatment on anyone unless I really, really didn’t care for them.

It was excruciating. “Wow, you sure can yell pretty loudly,” Blue observed at one point. He pressed and pulled and twisted, sometimes getting an assistant to hold my feet while he wrapped a towel under my neck to stretch me out, medieval-style. He counted to three and then did his best to yank my arms out of their sockets, so hard my hands felt pins and needles, beat my calves mercilessly. Every time he said, “Take a breath, now breathe out…” I knew I was in for some serious pain. Blue said he was putting my spine back in alignment, bringing out a little toy spine to illustrate which bones he was forcing back into position. I wondered if his kids played with it in between sessions.

After a period of time, possibly half an hour, he was done and left me lying listlessly on the massage table. I hurt all over. After a while I got up, had a bite of hotpot though I’d lost my appetite completely. Out in the lobby, the assistant was busy picking a splinter of something out of Blue’s hand, digging around with tweezers under a magnifying glass. I wondered how he’d managed to give me a massage with a splinter in his hand, but then it occurred to me that perhaps that was one reason he was so forceful. Another possibly reason was that he thought a big hairy foreigner could take it. I have to admit, once you’ve started a massage it’s hard to quit halfway through. After all, you agreed to it.

I sat for a while, watching Blue work on another customer’s feet. The customer said that the more he did it, the more comfortable the massages became. But I felt like I’d been severely beaten, and just wanted to go home. “You’ll sleep well tonight,” Blue said as I left.

He was right about that; I did sleep well. Except when the pain woke me up. Over the next few days my arms and legs pulsed with a deep, annoying hurt that wouldn’t go away. My friends and co-workers were duly impressed with the large black bruise on the back of my neck (which is still there, almost a week later). Finding that I’m a little too hairy to use those salonpas-brand sticky patches, I used muscle-ache creams to help relieve the pain. when I called Blue to ask about it, he said the pain would only last 2-3 days. Bret said that maybe the pain was a sign that I needed the massage, that it meant I was helped more by it. The discomfort was pretty much gone by today. My hands have stopped tingling, for the most part.

I doubt I’ll be going back there any time soon. I might try going to another masseuse at some point, though, as I still like a good massage, but I’d also like to avoid Pain World as much as possible. Hopefully that’s not too much to ask.

posted by Poagao at 11:55 am  


  1. […] Here’s another interesting post I read today by Poagao’s Journal […]

    Pingback by Bones » Blog Archive » Pain World — January 7, 2008 @ 12:37 pm

  2. “Wow, you can yell pretty loudly” lol … this guy did have some wicked sense of humor man. Too hilarious. Please send me his contact details, I have some “friends” whom I can refer his massage lol. Hope your OK now. Take care.

    Comment by Ashish — January 7, 2008 @ 1:57 pm

  3. Thanks, Ashish, I’ll send you the details. Maybe after your hike you could use a massage, eh?

    Comment by Poagao — January 7, 2008 @ 2:15 pm

  4. Whenever I visit Taiwan my in-laws insist I get a massage by someone they recommend. Last visit involved an “Auntie” who first pounded me whilst using some form of liniment that she had to wear gloves to rub on and then dumped me in a sweatbox. After about ten minutes of roasting I was done. I seriously felt I had third degree burns and needed cold wet towels to cool me down. Now you would think I wouldn’t go back but no went back five times more and yes it got less painful each time can’t say I enjoyed it though.

    Comment by Garry — January 8, 2008 @ 1:47 am

  5. wuss.

    Comment by prince roy — January 8, 2008 @ 7:04 am

  6. No wonder you haven’t been taking photos old man!

    Comment by hadi — January 8, 2008 @ 7:38 pm

  7. […] Paogao entered Painworld via a guy called “Blue.” Don’t ask, just read it. […]

    Pingback by TheNHBushman.com | Bushman’s Picks, January 13, 2008 — January 12, 2008 @ 6:13 am

  8. My wife’s cousin went to a chiropractor/masseuse in Taizhong and left in an ambulance. The masseuse/chiropractor twisted his neck at an angle that triggered a stroke. Poor guy’s only early 30’s.

    Comment by owshawng — January 12, 2008 @ 7:11 am

  9. the Chinese Chiropractor that we have in our village is really good in treating my sprained ankles.””*

    Comment by Carter Ward — May 19, 2010 @ 2:25 pm

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