I am baffled by the price discrepency in pricing here. In Los Angeles County you can get a massage for as little as $15 and as high as $120? What are the differences here?
For one, to get the $15 massage you need a degree in Chinese language and literature, otherwise you won’t be able to communicate. Fortunately, I got my degree in the right subject. I have been trying out different places just to see the difference in quality. It has been very interesting! The reality of Chinese massage places in Los Angeles are that the practitioners are mostly people who can’t find a “real” job in their field. The quality of the massage ranges from okay to horrible.
My best experience was today. I had foot massage with a male masseur which is rare these days. He was a former bus driver in Tien-Jing. Very nice guy. I liked the place too. It was on Valley Blvd., in San Gabriel. It was a small place where there were ten very comfortable red beds with green towels on top all in one room. I thought the people were very friendly. Actually, they were the most friendly people I have ever met in the business. Thank God I studied Chinese otherwise I would never have met these people! The practitioner was decent at massage. I don’t like how every Chinese person I have ever met wears latex gloves while doing foot massage. They do this because they are afraid of micro-bacterial infections which are hard to get rid of on the feet.
In this business, Chinese will normally charge $15-$25 per hour. How they make a living, pay rent, and pay their employees on this wage, I have no idea. Thais typically charge $40-$70 per hour with $47 being about average according to my math. Thais will use their hands, knees and feet while doing foot or body massage. They do not use gloves, and typically will use some type of lotion. The quality of the lotion can really vary. Some people have good taste and use lotions that smell heavenly, while others use very synthetic smelling lubricants for massage (not tasteful.) In my experience, the Thais as a whole lot more graceful and skilled than the Chinese at massage. I guess I studied the wrong language at school.
But, who are the really expensive people, and where are they? For years I went to an elderly Korean woman. She had decades of experience and the best skills in town. I eventually stopped going, not because of the price, but because her hours of operation were too early for me. I’m available at night, not during the day, because I work for a living. She was $100 per hour and worth it. Those who work at fancy spas and large hotels often charge $100 or more. I’m not sure if they are worth it, but they will most likely be professionally trained and speak English which is a nice perk.
The bottom line is that you are really paying for language skills and the neighborhood as much as you are paying for service. I am not encouraging you to go to a bad neighborhood to find cheaper service, as it will probably not be as good in my experience. Just keep in mind, that paying more, isn’t always worth what you are paying. There are excellent places offering service for $45. To me, that is minimum wage for professional quality service. Those with service cheaper than that either have a poor facility, substandard practitioners, or are have something else wrong