A slightly above-average achiever's guide to parenting
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Stuff I Love- Happy Feet Spa
September 2, 2014
I debated about posting about this for a long time. Because I LOVE Happy Feet Spa. And while I want to share everything that is good and wonderful with you guys, I'm a little worried that if this place becomes too popular, I won't be able to call up when Chewbacca is napping and get a walk-in appointment. But my love for all of you won out, so I'm spilling the beans.
Let's talk about Happy Feet Spa. Don't get me wrong, I love fancy spas with cucumber water, and new age music, and fluffy robes a heated bed. But sometimes, you have a knot in your back and you need some lady, who doesn't speak a ton of English, to sit you down in a chair in Chinatown, throw a towel over your clothes and work out all the tension in your back and then rub your feet for 30 minutes. And that, is what Happy Feet Spa is all about.
Let me be perfectly clear, if you are expecting any kind of actual spa experience, you will be disssapointed and totally put off. However, if you can understand that Happy Feet Spa is the "dive bar" of the massage world, then you will not be dissapointed. And, since I'm a firm believer that there is a time and a place for a good dive bar, here's what to expect if you go:
It's is located in Chinatown, in the somewhat sketchy part (is there any other part?) next to South Station. Had I not read the rave reviews on Yelp about this place before, I never would have gone. It's not marked clearly other than the red lettering on the window, so just expect that.
Once you walk in, you'll be greeted by someone who speaks a moderate level of english. I do reccomend making a reservation in advance, although sometimes they take walk-ins. But there's nothing sadder than going all the way to china town for someone to rub your feet and then being turned away. So I suggest calling in advance.
Ask for the one-hour reflexology massage. That's almost exclusively what they do. I think there's an actual room for a traditional massage where you lay down and take your clothes off, but that's not what this place is about. For the reflexology massage, you stay completely clothed, but you take off your shoes and socks. The massage takes place in a big red armchair and stool, like this one:
Yup, that's a footchart and sliced oranges next to your chair. I seriously love those oranges. Other than a soccer game when I was 7 years old, I can't think of the last time I ate sliced oranges. But they're amazing and refreshing. Don't scoff the oranges. I repeat, don't scoff the oranges.
They'll start by sitting you on the footstool (and not the chair although I make this mistake all the time), while they soak your feet in a warm water and tea bag solution. While your feet are soaking, they'll massage your back, neck, scalp and arms. The whole time your clothes will be on, but they'll place a towel over you so they don't snag your clothes. I assume this is the reason, I frankly don't really know why.
That part of the massage will last about 30 minutes and they will dig into knots in your back you didn't know you had. I sit at a desk for a lot of the day, and one time, they cracked my back and it was a symphony of joint-popping. Seriously, the guy actually said "whoa" when i happened, which was impressive because other than "one hour?" he hadn't said anything else to me the whole time.
During the first half hour, they will probably swing your arms around like windmills and hit you with open fits, just like you see in the movies. But by the time you're done, your back, neck and arms will feel great. But then, the best part is next.
You'll move to the arm chair and they'll start working on your feet. This is 30 minutes of deep reflexology/massage on your feet. It mostly feels fantastic, but sometimes they really dig out some tension that is borderline painful. But when they're done, it always feels great, so I never complain. Would you stop Michelangelo from sculpting David? I didn't think so. Don't mess with the masters.
The foot massage part feels like the best part of a pedicure, except it goes for 30 minutes. I have legitimately fallen alseep once during this part. I may have even drooled, I'm not sure. It was the best. After the foot massage, they'll use warm towels to wipe off the lotion and then let you know that the blissful treatment is sadly over. After the full 60 minutes, you should feel like a new person.
One tip on pricing: if you go in advance and pay cash, you can buy a 1 hour gift certificate for 40 dollars (the normal price is 60), and they fully encourage you to use the certificates on yourself. With a 10 dollar tip, you're blissed out for 50 dollars which is basically the same price as a good pedicure but way better. And really, does your pedicure place have this sweet decor? I didn't think so:
The gauzy curtain really adds something to the decor, don't you think?
So that's it. I'd tell you to tell them that I sent you, but frankly I don't think they would know who I am. But you should seriously all go, just please don't book your appointment when Chewbacca is napping.