The uniform at Gao's Foot Massage seems to be either
- a purple polo shirt of your choosing (shade unimportant) or
- whatever you like.
The informality adds to the atmosphere and it feels more genuine than seeing everyone in white coats/black tunics. I'm never impressed by people passing themselves off as lab technicians, anyway (take note, Kiehl's: the clothes do not always maketh the man).
I plumped for a 65 minute treatment, having previously looked on their website and told myself I'd go for the 50 minute one (YOLO). It's actually a foot and leg massage, coupled with mini neck and shoulder massage, so I decided there was no need to rush these things for the sake of around HK$60 (few quid/dollars). The reception lady summoned an English-speaking masseur and we were off.
I dunked my feet in an uber-glamorous plastic-bag-lined bucket of lukewarm water whilst I received the neck and shoulder massage. My head was full of thoughts at this point: I was almost waiting for the masseur to comment on how tight that area is (everyone else does) but perhaps here they understand such comments are neither new nor helpful. I was glad not to have to give the boring but truthful response of "I'm often told that" or the less boring but untruthful response of "Well, I am the CEO of a multi-billion dollar corporation: I've got a lot on my shoulders, ho ho!".
I digress. A soft, warm horseshoe thing was put round my neck. I settled into a leather armchair and cushions aplenty and I closed my eyes. The massage is clothed but the room is air conditioned, so the kind man fetched a big towel and put it over me to keep me warm. I started to adjust my ponytail so that I was more comfortable and he immediately fetched me another horseshoe-shaped padded thing and put it behind my head. Problem solved.
An hour or so later...
This was my first massage in Hong Kong and the masseur said that he could tell! I did pull each foot back at the same point: when the mid-sole was being, er, assaulted. I also kept tensing my leg, which probably didn't help me to relax into it. To be fair, however, nowhere is it billed as relaxing. And I didn't go to relax: I went to sort out my calves and feet, which were way below par after weeks of travelling and walking. Both calves hurt when walking and my feet felt weird. As though they were swollen, but they weren't. I was conscious of how different they seemed to feel even when resting. You know, they just felt as though they needed attention; I don't have to justify having a foot massage.
Reasonably-priced, polite staff, nice environment, la la la. Never mind all that, what about my feet?
Never underestimate the importance of your feet and legs (if you are fortunate enough to have them). They do so much for you (when they work properly) and can alter your mood and, in my case, entire perception of the day. Friday suddenly became "Love The World Day".
I continued to walk and walk, stopping only at a tea room with a view of Hong Kong River (note to self: insert actual name of overlooked water before publishing; it was almost certainly not a river) to have a cup of Darjeeling (as they were out of Ceylon). Then I walked some more and soon it was home time and I had had my best day in Hong Kong so far (on day six). And that's no mean feet.
Useful info in case you fancy it yourself...
Gao's Foot Massage Lan Kwai Fong Branch (there is another) Room 15/F, Century Square, 1-13 D'Aguilar Street, Central, Hong Kong
Location is very close to Central Station.
My massage cost HK$258 for 65 minutes. I tipped my masseur HK$40.