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beauty & style

Massages for Aching Wallets

According to Chinese medicine, if you take care of your feet, they'll take care of you. And a good, firm massage qualifies as some of the best payback. In most major cities, Chinatown is the place to find massages where footing the bill is painless.

Skin Care Adventure
Your feet are scrubbed clean with hot towels and then kneaded in a bare-bones, but pleasant, three-bed treatment room. 36 Essex St., 617/338-9222, $55 for one hour

Mercy Acupuncture Center
Two traditional Chinese-medicine doctors founded this center. In keeping with holistic philosophy, foot therapies are designed to alleviate pain and dysfunction throughout the body. 208 W. Cermak Rd., 312/225-4822, $60 for one hour

Fishion Herb Center
What the often crowded herb center lacks in ambience, its practitioners make up for with their skill. No-frills shiatsu massage and reflexology, a treatment in which practitioners focus solely on pressure points, take place in small private rooms. 107 Mott St., 212/966-8771, $35 for one hour

Feel Better Reflexology Center
Three rooms are dedicated to reflexology. And if you sign up for a full-body hour-long Swedish massage ($80), a hot-stone foot massage is tacked on at the end. 601 N. 2nd St., 215/928-8828, $75 for one hour

Foot Reflexology Center
Recliners line the walls in what resembles the waiting room in a doctor's office. Practitioners ask what ails you (indigestion, headache, etc.), and then cater their treatment to tackling the problem--starting with a soothing herb-infused footbath. 662 Jackson St., 415/989-2268, $45 for one hour

Silk Road
Therapists begin by wrapping green tea--infused towels around the feet to kick-start muscle relaxation. They also use a signature line of essential oil blends, such as Tonic, with peppermint and lavender, which is designed to increase circulation and overall energy. 1624 Government St., 250/704-2688, $56 for one hour

Note: This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.



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