We tried many foot massages, from the teeny outfits to medium-sized parlors, fancier joints and swanky spas. They're all fine, and whether you judge them good, depends entirely on the therapist you get. I've had good service at all the massage places, so no complaints at all.
At one place, a quick 5-minute ba guan (this suction cup thingy- 拔罐) session comes complimentary after the foot rub. Yikes! I vehemently objected to it. The therapists said that when done to the soles of the feet, there would be no bruising. I still said no. Have you seen the bruises left on the back? My body reacts badly to any sort of Chinese herbs, including soups. Huge boils appear on the body when I ingest cordyceps, dang gui (angelica root- 当归), ginseng and other herbs. The boils don't go away for weeks on end, and when they do, they leave dark marks. I don't do well with either the English or Chinese type of herbal teas either. I avoid them like plague. I'm not letting any sort of herbs or odd treatment style near me, declining herbs to be used even in the soaking of the feet.
The massages aren't so much of a luxury, but more of a necessity for me. An oil massage in a dry and cold climate is much needed relief to the skin. Essential oils like the gentle ylang ylang or lemongrass intensify the moisturizing effect when rubbed into the skin . In this climate, even a dense moisturizer isn't enough. I need oils- facial oils and body oils. The BFF said that I won't survive the harsher climate in Beijing where these oils are needed even in summer.