In the last six months we've discovered some mysteries in the San Gabriel Valley/Monterey Park areas of Los Angeles. If you drive around you will find "Foot Massage" spas popping up on almost every other block. Something like the "Nail/Manicure salon" phenomenon. The little quiet store fronts usually have the prices posted and maybe some kind of signage or a sign that is flashing "OPEN". My sister-in-law first told us about her experiences and said they were good massages and cheap. "Cheap? How Cheap?", we asked. Well, most are $15.00-$20.00 (not including tip) for one hour. This is what happens. You walk in they seat you in a comfortable lounge chair. There are maybe two or three rows of three or more lounge chairs per row. The ambiance can vary but it's normally lit dimly. You are seated fully clothed but you'll need to roll up your pant legs above your knees. They bring you a small wooden bucket filled with warm water to soak your feet. Some places bring you water or hot tea. In the next hour you will not only get your feet and legs massaged but you will get your shoulders, arms, back, neck, head massaged as well. You can determine how intense your massage is. For instance, my sister really likes a deep tissue "hard" massage. I'm the opposite. I only want a gentle, put me to sleep, "don't hurt me at all" relaxing massage. They will abide by your wishes, though I think some of the attendants may not speak english very well. Someone there usually can translate. I've only had two very different experiences. The first one was really odd though the massage was great. This is what happened. My sister and my two cousins and I walked in. I had called to make the appts. ahead of time though you can just walk in as well. We were all seated in the same room but a t.v. was on. This was the middle of the morning and the program was "Jerry Springer". We four were the only customers. At one point this program was driving us all crazy. My sister was sitting next to me and whispered, "Something is very wrong with this picture...Jerry Springer and a massage just doesn't work for me!" We felt like laughing out loud. Finally one of us asked to have the tv turned off. "No Problem" ...aah much better.
The second experience took place last week in the San Gabriel valley/Alhambra area. My sister had invited our friend that lives in the San Fernando Valley to join her for Dim Sum lunch and then the foot spa massage. Our friend also brought her daughter and I joined in as well. The atmosphere was much nicer at this place. Soft music was playing and twinkling holiday lights softly lit up the room. I must admit this is much different from our spa days at Burke Williams so if you are expecting that kind of ambiance you will not find it. But if you want a pretty good massage you can't beat the price and it's kinda fun to do this with a group of friends for a girl's day out. I'd suggest doing a peek through the door at the many foot spas in the area and find one that appeals to you. If you're out exploring these possibilities you will also have a great chance to sample some interesting ethnic food. These neighborhoods (try Valley blvd. or Main street/turns into Las Tunas Ave. in the cities of Alhambra to San Gabriel ) are full of Chinese noodle houses, Vietnamese and Thai restaurants and many other interesting looking places. It's really a nice adventure. Our friend from the valley loved it and said she was coming back and bringing her husband so guys you can consider this too.