Taipei is overflowing with good massage spots. It’s one of my favorite things about living here. But as a full-time graduate student with limited time to investigate (and somewhat limited Chinese skills), finding the right spot is sometimes difficult. But the FunNow App solved this problem handily, giving me everything I needed to know in English, letting me schedule my appointments in advance, and even providing me a real-time map to get me to the spa on time.
Using the FunNow App, I went out for five great massage treatments over a three-week period. Here’s what I experienced at each one:
Massage One: Zhuye Spa(竹悅足體養生會館)
Located in the Songshan District, Zhuye is an easy-to- find, medium-luxury spa. They offered a standard array of massage experiences, ranging from neck and shoulder massages to a combo foot and full body massage. Upon arrival, I showed them my FunNow reservation and was quickly understood. Though the staff’s English language skills were limited, a few of the massage therapists spoke enough English to facilitate communication.
The well-lit spa had a clean, warm and welcoming ambiance. The first floor features a row of stone foot-baths facing a very pretty inset aquarium with a variety of colorful fish and crustaceans. The other half of the space had rows of foot massage stations while the upstairs was devoted to full body massage. I was given burdock root tea to drink while soaking my feet and terry cloth pajamas to wear.
My masseuse was talented, intuitive, and able to moderate her pressure and techniques to match my comfort level. After my traditional reflexology foot massage, we moved upstairs for the body massage incorporating elements of Chinese and Swedish techniques. Zhuye was clean and comfortable, and I’d absolutely go again.
Address: 1F, No. 167, Section 5, Nanjing East Road, Songshan District, Taipei City
Nearest MRT: Nanjing Sanmin Station
Product Experienced: Foot + Body massage 80 min
Massage Two: Forest Spa(森SPA足體養生會館)
Forest Spa is located on the third floor of a nondescript building, making it feel like something of a hidden surprise. After taking a small elevator I walked into a large lobby decorated in wood motif with several large pieces of art on display including driftwood and metal shaped in the form of leaves. Ambient music created a super relaxing atmosphere.
Upon check-in, I was given flower tea to drink and presented with several oils for my massage. All were lovely; I chose the lavender, as it seemed to fit in with the relaxing vibe. Staff were very friendly, and the receptionist spoke excellent English. While my masseuse’s English was a bit more limited, it was more than sufficient for the task at hand. The private massage room was tastefully decorated with warm lighting. I received a 90-minute full body massage, the masseuse using the lavender oil I’d chosen on my back, arms, hands, neck, legs, and feet.
Near the end of my session, the masseuse took smooth, hot rocks and rolled them down my back and arms before placing them strategically on my back. Removing the rocks, she wrapped hot, wet towels around my arms and legs and laid another towel on my back, covering me for several minutes. Afterward, I was led to a common room and given tea and a tray of snacks. The hot tea was intended for eye health while the cool dessert soup was good for the skin. A small bowl of fruit was included. Having received one of the best massages I’d had in a long time, I left totally relaxed.
Address: 3rd Floor, No. 263, Linsen North Road, Zhongshan District, Taipei
Nearest MRT: Zhongshan Temple
Product Experienced: Hot Stone Rolling + Top Oil Massage 90 min
Massage Three: Zen Yin Chia Massage(臻螢佳)
A short walk from the MRT station, Zen Yin Chia Spa was particularly easy to find thanks to the large cartoon foot mascots displayed outside. The space is a long rectangle with a line of foot massage chairs up front. Further back is a dressing room, bathroom and more secluded rooms for body massage. Much of the spa is decorated with different versions of the whimsical cartoon feet.
The spa staff was friendly and their English sufficient. Upon check-in, I was handed a reflexology map with English translations before being seated in a reclining chair with a comfortable neck pillow and soft blanket. After being given my choice of beverage, I was brought over to the foot soaking station, where I was given a quick but thorough shoulder and neck massage as my feet soaked. Afterward, both feet were massaged for thirty minutes each, during which time the reflexology map proved particularly useful as I was able to refer to it when the masseuse worked on areas that I found particularly tender.
Massage style was typical reflexology, focusing first on the bottom, sides, and tops of the feet before moving on to the calves and knees. My masseuse regularly checked in verbally during the session to make sure the pressure was acceptable. At one point, she noted that the reflexology points for my eyes were particularly tender; after the massage she presented me with an eye mask to take home. I found this a particularly nice touch!
Address: No. 22, Lane 135, Section 1, Zhongshan N Rd, Zhongshan District, Taipei City
Nearest MRT: Zhongshan Temple
Product Experienced: 70 minute Foot Massage
Spa Experience Four: Lantingfu(蘭庭府)
Lantingfu was a tastefully decorated spa with a friendly staff boasting good English language skills. Checking in, I was offered tea and a warm towel to wipe off my face and hands. While drinking my tea, the receptionist presented me with several oils to choose for my massage. The downstairs was devoted to foot massages. Upstairs had deeper square pools for foot baths that allowed me to soak up to my calves. My treatment began with a 15-minute soak in the lemongrass-scented waters of this deep pool
Following this, a full-body essential oil massage with jasmine oil, including a ten-minute scalp treatment. My masseuse was named Purple and her massage technique was excellent. She even popped my back several times which relieved a lot of school-related tension.
During the massage, I was asked to pick an area for extra attention. As I tend to hold a lot of stress in my neck and shoulders, I chose these areas. After the massage I was taken to the lounge area to enjoy a light snack of fresh fruit with tea. Light bamboo music played throughout the spa which added to the relaxing ambiance. I left on cloud nine, the delightful scent of jasmine oil lingered on my skin for the rest of the day.
Address: No. 6, Lane 30, Lequner Road, Zhongshan District, Taipei City
Nearest MRT: Jianan Rd. Station
Product Experienced: Essential Oil Treatment 105 min
Spa Experience Five: Spring and Autumn (指舞春秋)
Spring and Autumn’s Anhe branch is located on a stretch of road in the Da’an district filled with a number of medium to high-end spas. This particular spa is set up inside of two buildings a few doors down from one another, with the second shop being used during peak hours. Though clean and comfortable, Spring and Autumn has a more no-nonsense health spa vibe, with little of the usual new age decor (salt lamps, scented candles, etc.) found at some other places of similar price level. The spa is decorated with a purple forest motif. The front of the spa is devoted to foot soaking spas with the massage cubicles located further back behind the curtain.
I got to the Spring and Autumn Massage just after lunch on a Monday afternoon and was greeted in unison by the staff. Though mid-day, the place seemed to be fairly popular, and after checking in at the front desk I was brought down the block to the overflow location. After taking off my shoes, I changed into massage pajamas and lay on the table, where I was covered by a thicker than usual blanket. My 60-minute full body back massage was performed without oil and very little skin-to-skin contact. My masseuse was well trained in standard reflexology and intermuscular kneading. English ability of the staff is limited to massage prices and basic massage-related English (softer, harder, etc.).
The massage itself was fine, nothing out of this world but a perfectly serviceable Chinese style massage focused on relieving muscular tension. Spring and Autumn offers an acceptable service for the price range.
Address: No. 37, Section 2, Anhe Rd, Da’an District, Taipei City
Nearest MRT: Xinyi Anhe
Product Experienced: 60 Minute Body Massage