There’s no fancy towels, floating music or wafting oils but it’s clean and for $5 you can get one of the best massages in town and it won’t be just your body that feels good when you walk out. Your blind or partially-sighted masseur, who would battle without your patronage, will get a boost too.
It’s a win/ win situation. There’s no welfare in Vietnam but places such as Hoi An’s Blind Massage Centre, set up by blind husband and wife team, Quan and Thu, enable its sightless masseurs to make a meagre living and maintain self-respect. But let me tell you: what the masseurs may lack in sight they certainly make up for in touch.
Tri, my partially-sighted, 27-year-old masseur was sensational. He listened intently, as I described where my back pain was and then he set about fixing it. His massage was an earnest, fast and furious work-out of firm, therapeutic manipulations.
It’s rare I feel so replete during a massage and rare that I can actually feel the aches ebbing away on the table. This was close to the best massage I’ve had in Hoi An: a rib-tingling, satisfying sensation that left my body glowing with a warmth that still lingers as I write.
The Centre is on the road to Cua Dai Beach from the Old Town and set back from the street so easy to miss. Do yourselves a favor. Find it.
Note: The masseurs are blind from a variety of causes; some from diseases such as measles and others through bomb explosions. Tip them if you care to.
Revised June 2018