While browsing online on possible things to do for our recent trip to Taipei, one thing piqued my interest greatly: The ancient practice of dao liao, or known in English as butcher knife massage.
For my fellow uninitiated folks, here's a video by Insider which gives a brief backgrounder on this practice: Knife Massage Dao Liao
Interesting, huh? I shared this with my friends; and guess what, absolutely NO ONE else wanted to go! (LOL) So, it was that on a humid afternoon, I would myself taking the Metro to underground Taipei City Mall, where the Taipei Ancient Art of Knife Therapy Education Centre was located.
Getting there was easy peasy. Simply get off at Taipei Main Station and follow the signs to Taipei City Mall (see that big ''Y"?). First, look for the Civic Blvd Exit:
Keep walking when you see it ("M2/M1").
Then eventually, you will see it! The "Y", diba? :D
The knife massage centre is located near Exit Y13 of Taipei City Mall, so just keep walking as it is arranged in sections by number. Contrary to what i have read online, the mall itself was clean, brightly lit and air-conditioned. Of course, it is not posh by any means. Sort of like a decent, above-average bargain center for clothes, souvenirs and the like.
Ah, here it is. Please note there is no English signage. Some sites say it is 'near' or 'beside' a blind massage place, which is true. (Funny anecdote: One of my friends misheard me, and thought that it was going to be a blind person doing the butcher knife massage! No wonder he blanched at the idea and fled. Haha!)
Price list in Chinese. I think they do have an English one for Western tourists. I took the 45 minute massage for NT880.
Here's a photo of the massage beds where one lies down (in full view of onlookers and shoppers, so prepare to be gawked at, and possibly be the unwitting star in someone's video). They do wrap you in blankets for privacy, and to protect against the knives.
Regarding the massage itself, there are a lot of extravagant claims being made (i guess this applies to all "ancient" practices) -- i.e. it helps fat loss, enhances metabolism, etc. etc. One should really take this with a spoonful of Sodium Chloride and just lie back and relax and let the butcher.....errrr, rather, the massage master do their stuff.
The knives are dull, so there is no possibility to be chopped and sliced like a pork chop (or Wagyu A5, if you think highly of yourself :D). For me, it was very relaxing (in fact, I almost fell asleep). The part when they do it on the soles of your feet was rather ticklish.
So how did i feel after? Good, actually. I felt temporary relief from some muscle pains. But no, it did not make me feel i could leap tall buildings in a single bound. :D
Is it safe? Yes! Is it worth a try? Yes! Was it worth the money? Yes!
Here's a superb article by Taipei Expat as well, for people who want to know more (and hopefully try) this unique massage.
|Taipei City Mall Exit Y13|
|Chinese Name: 台北地下街出口Y13|
|Hours: Taipei City Mall: 9:30am – 10pm
Massage Shops: 11am - 9pm
|Phone: 02 2559 4566|
|English Address: Taipei City Mall Exit Y13, Zhengzhou Road, Datong District, Taipei City, 103|
|Chinese Address: 103台北市大同區鄭州路20號 (台北地下街出口Y13)|