They say that when you lose one sense, the others become more acute. For over 4,000 years, practitioners of Chinese Medicine have trained blind people in the art of therapeutic massage to let them put their other senses to work and earn a respectable living. If you are in Taichung, you are fortunate that you can see for yourself whether their style really is a higher standard.
Rest assured that a certified blind masseuse has more than enough training to ease out your backaches. To receive their massage skills license in Taiwan, a person must take a two to three-year program of intensive study in such subjects as physiology, anatomy, pathology, acupuncture points and how to mobilize the vertebra. Far from charity, getting a blind massage is putting your body is in a pair of highly educated hands.
Technically it is also the only legal massage you can receive here. Taiwan's constitution stipulates that each person has a right to work. Under Article 37 of the Disabled Protection Law (身心障礙者保護法) only visually impaired people are allowed to legally obtain the license to practice as massage therapists. Despite efforts to protect their turf, there are still over 100,000 sighted masseurs working in the country, versus the 2,400 blind masseurs.
There are many centers to receive blind massages scattered throughout the city. If you want to give it a trial first, head up to Taichung Park and seek out the line of massage chairs with blind practitioners offering 15 minute rub downs. When you feel your muscles need more work, you can stop into these recommended locations anytime from 10:30 am to 2 am and splurge a mere NT$600 on an hour of therapy. E Jia (04) 2223-0666 at 412 Dongsan Road near Wuquan Road.
Li An (04) 2203-3909 at 46 Huatu Street near Xitun Road.