Removing my feet from the footbath of tea water, I raise my legs onto the footstool and sink into the padded faux-leather chair. With a dollop of lotion, the reflexologist begins rubbing my leg with her glove-covered hands. Across from me is a man in his mid-20s tapping away at his smartphone, and a heavyset woman with eyes closed and chair in full recline. I close my eyes too as fists small but furious begin to thwack, thwack, thwack the outside of my calves. Just as I start sinking into jelly-limbed delight, a forceful thumb starts rhythmically stroking its way down the inner side of my shin. Thumb dig, dig, digging, my eyes squinch tightly shut and my tongue jams against gritted teeth. When the thumb finally lifts, my breath releases with a woosh. Moments later, hands overwhelm my leg with swooping, circling strokes that send my brain fuzzing over in waves of soft prickles.
Hopscotching between pleasure and pain, I clutch the chair as that diabolical thumb bores against an isolated spot at the base of the balls of my feet, then abruptly slide into a semi-dream state as knuckles slide deliciously down the bottom of my foot like the trill of a xylophone scale. I want to grab the reflexologist by the roots of her hair and pitch her against the wall; I want to scoop her up and take her home to be my personal masseuse-slave for all time.
My feet and legs thoroughly kneaded, cupped, slapped, stroked, and pounded, the reflexologist drapes my tenderized limbs with steaming towels, wipes them clean of lotion, wakes me from my wondrous catatonia, and sends me out with feet fluid and veal-supple.
The Foot Reflexology Center is located at 662 Jackson Street and is open from 10:30am to 9pm every day. It’s not a spa. It’s likely, particularly on weekends, that you’ll be sharing the room with seven other foot-weary people – but when your muscles turn to warm Jell-O and your head begins lolling toward your shoulder, you won’t really care. Reflexology costs $30 for a 40 minute session, and $45 for an indulgent 70 minute session (cash only). Each includes a 10 minute footbath.