16th October 2022
Blind masseur's parlor relieves aches and pains for the masses
Bu Wu Huixin
Different from shops with illuminated signs advertising massages, blind massage parlors often have a low-profile façade and simple decoration. In modern-day Hangzhou, blind masseurs and masseuses are still widely perceived as typical Chinese massage therapists with authentic skills.
Gu Chengjie, 40, and his wife Shou Wenfang have been operating a massage parlor for nearly 20 years. Like many blind massage therapists in China, they learned the therapeutic skill after going blind so as to earn a living. Today they continue to learn from lectures and the Internet.
In his 20s, Gu opened his store on Tiyuchang Road, and over almost 20 years he has provided massage therapy for thousands of people. In 2009, Gu married Shou, and their store has expanded from 40 to 250 square meters during the past 13 years.
Gu Chengjie performs tuina, a traditional Chinese healing technique, on a patient to alleviate fatigue and muscle soreness.
Word-of-mouth recommendations have built the couple's reputation. Today, their store has nine massage therapists, offering services including tuina, cupping, acupuncture and bone-setting.
"My employees are blind or have impaired vision. That is a huge obstacle to finding a job. Massage doesn't require walking around; it is safe for us. Meanwhile, government departments have supported us by offering preferential policies," said Gu.