Are Massage Parlors Safe? For the most part, yes. There are usually lots of people around and there should be nothing to worry about. Avoid seedy areas at night and stick to well lit areas frequented by foreigners and tourists.
Are Massage Parlors Clean? Places can vary tremendously. Generally, most places are clean and there’s nothing to worry about. I’ve seen cheap places that change the sheets and towels religiously after every massage while other higher end places just have their girls straighten out the soiled sheets and towels, not even trying to hide the fact. The owners are obviously trying to save money. If you spot dirty linens and towels, ask for fresh ones. If they refuse, go elsewhere. Let them know that it’s not acceptable.
Can you pick up any diseases? Like any dirty hotel or other accommodation, bedbugs can show up anywhere, as can fleas or other vermin. Fortunately, it’s never happened to me and I’ve visited a large range of shops in several countries. The masseuses wash their hands several times a day and there’s nothing to worry about with hand-to-skin contact. Sometimes, I hear the girls sniffling and coughing and I’m sure I’ve picked up the odd common cold from one of them but I can’t prove that and you can pick up a cold anywhere. That’s one of the risks of living in a world of humans. Generally, massages are very safe
What about girls walking on my back? Even though many of these girls are quite light, they can still do damage if they don’t know what they’re doing.
Can you get too many massages in one day? I suppose it’s possible to get skin burns from getting too many massages with not enough massage oil but not likely.
NEVER go with a tuktuk driver who says he’ll take you somewhere to get a massage and similarly, don’t go with girls on the street who want to take you somewhere to give you a ‘massage.’ There are lots of reputable places to go!
For some horror stories on what can happen, do a search for ‘Shanghai Massage Scams’ on ‘google.com’ or ‘tripadvisor.com’