We recently tested four outcall massage services. Not those Craigslist massage therapists, just some good clean kneading for rainy days, lunch breaks, or stressful times. Sorry, but none of these places offer special services, but they will leave you refreshed and ready to attack the remaining workday. One word of advice -- don't keep working during the massage. Disconnect from the grind and space out in the harmony of the rubdown.
Intro: Diandao is a "door to door" massage service company based in Beijing that now has offices in Shanghai, Hangzhou, Shenzhen, and Nanjing, with about 100 massagists on staff. Every massagist who works there is required to have at least 10 years of experience.
How To Schedule an Appointment: Diandao takes appointments through their official WeChat account (ID: Diandaofuwu) and app. They work from 9am-8pm, and require a 1.5 hour notice. You could also call them up at 400-819-1190. The app and the WeChat can show which masseuses are nearby, with their user-reviews.
Prices: Their prices range from 128rmb/45min (upper body) to 158rmb/60min (full body). They can provide beds for full body massage. for upper body massage, all you need is a chair.
Diandao also offers coupons (50-70rmb) after each session. Unfortunately those are not applicable for phone orders or cash payments. But they do offer free 20 minute trials for anyone in offices with at least ten people.
Payment Methods: Alipay or Cash. They offer discounts for those using Alipay.
The Experience: The shifu came in with a really professional attitude, and didn't really talk much. He just got on with his business. The whole process was really decent, like a proper meal that didn't fall all over the table. He explained what would hurt and why, and just kept doing his job. When he finished, he quickly tidied up his belongings and left like a knight. They don't use scooters for work, so dude brought the bed through the metro. Most of the time, Diandao's masseuses just take the bus or metro even when they need to bring a bed with them.
Hygiene: The shifu wore a disposable mask, and changed the disposable head cover after each person. He covered everyone's body with a towel while they got a massage.
Recommend?: Yes. Good massage, clean, and professional.
Intro: This place hired most of the good masseuses from Congen Massage after their big scandal in 2014. Congen was really active in Shanghai, until one night in October 2014 when the boss ran off without paying his employees. After that, customers suddenly couldn't use their pre-paid "VIP" massage cards they had spent thousands on.
How To Schedule An Appointment: They take appointments via phone (400 079 9688) or by their official WeChat account (ID: shanghaimozhijia). Both the app and WeChat can show available massage therapists nearby, or you could just scroll a list and read reviews. They do require a one-hour heads up.
Prices: Mozhijia offers a 100rmb discount to anyone during their first time, but only for appointments made through WeChat and using Alipay. Like Diandao, this place offers a free trial for companies with more than ten people. There also have discounts available on Dianping.
Prices with discounts on Dianping range from 118rmb/90min to 358rmb/90minutes (five-star oil massage). Normal prices range from 228rmb/90rmb to 378rmb/90rmb.
Payment Methods: Alipay, Cash
The Experience We ordered the free office trial for this one, and the manager was really pushing his brand hard. He brought a huge banner into the office and put it in the background while he took phone photos. They were really like sales guys, asking all kinds of questions while the masseuses worked our backs.
Every masseuse has a scooter and wears a uniform, so they kind of look like food-delivery staff. And they give a good massage. They know about the pressure points. Sometimes they chatted with each other and us -- good vibes. I asked if any customers had asked for some "special" service, and they said yeah, some people phoned them up inquiring about this matter, but they don't do that.
Hygiene The massagists all wore disposable masks and covered our bodies with towels during the massage, but didn't change the cover each time it had been used.
Recommend? Yes, but if it's a free trial, maybe ask them to not bring the salespeople and their banners in the office. That was a bit annoying.
Intro: Kungfu Bear is another of these door–to–door service companies that came out around the same time as Diandao and Kangguanjia. Three Baidu employees started this one in October 2014.
How To Schedule An Appointment: They take reservations from WeChat (ID: gfxiong) and their app, and are available from 10am-9.30pm. If the massage goes later than 10pm, they charge an extra 35rmb for transportation fee. The app can show available masseuses within 10kms, and they require one hour notice for appointments. They don't take phone reservations, but will answer questions at 400 654 6000.
Prices: Again, any company with at least 12 people gets free 20 minute trials for everyone. They also offer a 100rmb coupon for anyone's first trial if they pay with Alipay.
Kungfu Bear has several packages, like a quick office shoulder massage for 48rmb/20min (three orders minimum), a "family massage" for 98rmb/45min (two orders minimum), a back and lower back massage for 138rmb/45min, and a full body massage for 158rmb/60min.
Payment Methods: Alipay only.
The Experience: Tried the shoulder massage. Kungfu Ayi came in a bit late, and had to call for directions, but at least she called to say she'd be late. She arrived wearing a Kungfu Bear shirt, and used a towel for the massage. She went in hard on the pressure points, which was quite painful. She said she's been doing this for five years, and that I needed to "enrich the blood". Ayi said to drink warm water after the massage to help with digestion. She was pretty sweet, and acted like a sister. Maybe a bit too casual. Did not seem super professional. Unfortunately, they don't have their own beds, so customers need to provide one if they want a full body massage.
Hygiene The masseuse wore a mask, covered our bodies with a towel, and also cleaned her hands with sanitizer before she started.
Recommend? If the two places above are not available, you could give this one a try. Otherwise, no.
Intro: Wow, all these places started in 2014. Kangguanjia supposedly comes from a traditional Chinese and Western medicine background. They have around 50 employees, and while the massagists don't have ten years of experience, they've had some kind of training and know the pressure points.
How To Schedule An Appointment: They take reservations via WeChat (ID: kangguanjia) and their website, but require four hours notice. They work from 10am-8pm. For questions, their phone number is 400 015 1513
Price: Any company with at least 12 employees gets free 20 minute trials for everyone. They also offer discounts for anyone's first trial.
The cheapest massage here is 60rmb/30min for back and lower back, and goes up to 198rmb for an hour of full body massage.
Payment Methods: Alipay only.
The experience: My massage brother rocked up in a T-shirt. He said he's been doing this for three years, and revealed that most people in the company have only one year of experience. Dude didn't seem super bright, and the massage wasn't great. He didn't hit the pressure points, nor did he use a towel. They don't have beds either, so anyone who wants a full body massage needs to provide their own. It was just alright, but they are also the cheapest.
Hygiene The masseur didn't cover my body during the massage, nor did he wear a mask. Just rocked up in a T-shirt and went to work.
Recommend? Only if you don't have any other choice, and the others are all booked.
Of the four we tested, Diandao and Mozhijia had the best handwork, and were the most professional and sanitary. We recommend those for a nice break in the middle of the workday. These places can also come to your house, but don't expect any special times.