DO NOT get a Vietnamese Massage!

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Asia » Vietnam » Mekong River Delta
January 25th 2006
Published: January 26th 2006
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This is how it all started.This is how it all started.This is how it all started.

Nice and innocent.
OK, so I am walking back home last night and I see this lady offering massages on the side of the street, literally on the side of this one street. Hey why not, it had been a tough day cruising on the Mekong river. So I lay down and she shows me these glass bottles and smiles and I say, "yea sure" Hey you know, When in Rome....
Bad Idea. (Almost as bad as taking that Thai "girl" back to my place in Bangkok!)
She had this burning stick which she stuck into these bottles to take all the oxygen out and then proceeded to stick them all over my back. It does not feel that bad, just a hard suction feeling. No biggie.
She then starts massaging my legs, arms and head. Really nice.
When all is said(which consisted of nods and smiles) and done I payed her and was on my way.
Got back to my hotel, jumped into the shower and to my horror saw what had become of my back.
It looks like I have a combo of SARS, Bird Flu and gangrene. Ridiculous. I could not believe it.
I have about 40 tennis ball sized hikkies

What is going on?!
all over my back. MASSIVE.
I went down stairs to reception and showed them what had become of me and they started asking me what was wrong with me?? Nothing, except that now I have all these marks on me. Well it turns out that this is supposed to be some all encompassing cure to anything that you might have. If you area sick you get one of these and it pulls whatever you have in you, the hell out of you.
You live you learn.
So ladies and gents, the long and the short of it is. Unless you have MS, TB or something of this variety DO NOT get one of these things.

It is funny, when I was in Cambodia I saw this guy on the beach with the most peculiar round marking all over his back. That sucks, I thought to myself.
Well you certainly won't be seeing me on the beach for the next couple of weeks.

Additional photos below
Photos: 3, Displayed: 3


Just henna I swear.Just henna I swear.
Just henna I swear.

This german guy I met today thought that I was into some religion and had this crazy henna all over. I wish.

25th January 2006

you are ridiculous!!! this massage is RIDICULOUS... holy shit! but glad you are getting the full SE Asia experience!! haha
25th January 2006

haaaaaaaaaaaaaaa haaaaaaaaaaaaaa oh my god're amazing
25th January 2006

26th January 2006

Un-Happy Ending
I thought from the name of the post, something else much worse might happen, but I guess that does suck. Take em in stride, or dook em en strookche in afrikaans, as they say
26th January 2006

ooooooooooooooh my god!!
sorry Lloyd. That made my day, though...Did you try ice? OH YA, you`re in Vietnam...probably no ice.
26th January 2006

lost in translation
Dude, that is not a massage. It is when you either have a flu or fever. But I guess you had learned the hard way. lol
8th February 2006

I would like to make an order for delivery.... I would like a large pizza with extra pepperoni's.
6th March 2006

Try a different method
HAHA!to it doesn't hurt but if you try in cambodia with a cent and this thing we use or some lotion it hurts more than a glass bottle.
20th May 2006

communication breakdown?
Hi, sorry to know of your bad experience, but !, it all boils down to communication. Its best to get a local to explain before you try anything in a foreign country. The hotel staff, an english speaking guide or taxi driver. The "massage" you received is definitely NOT massage but a treatment for ailments such as "wind" or gas in the body to be extracted via the cupping method. Sure it starts with a massage initially to initiate blood circulation, but always stop just there and say NO to cupping, it can be a very bad experience if you are not ill or in any kind of pain that is worst than the end results of cupping. Just like acupuncture, cupping is not for everyone and can be more stressful rather than relaxing. Also in Asian Massages, whether you are in thailand,indonesia,china,malaysia or singapore, always ask for the "relaxation massage" and not healing massage which can also be painful. Hope this helps !
17th October 2006

just sayin
noting wrong wit it u aint aman wtf u cnt take that im 13 and i been through that shit heller times. ps i kind do help
31st January 2007

unfortunately you are an idiot- not the therapist- Acupuncture and other healing modalities have used CUPPING for centuries. Although they didn't have to deal with the idiot Western traveler who knows nothing except a minor cosmetic appearance. Obviously you have alot of toxins stored in your system and they are now moving out via your lymphatic system.
24th March 2007

Dude you're funny man....hahahaha look great
5th November 2007

UR An idiot
Your an idiot what u had was not a massage what u had was to bring out the bad elements from your body tipical in Asia the darker the brusies the my unhealthy you are I've had it done in China ......... what a wimp
14th December 2007

Are you stupid ?
What's worng with you? You are sooooo stupid!!! Do you think those things will kill you? OOooooh poor baby.... You need to get out ofter from home!! LOL
14th February 2008

hey admit it, it was good getting it. lol
hahaha... looking at your back reminds me so much of my childhood. What u got was not a massage. It is a traditional and popular method to cure minor ailments such as cold, flu, etc... I received these treatments a few times when I was little in Vietnam. These red circles will be gone a few days, so no biggie. At least this is not painful. There is another traditional and even more popular method to cure cold or flu in vietnam is ca.o gio'. Pretty much your mom or aunt applies hot green oil to your back and neck, and she would press the edge of the coin against your skin, wherever the oil is, and scratch your skin with the coin. All this while your uncles or brothers hold you down, because the pain is over the top. After the treatment, instead of round red circles , u would have red streaks all over. lol. next time u are in vietnam and have a cold or flu, ask for this treatment. Many vietnamese american parents got into trouble with the social services in the US when the public noticed these red marks on the children. The public would think the children were beaten at home, but in fact their parents were just trying to cure their kids of the cold or flue. By the way, these methods work. lol. Don't ask me how. I don't know either. hahahah...
7th July 2008

This is not Bad at all!!!!
I'm from Europe. This is accualy good for you even that it leaves marks on your body for a while. When we were little and got sick with pneumonia my parents did that to us it doesn't hurt as bad as it looks but it takes out the sicknes from your body. Maybe you should read a bit about it before you say anything. It's an old technique.
25th July 2008

as long as your not in extreme pain...thats funny! lol, i was searching henna pics and found this web site! thanks for the laugh!
6th November 2008

are you kidding me?
i searched for are you kidding me and this is what i found.. awesome..
2nd January 2009

This helps your pain
I had a doctor recommend this treatment for my back pain in Seattle and I had the same markings. I have had a very sore back for a couple of years and it felt much better after the treatment. It is very common in some parts of the world and it is not a bad thing to have done. It looks kind of funny and my swim team thought it was funny but I enjoyed the experience and would recommend it to anyone with bad arthritus or back or shoulder pain. It really did work for me but only for about 6 weeks!
8th January 2009

I've seen that first hand
my mom did that, and it was the worst. Just watching her killed me a bit inside. But that supposively gets all the "bad" blood out. after the brusing and such goes down, you won't feel pain in that area (well, your WHOLE FREAKING BACK in your case). So in the long run its going to help you. To bad I'd never do that, but stillll. haha, I bet that hurt realllll bad,:/
11th January 2009

searchin for henna pics... came across this... one thing: ouch.
17th March 2009

huhuhuhu....demolotion man ?
25th March 2009

Wow, that is some serious cupping going on!! I've had that done to me by a pro, but she only used two of them on my neck area. It is supposed to be really good for lymphatic drainage...but really, that just looks excessive! You look like you got into a battle with a monstrous octopus...AND THE OCTOPUS WON.
13th April 2009

This just shows how culturally ignorant Americans are.
13th October 2009

Your an idiot, thats not a massage, you obviously no nothing about its actual purpose, its a medicinal treatment. Moron. Not sure what nationality you are, but you stupid ass expression would make me guess American.
30th November 2009

damn man thats badd!
30th November 2009

damn man thats badd!
25th January 2010

Sore Head
I went for a massage today in our hotel in Quy Nhon, Vietnam. It started off really pleasantly. She worked all the furrows out of brow and massaged by temples, but then she started thumping my head. I tolerated it, hoping each pound would be the last. The arms and legs were good and my body does feel loser and less aching, but my head? It still hurts even though it was 5 hours ago. I've got a lump! I need ice! Is this normal or did the girl just really have it in for me?! Ow.
25th August 2010

i think they went a little crazy with the cupping....i'm estimating you got 10x more than you needed.
31st August 2010

It's normal and good for health
Haha... you totally dont understand what's going on with you. It's normal and good for health. I also got some kind of it when I was sick. Let see what happen to me on my back: However, after that my sickness gone. Remember that I take lots of medicine but it didn't work out till this method.
11th September 2010

This made my day
I googled "cupping massage" and found this! I am suffering from back pain, so I got one of these done 2 days ago at a traditional Chinese massage place here in New Zealand. I was the same, I felt good afterwards then got home and saw the horror that was my back! Reading your story has made my day and given me some much needed laugh therapy (although laughing makes my back hurt - LOL). Thanks heaps. At least I know I'm not the only one to get lost in translation and end up covered in giant hickies.
27th October 2010

your cute. (: i love your hickies.
5th January 2011

hahaha, so you got one of these, eh? xD I'm a Filipino living in Cambodia, and I know what you mean. I was shocked when I first saw those, five years ago when I first came here. Good thing I was with a Cambodian friend, or else I would probably have the same experience as you xD; Don't worry... I hear those things will go away in a few days. Or weeks, it depends really. ...And here is where I realize this post is 5 years old. xDDDDD I came to Cambodia on October 2006! xD
4th February 2011

LOL! = D
typically Asian people get that " massage" you experienced when we are sick, with a flu, fever, whatever... It's a Chinese traditional way of treating such sickness. It works for me still, probably placebo affect =D
24th December 2011

OMG, I couldn't stop laughing when I saw this and read all the comments. I was just talking to my husband, who's not Vietnamese (I am), about this healing technique and was curious if there was anything online about it. When I was a kid, my mom used to do this to us when we were sick - we didn't do the cup method, but the coin method. Somehow I think it does work, I always felt better afterwards. I don't know the science behind it, maybe it's just placebo affect as the last person stated. In any case, I found this blog hilarious, couldn't stop the tears of laughter! Don't worry, you'll be fine. The marks go away in a few days and it's only slightly painful during the process, not after.

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