Best cheap massages downtown

Tui na, shiatsu-downtown, that translates to "cheap massage." Which are the best?

Most New Yorkers have tense shoulders, knotted muscles and neither the time nor the money for a spa visit. Those with no attachment to New Age music or fancy oils should go downtown to loosen up: Chinatown and Little Italy are packed with no-frills joints that offer manipulative therapy (tui na), breath work (qi gong) and traditional massage (shiatsu), last-minute and always on the cheap.

1. Top Beauty Skin Care Center, 128 Baxter St ($50 for one hour): This tidy one-bed parlor feels warm. Thank the Chinese tapestries.

2. Wu Lim Services Company, 179 Grand St ($7 for ten minutes): A grubby entrance may be a turnoff, but the vigorous massage is worth the risk.

3. Back and Foot Rub, 185 Mulberry St ($7 for ten minutes): Steel-fingered women go at your back (or feet) in a darkened communal room. Unglamorous, but it hurts so good.

4. Toto Beauty and Health, 202 Hester St and 213 Hester St ($50 for one hour): Privacy and candles give this an Upper East Side feel.

5. Broome Sky Health Center, 373 Broome St ($11 for 15 minutes): Head underground for intimacy—and the smiling staff.

6. De Yee Herb Center, 152B Mott St ($10 for 15 minutes): Enjoy the light touch of the grandmotherly women. Ignore the dismal surroundings.

7. Howard Beauty Salon and Spa, 34 Howard St ($10 for ten minutes): It's clean—but for the ten-minute massage, you'll be on a footstool, not a bed.

8.Best Chinese Qi Gong Tui-Na, 21 Cleveland Pl ($12 for 15 minutes): The beds in this incense-scented room are separated by screens. Romantic. Almost.

9. Rich Nails, 199 Hester St ($13 for 15 minutes): On the higher end, this looks like a clean-cut midtown manicure place.

10. Fishion Herb Center, 107 Mott St ($10 for 15 minutes): One customer says it best about this large (albiet dingy) spot: "It's painful, but you feel great the next day.


And more cheap rubs

Headquarterz Massage, 80 Lafayette St ($10 for ten minutes)

Shi Zen Trading, Inc, 128 Baxter St ($50 for one hour)

Ji Li Tui Na, 202 Mott St ($12 for 15 minutes)

Teana, 151 Mott St ($15 for 15 minutes)

So Relax, 178 Hester St ($10 for ten minutes)

The Best Chinese Back Rub and Relaxing Foot Rub and Integrated Body Work, 173 Lafayette St ($7 for ten minutes)

Apple Spa, 207 Grand St ($15 for 15 minutes)

Beauty and Hair Salon, 167 Hester St ($15 for 15 minutes)

May's Beauty Center, 165 Hester St ($30 for 30 minutes)