Body massage in India is somewhat of a taboo. Not overtly, but an undercurrent of suspicion seems to arise anytime I bring up the topic. I was a regular at local massage centres back home, and in over 2 years in India, have yet to find a quality, legitimate place to have this done.
My first experience getting a massage in India scarred me. It started out at my local salon/parlour and the same girl who had done my facial and hair spa, took me into the back room for my massage. Within a few minutes the male owner entered and was overly concerned about any tension I might have in my bra. That experience shied me away from getting massages for a long time.
About a year later, a massage parlour opened up in the building right beside my apartment. I heard all of the "therapists" were women, so I felt a bit better and considered checking it out. Until I was informed they only accepted male clientele. It was a brothel under the guise of a massage parlour.
One day we received a flier in the newspaper for a package deal at a new salon. It included a massage so I checked it out. The place was professional and the massage was conducted by a female, in a comfortable and secure setting. She just wasn't very good. I'm not a fan of these foo-foo massages, I'm used to being worked over by a sports therapist and the massage being more of a work out. So now I'd found the location, just not a quality therapist.
Just before my wedding, I started going to a new salon. The owner of the salon gave an amazing facial and included a little shoulder massage, so I asked her once if she'd do a back massage, even thought it wasn't in the "menu" of services provided. She agreed, but she never did it. No matter how many times I asked, she'd say "yes yes" but she'd never do it.
So now her salon has been bought out and I'm going to the one that replaced it. They advertise massage services, and have quite a variety to chose from in the menu. Every time I ask for it, I just get returned with confused stares and no matter how many times during my services that I bring up the subject, they NEVER do the massage. I can point it out in the "menu" but they never do it. I don't know how to be more assertive about it besides crossing my arms, stomping my foot and refusing to leave until they do it.
Today I asked no less than four times. The lady doing my other services (the same one from the old place that got bought out) even asked me if I wanted oil or cream, and even stepped out to confirm the prices, but she NEVER did it.
I don't know if I'm some kind of freak for asking for it, or for persisting, but I don't get what the big deal is. I don't require someone who's professionally trained, just someone who can put a little elbow into it and isn't a pervert. There are options at the high end hotels and a few resorts to have it done, but you'll pay a fortune and those places aren't easily accessible. It looks like they might be my only option though. I think when I get to go back to the US for a visit, I'll schedule a massage for every single day I'm there! Just to make up for lost time.