China Elevator Stories

“Your Breasts Are Almost Non-Existent”

I chat with a massage therapist in Shenzhen.


Ruth Silbermayr
Ruth Silbermayr


I visit a massage place in Shenzhen. The whole-body massage I get includes the back, the arms, legs, stomach and breasts. When Ling is about to start with the breast massage, she says: “Your breasts are almost non-existent.”

illustration - Ruth Silbermayr

Huh. She’s so blunt I’m wondering if I just heard correctly. Still, I don’t feel offended, I have gotten used to this kind of bluntness in China. Now, if you wonder what a Chinese breast massage is like, be prepared that it can hurt really badly.

Ling then tells me: “Your breasts are very healthy.”
I ask her: “Do you know that by just looking at them?”
She says: “I do. Your nipples are pink. If they are dark it means your breasts aren’t that healthy. If they are pink, it means they are very healthy.”
“I see.”

She starts with the massage and asks: “How many hours a day do you wear a bra? Less than 8?”
“Usually longer than 8 hours.”
“It’s best to wear a bra less than 8 hours a day. Breasts and nipples need to breathe, just like your nose.”

The massage hurts a lot. I tell her.

She replies: “There’s some stagnation, that’s why it hurts.”
I ask her: “Where does the stagnation come from? Just from wearing a bra?”
“Yes, exactly.”

After a while, I inquire: “Are you able to feel if someone has a breast tumor?”
“I am. But don’t worry, you’re fine.”

Have you ever had a similar conversation?

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