It had been a good few weeks since our first massage in Hanoi and we were feeling ready for some revitalization. Some of our lessons had been cancelled last minute on a Thursday afternoon so we were left with an unexpected free half-day together. ‘To the Omamori Spa!’ we squealed. We’d heard about this massage chain in the Lonely Planet guide and it had great reviews on Trip Advisor so we booked an appointment.

Omamori massage studios are slightly different from your usual run of the mill massage parlour. Omamori is run by Blind-Link, a not-for-profit social enterprise providing employment, support and training opportunities for the visually impaired community in Vietnam. In other words, all of the massage therapists are blind so we are also ‘giving something back’ to the community whilst we get pampered.

We were greeted with tea, robes and offered a shower before beginning our Omamori massage. It already felt much more professional and clean than our previous, slightly chaotic Old Quarter experience (in which Lawrence’s giggling masseuse fell off the massage bed.) Here, we enjoyed a 60 minute full body Omamori Vietnamese massage for only 190,000 VND each (that’s also cheaper than the amateur, overpriced Old Quarter experience). This type of massage ‘focuses on deep tissue combined with acupressure, concentrating on realigning deeper layers of muscles and connective tissue.’

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The Karate Kid

The massage was a fantastic experience. We fluctuated from drowsy moments of pure bliss to almost crying out in agony as the masseuses tried to loosen the mess of knots in our shoulders that had developed from lugging a satchel to school every day. There was a level of body awareness that felt different than other massages, and it was amazing how gracefully they knew where to place their hands. It was an incredible 60 minutes and long overdue. See you again Omamori (No pun intended).