CHINA— The Four Masters Foot Spa in Chengdu city, Sichuan province, is run by four people with Masters Degrees in Chinese medicine. At first, people thought that bathing feet was a waste of the owners' talents and education. However, there is more to it than that—they also apply their medical knowledge of foot therapy. Not only has the spa won public recognition, the owners are planning to expand the business by opening branches in other cities.
As reported in Chongqing Times, Luo Nanfeng is a postgraduate student in fundamental Chinese medicine at Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine. She was also a “foot bathing lady” in a small foot spa in Chengdu. In November 2006, Luo, Chinese Medicine Master Degree holder Feng Benhua, and two other graduate students, Ma Wenjie and Tang Qihong, raised 20,000 yuan (USD 2,582) and opened the Four Masters Foot Spa. “Four Masters” refers to the four owners having obtained or pursuing a Masters degree.
Luo Nanfeng said the main difference between the service they offer and regular foot spas is the application of their medical knowledge. When a customer arrives, the health condition of his/her feet or other parts of the body is assessed, and if any specific health problems are found then Chinese medicines are used in the foot soaking solution.
Luo said that “Indeed, at first many people did not understand us, and thought it unbelievable that a graduate student could do such low-level work. But people quickly changed their view over time. Many customers see us as a medical clinic and voluntarily advertise for us.” As to why a graduate student would do such “low-level” work, Luo Nanfeng said, “There is nothing to be ashamed of. I am actually doing a doctor's job, bathing of the feet has always been part of Chinese traditional medical treatments.”
It was reported that this spa charges according to the number of visits, unlike other spas that charge by the hour. Depending on the extent of illness, each visit costs a minimum of 25 yuan (USD $3.22) and a maximum of 50 yuan (USD $6.45).
The owners are now training employees for a branch in Shenzhen. In the near future, they are also planning to open another branch in Chongqing.