An ancient (and visually terrifying) form of massage using meat cleavers is seeing a resurgence in Taiwan — and could be coming to America.
In the practice, known as daoliao — which translates literally to “knife massage” — practitioners pound stress points in your body using the sharpened edge of kitchen instruments usually used for hacking up dinner meats, while soothing your energy and reading your fortune.
Practiced for over 2,000 years, the epicenter of the art is The Dao LiaoI-King Education center in Taipei where locals and foreigners can experience the ultimate relaxation, or learn the ancient technique.
Guests are wrapped in towels and robes before the practitioners start pounding their bodies, targeting pressure points. Videos of people being “chopped” have surfaced on YouTube and the effect is … like a relaxing “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” — without the blood.
While daoliao looks scary, devotees swear by it and practitioners — who maintain vegan diets and aren’t allowed massage if they’re in a bad mood — claim the knives have healing powers.
The knives are always “recharged” by placing them near meteorites before being used on a client. Before being massaged, clients must hold “cosmos” sticks to balance their energy, before having their karma washed via the knives. Afterward, the practitioners will also read your fortune.