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BEST DEAL FOR AN HOURLONG RUBDOWN Los Angeles 2009 

Serene Thai

Standard price for inexpensive Thai and Korean massages around town is $40. That gets you full-body muscle work, generally from the surprisingly strong hands of very small women. But one of the better-kept secrets is that some parlors also offer an hourlong foot massage for just $20 — and no — they don't just rub your feet for an hour. At Serene Thai, the small, cash-only spot located upstairs in a Koreatown mini-mall, the ladies speak little English, but seem quite adept at communicating with the pain in your body. They begin by soaking your feet in warm water, and while that's happening, work your shoulders, neck, head, hands and back (not bad for a "foot massage"). Then you lie back in a big, comfortable chair while they load your legs and feet up with all kinds of lotions and oils, work out the kinks, and even prod you with small plastic tools. You can bring an iPod and listen to music through your headphones, or take in the full experience that comes with the gentle Thai string music playing over the speakers. It's definitely not the fanciest place in town, but did I mention that you get an hourlong massage for $20? 3959 Wilshire Blvd., L.A. (213) 739-9990.

—Noah Galuten

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