It's probably no exaggeration to say that there are hundreds of Thai massage parlors in L.A., and it's tough to know which are legitimate and which are, well, hand-job specialists. The storefront entry that leads into Thai Herb and Spa, which is located in a Hollywood mini-mall, looks like a Bangkok pharmacy transported to California, replete with unpronounceable secret lotions, herbs and back-bending devices. However, the backroom is an oasis, with a small, babbling brook and a dozen or so curtained but communal massage rooms. It's on a very busy section of Sunset, yet the only disruption might be the occasional oaf who can't keep his (perfectly legal) groaning to himself. It's easy to be lulled into a trancelike state by the small, tinkling waterfalls and cheesy but restful Thai elevator music. All guests don a gargantuan-sized massage shirt and pants, and are then ushered to one of the comfy rooms. Your personal masseuse luxuriously cleanses your feet with hot, steamy towels before beginning an exceptionally reasonable $40, hourlong massage that also includes a lot of vigorous stretching, pulling and cracking. All of the masseuses are pretty darn good, but our favorite is Noe, a tiny, grandmotherly Thai woman with a grip like Killer Kowalski. Once guests are completely relaxed, they're given a little plate of fresh fruit and a cup of tea. Ultra-relaxing. 5231 ½ W. Sunset Blvd., L.A. (323) 661-7086.

—Christine Pelisek

LA Weekly