The Cutting Edge

The official blog of Knife Depot

Keep Your Body Sharp with the Ancient Art of Knife Massage

How much do you love knives?

I know most of you collect dozens (if not hundreds) of models and just the mere fact that you’re reading this means you follow a knife blog or click on knife-related things from Facebook or Twitter.

But how many of you would let someone massage you with butcher knives?

According to recent news articles, the knife massage is a new craze around Taiwan that involves cleavers being chopped in rhythmic motions around your face and body.

The reality is that the practice actually dates back to China more than 2,500 years ago. Although it fell out of favor, it slowly came back to life in Taipei with more than 150 of these knife massage centers currently across the city. A slew of recent articles based on the video below have resulted in a bunch of poorly sourced write-ups.

Knife massage is called daoliao and the LA Times did a great write-up back in 2015. Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Turns out daoliao is not some New Age wellness fad. People in China have been undertaking knife massages since the Spring and Autumn Period (770 BC to 476 BC) in Chinese history, said Wu Wei-chuan, chairwoman of the World Daoliao Assn. in Taipei. Back then, those suffering from mysterious illnesses not easily treated by traditional medicine would ask Buddhist monks to ease their afflictions with knife therapy.

The masseur uses heavy cleavers with blunt edges (despite what all the latest articles have been saying). People believe that the heavy blade can reach places that fingers cannot and that the steel helps remove bad energy from the body.

Those who receive the massage are draped with sheets to keep the steel from touching the skin. Pressure points are chopped in rhythm and delicately so as to offer a soothing experience that supposedly increases blood flow.

Here is another video from 2012:

And here is footage of a massage in Malaysia:

If it could help my occasional lower back pain stay at bay, I would happily give it a go. I don’t plan on being in Taipei any time soon, however.

Would you ever consider getting a knife massage?


  1. If it could relieve my low back pain? after surgery,I would welcome it

  2. Does any1 have the address for this therapy centre ? Thanks

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