I went to NHI (national holistic institute) this evening and it was fantastic. $35, no tipping allowed, for a 50 minute massage! The downsides: you can't choose the gender of your masseuse or the style--either shiatsu or swedish. But, as someone who is fairly new to massage, and pretty freaking intimidated by the idea of a male, or shiatsu, I found the experience soothing and pleasureable. I did get a female, but a=had a shiatsu massage. Shee was open, though, and ver receptive to feedback, even asking for it througout the experience. I recommend it!
I love the fact that there are more establishments like NHI opening up and making massage more accessible to people who might not otherwise be able to afford it. I review spas and massage studios and I've really been noticing that this trend has begun to taken off--people are turning away from the froufy, pampering-only style of day spa massage and turning to places that offer more healing, restorative modalities--and that seek to take the elitism out of the entire idea of the massage! I haven't been to NHI yet but I'm definitely going.
I'll have to find one of these places in Los Angeles. I just tried a free acupuncture clinic today and it was totally worth the price (hehe, nothing)...and they do have some sort of therapeutic massage they do there for a very reasonable fee, so perhaps I'll try that as well as some point. Right now the bulk of my "holistic health" budget is going to yoga classes and yoga training. So cheap massage is definitely more important to me than the gender of the practitioner.