With a hat tip to That's Beijing, I read curiously last week that there are officially 430 Blind Person Massage spots in Beijing, though as it seems there is one in almost every neighborhood, the number seems a bit small.
Massage is the first and still the main occupation available to the blind in China. While some work as piano tuners, operators, singers, or radio hosts, probably 95% or more of employed blind people serve as masseurs. Their training varies widely between those who have studied it through school and attended special education universities (like Changchun University or Beijing Union University) or schools of Chinese medicine, while many others only work as interns or trainees at massage parlours where they learn massage (a similar process to what Ben's blog talked about at hair salons). The government certifies those doing massage and parlours should have certificates on display (or at the very least, available).
The article mentions that the Beijing Disabled People's Federation has come up with a logo that certified parlours can display in an attempt to create a brand and build confidence among the public, especially in light of the upcoming Olympics. While this is a good plan, it doesn't always work. Masseurs, like the parlours they work at, are (or should be) certified by the government. Places that can be classified "Blind Person Massage" by the government get tax breaks and other benefits, so often regular massage places will "borrow" the certificates of blind masseurs for a fee so that they can be classified as "Blind Person Massage".
All part of the game. But if you're looking for cheap massage that can make you feel better (and feel good for what you're doing), look out for the new Blind Massage logo around Beijing.