I went through this same range of emotions also, but I realized that having to keep up conversation with someone I didn't know, especially given the language barrier, was making me tense. Plus, it caused the pedicurist to continue to look up at me, which slowed him/her down. If I wasn't there to pay for a relaxing salon treatment, it would be different.
So now, I greet the person, make a bit of small talk, then pick up one of the magazines that they stock right next to the chair and start reading. To show my appreciation during the salt rub and lotion massage, I'll put the magazine down and close my eyes (I can't read then, anyway, as it feels so good). Other than that, I'll compliment the pedicurist in the end on how she did, pay her, and flip-flop away.