Thanks to Daily Candy for informing me of the grand opening of a new Thai Privilege Spa in downtown Manhattan. It sounds incredible. The photos of models on massage tables at the Bangkok-based company’s other facilities are sexy and lush.
In truth, I rather dislike these sorts of places. Whenever I’ve gone–on assignment for magazines mostly–I’ve laid there thinking about the money I’m spending. Anxiety mounts as I ponder other questions: Should I have refreshed my toe-nail polish at home before coming? How much will I tip? Will they let me nap for ten minutes after my session, or are they going to roll me out the purple-painted door, clang me past the wind chimes, and sell me (vulnerable and wilted from treatment) overpriced essential oils at the cash register?
True, fancy spas educate an opinion-leading clientele, help worthy mind-body therapies get better established, and employ talented bodyworkers. But every time I’ve spoken frankly to someone employed by a high-end spa or health club, they say: “Well, you never really get to go deep.” By which they mean that not much life-altering change occurs. Oftentimes, they get only one chance to help a customer (since the client is usually traveling through town or just looking for a one-time feel-good experience).
If you want intimacy, if you want to get out of pain, it is best to find a massage therapist, osteopath, or chiropractor you can relate to and afford to visit monthly, someone who will remember your name and your issues and say, “Well, how’s the shoulder doing? Did the last treatment help?”
Sometimes you can find a talented massage therapist not long out of school who needs additional work experience and thereby charges less. Then you can really talk about what’s working, and what’s not. Additionally, you and a friend (or partner) could take a workshop in massage to learn how to practice on each other. Nightly massage is always best!
Yoga teachers and directors of yoga studios know where to find reliable massage therapists and high quality workshops. And the more yoga you do, the less bodywork you’ll need since yoga postures have a way of eventually aligning every muscle of your body.
Tell me: Are you wed to a particular style of bodywork? What were your most transformative experiences?