Caudalie Vinotherapie Spa
I don't really believe in the benefits of wine unless you're drinking it, so I was glad to find that the Plaza's "Vinothrapie" spa offers some entirely grape-free treatments, like this peppermint-oil-spiked session. My scalp, neck and face got their due attention, but I spent the whole time feeling miffed that an unavoidable delay in my arrival resulted in only half the allotted 20 minutes ("I have to end on time," the therapist shrugged, without offering to reschedule or otherwise accommodate me). • 212-265-3182, caudalie-usa.com. 20mins, $50 (through Mar 31; normally $55).
Best part: Despite the brevity of the treatment, I was given a robe and invited to linger (for free) in the armchair-filled wine lounge, to sample some real vinotherapy in the form of the day's reds and whites.—Kate Lowenstein
Graceful Spa 56: Scalp and face massage
After asking if I wanted to include neck as well as scalp (I said yes), the massage therapist began working on my upper back with the heaviest pressure I've ever experienced—in a really good way. She combed through my hair, covering the extent of my scalp, and worked over all the muscles of my face—pushing firmly on my temples, rubbing the muscles under my cheekbones, tugging on my ears. • 212-755-5589, gracefulspa56.com. 45mins, $50.
Best part: Who'd have thought that firm karate chops directly to the top of the head would actually be invigorating?—Amanda Meffert
The massage therapist knew her pressure points, spending much of the time on my temples rather than running her hands excessively through my hair. Unfortunately, she also wore loose-fitting gloves. It's hard to fault—I wouldn't want to rub someone else's follicles—but the sensation was too close to a dental hygienist's touch. • 212-751-6051, metspa.com. 15mins, $25.
Best part: The aesthetician anoints her hands in an essential oil, so expect to emit scent waves of lavender—or peppermint, or eucalyptus—for the rest of the day.—Allison Williams
Praba Salon: Scalp massage
I was directed to lean back in a well-worn spa chair as my therapist massaged my head and neck with warm oil (optional, for those opposed to greasy hair) and a heated towel. She asked several times if her pressure was too soft or hard. It was perfect, actually, and by the end, my stiff computer neck was a mere memory. Best part: My therapist didn't try to sell me on additional services—even though I was so blissed out after my treatment, I would have bought a houseboat on the Gowanus if offered. • 212-996-1740, indiantreasures.us. 25mins, $25.—Helaine Olen
This is a real pick-me-up treatment for those who hold their tension in their jaw and neck. Massage therapist Olga gently rubbed my chin, cheeks, neck, shoulders and forehead in a circular motion, using both cool and heated lotions. She also wrapped my feet with hot towels and spent extra time on my temples, scalp and jawline. • 212-766-8600, wallstreetbath.com. 30mins, $45.
Take note: If you'd like the massage therapist to use essential oils, you'll be charged an extra $5, so make sure you specify your preference in advance.—Rachel Sokol