Spa treatments by purpose
Where to relax, recharge, detox, soothe winter skin and more.
Mon Jan 23 2012
Photograph: Flint Gennari
Season Spa: Aromatherapy massage
165 Hester St between Elizabeth and Mott Sts (212-966-7416, seasonspa-nyc.com). Regularly $68. TONY deal Mention TONY when booking to get this treatment for $55 through Feb 29.
Before the treatment, massage therapist and spa manager Jennifer Wong offered a selection of four rotating aromatic oils (which are imported from Shanghai and Guangzhou in China) and explained the benefits of each scent. I opted for jasmine for relaxation and was quickly transported from wintertime Manhattan to a balmy South Pacific garden.
Best part: The hour-long treatment incorporates elements of Swedish, deep-tissue and tui na techniques, based on what each area of the body needs. In my case, it meant both targeted kneading of knots behind my shoulder blades and heavy, sustained pressure for my hamstrings and calves—achieved when Wong climbed up on the table and channeled her body weight through her knees.
Why it's worth it: At the end of the session, my muscles felt not only soothed but therapeutically tuned up, and a tension-melting head massage during the last ten minutes left this overcaffeinated insomniac snoring.—Carolyn Stanley
Relax on Cloud 9: Mineral bath
694 Clove Rd at Martling Ave, Staten Island (718-448-3412, relaxoncloud9.com). $50.
This half-hour treatment is just long enough to help you unwind. After entering the charming cottage that houses this retreat, I was led into a tiled room with a large Jacuzzi tub. My therapist, Steve Gargiulo, added mineral powder and lavender-scented essential oils to the bath, and I rested in the warm water while pan-flute music drifted into the room. Afterward, I refreshed myself with a quick spray of complimentary shea butter lotion.
Best part: If you're lucky, you'll meet spa owner Doreen Zayer and her gorgeous dog, an adopted labrador, on your way out.
Why it's worth it: This relaxing treatment is an excellent add-on to a massage, but if you're taking it on its own, request a complimentary five-minute shoulder and hand massage along with your bath.—Annemarie Dooling
Dorit Baxter Day Spa: Herbal body wrap
47 W 57th St between Fifth and Sixth Aves, third floor (212-371-4542, newyorkdayspa.com). $95. TONY deal Mention TONY when booking or at time of appointment for 20 percent off all treatments through Feb 29.
Between playing tour guide for visiting family members and battling crowds on buses and trains, I was craving a break from my holiday vacation. At this chic midtown spot, technician Katya Goidayeva (who has worked at various spas for nearly ten years), soothed away my anxiety with a body wrap. She massaged organic lavender cream into almost every inch of my skin and proceeded to cover my body in layers of lavender-scented sheets and thermal blankets.
Best part: While I tend to be claustrophobic, I spent 20 minutes snoozing in my wrap without feeling suffocated; plus, a knot-busting massage was a surprise treat.
Why it's worth it: The lavender scent, soothing music and encompassing warmth left me completely relaxed—so much so that the feeling stayed with me throughout a busy workday.—Elizabeth Denton
Thai New York Spa and Salon: Traditional Thai massage
23-92 21st St between 23rd Terr and 24th Ave, Astoria, Queens (718-932-0999, thainewyorkspa.com). $79. TONY deal Mention TONY when booking for 10 percent off massages through Feb 15.
My stiff shoulders started to soften just minutes into this intense rubdown, courtesy of the centuries-old techniques applied by therapist Kan Prasertsri. She spared no maneuver to banish my body's tension: At different points throughout the massage, Kan kneeled on the table to bend and stretch my legs, and straddled my hamstrings while prodding my lower back.
Best part: The massage isn't the only draw: The spa provides comfy pants and shirts for the treatment, and I could drink the sweet ginger tea served pre- and post-massage by the gallon.
Why it's worth it: There's no one-treatment-fits-all mantra here. Prasertsri took note of my most problematic pains, melting them away with the perfect amount of pressure.—Leah Faye Cooper