Spa La La Massage at Spa La La
Most therapists scratch the surface of my upper back and shoulder pain with their well-meaning kneading but never get really serious about relieving all of the tension. But Lizzie Harris (above), the svelte but superstrong owner of Spa La La, goes beyond the call of duty when her client has a needy, tight area. For at least half of the massage, she deftly used her fingers, elbows and forearms to melt away all of the tiny cricks and dull aches and pains I harbored thanks to spending my weekdays in front of a computer. Afterward, I felt more open and taller—and I slept like a log. Expect your massage to be different; she customizes the service based on your needs. 75 minutes, $100.—Liz Plosser
TOC DISCOUNT Pay just $80 for this massage and get a free minifacial through April 1.
Aroma-Harmony massage at mySpa at Fairmont
I’ve never been a real believer in the seven chakras that, according to Indian medicine, make up the body’s energy centers. But, this time, I truly focused as my masseuse worked essential rose, fir and geranium oils into my green heart chakra. My head was facedown on a white cloth, but I swear I saw a flash of green, and I know I felt my entire body relax as, one by one, my chakras and corresponding body parts were massaged and rebalanced with healing crystals and seven organic oils. For the next week, I was so at peace and relaxed that my family began reading up on chakras so they’d know which one needed to be “fixed” the next time my temper flared. 60 minutes, $145.—Amy Carr
TOC DISCOUNT Ask about the Locals Only Massage Club when you mention TOC and receive $35 off a 60-minute treatment through February 28.
Aroma blend massage at Four Seasons
At the start of my massage, my therapist placed a towel soaked in eucalyptus, pine and sandlewood oils under my nose. “Inhale deeply two times,” she instructed. As I filled my nose with the crisp scents while lying facedown on the heated massage table, I felt my stuffy nasal passages clear for the first time in days. She then kneaded my scalp and neck, pausing on pressure points right below my skull. Assuming (rightly) that my shoulders needed the most work, she prepped them with heating pads then went to town on my feet and legs using the same sinus-clearing oils. When she finally made it to my warmed-up shoulders, she dug in, alternately inspiring goose bumps and hurts-so-good winces. 55 minutes, $140; 80 minutes, $190.—Laura Baginski
TOC DISCOUNT Get 30 percent off Thursday 4, Friday 5, Monday 8–Wednesday 10.
Hot stone massage at Urban Oasis
On a hot-as-balls summer day, feeling as if your skin is melting seems horrible. But in the comfy confines of this massage spa on a cold winter morning, as therapist Bridget used hot stones and massage oils on my legs, back and shoulders, I couldn’t tell where my skin began and the stones ended…and it was amazing. Before the rubdown, Bridget had me lie faceup on warm, smooth stones placed along my spine. She also covered the space between my brows (a.k.a. the third eye) with a small stone. Using more hot stones (as well as her hands and elbows), she then delivered what felt like a deep-tissue massage. When it was time to turn over, she placed a warm stone under my stomach as she kneaded the knots in my back and I drifted off to sleep. When it was time to wake up, I made sure my skin was still intact and took advantage of the spa’s private rain shower. 75 minutes, $120.—Kevin Aeh
TOC DISCOUNT Through February 28, take 25 percent off a hot stone massage; Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy; Thai massage; or a head, neck and shoulder massage.
Elemental Nature Massage at Asili Chi Salon and Spa
The distracting chatter from the salon trickling down to the no-frills waiting area of this basement-level spa was a small price to pay for the mind- and body-altering massage that followed. As I settled under the blanket, the therapist directed me to breathe deeply to take in the scent of lavender and ylang-ylang aromatherapy oils. Then, with a firm, commanding touch, he kneaded away deep knots in my upper back, massaged the tendons in my arms and stretched my legs. Occasionally I let out a meek murmur of discomfort, but he quietly encouraged me to allow him to work out the tension. I’m glad I did. After awakening to a refreshing whiff of peppermint oil, I felt exhausted and refreshed. 30–120 minutes, $50–$160.—Jessica Herman
TOC DISCOUNT Get 25 percent off any salon or spa treatment through February 28.