716 Greenwich St., 212-206-9714
Deep Tissue ($90 to $110)
Owner Rick Sharpell’s deep-tissue treatment is used by injury-prone athletes, but it’s also perfect for stressed-out New Yorkers who think it’s not a real massage unless you cry. He improves circulation and flexibility, eases knots, and helps dislodge built-up lactic acid—great if you work out a lot.
HURTS SO GOOD
- Remède Spa at the St. Regis Hotel
2 E. 55th St., 212-339-6715
The Remède Customized Massage ($80 to $230)
The technicians here do not ask how your day went or if you’re visiting the city; they simply want to know “how’s the pressure?” The pressure, which will be applied using techniques drawn from shiatsu, deep-tissue, and Swedish massage, can be as intense as you ask for. The result: serious muscle relief that feels almost medical.
JUST A TOUCH
- Essential Therapy
122 E. 25th St., 212-777-2325
Swedish Massage ($100)
At this serene, Indian-themed studio, former New York Mets masseuse Carlos Arague will stay well away from pressure points. Arague’s “make-nice massage,” as he calls it, consists mainly of long, smoothing strokes from the neck to lower back. It’s enough to put you to sleep, at least until the essential-oil scalp massage wakes you up, fully refreshed.
YOU WON’T FEEL A THING
- The Spa at Mandarin Oriental
80 Columbus Circle, 212-805-8880
Oriental Harmony ($750)
It’s listed at two hours, but block out half a day. Pre-treatment, warm up in the turbo-charged Jacuzzi pool; afterward, gaze at the 35-story view from the relaxation lounge. The treatment starts with a calming foot bath, followed by a gentle body scrub, then a rinsing shower; an hour of trance-inducing four-handed massage is the almost weightless coup de grâce.
Pleasure and Pain
Massages from hard to soft.
From the 2006 Best of New York issue of New York Magazine