DemosNews: Massage in New York
Massage in New York
By: sakurachan

In Southeast Asia, massage insinuates itself regularly into daily life. A Philippine farm boy massage his father’s back and feet when he returns from the field. Indian mothers massage their baby’s limbs and skin all over to bring the body’s nerves and sensitivity to life. Young Cambodian girls of 7 or 8 are thought the perfect weight to tread up and down one’s spine to great effect. In Bali, it’s often an ancient woman carrying a little sac of special powders who comes to knead. In Jakarta, an experienced practitioner, like a dear family retainer or psychiatrist, daily relieves woes and anxiety and tightness.

But in New York City, what’s a person to do? There are fancy spas with fru fru, warm rocks and aromatherapy (and great expense.) There are bare bones, walk in establishments down in Chinatown where, either leaning against a chair or on a little cot, they poke at pressure points and do their work. The very rich have masseurs or masseuses who arrive at the door with folding table and probably provide the cat’s meouw. There are the sleazy parlors carrying a strong whiff (or more) of sex.

Of the venues and method I’ve tried, two stand out as most satisfying. I was tipped off to Madison Towers Health Spa (22 E 38 St, 212-685-7155) by an executive in the garment district. Informal and inexpensive enough ($80 an hour) to duck in on an impromptu basis, he told me all his cronies, men and women, indulged themselves there regularly. Modest in accoutrements and ambiance (the sauna and steam room mere closets), they do have a glorious large room with heated wooden floor to lie upon and allow ones’ muscles to melt with the warmth. The masseuses are all Korean and very professional. They offer Japanese shiatsu massage (including walking on the spine) and Swedish massage, or a “combination.” One can specify hard or gentle touch. The individual massage rooms are quiet, with subdued lighting and comfortable tables. Some include two tables side by side, for a couple or friends. Massage and then the warm floor – one leaves very happy and soothed.

The other system of hands-on physicality that intrigue me differs diametrically from usual massage. Developed by Ida Rolfe in the 1940's, Structural Integration (popularly known as “Rolfing”) manipulates the membrane (fascia) that surrounds bodily muscle. Reaching very deep, the pressure and warmth of a skilled practitioner’s hands smooth and re-hydrate the thin tissue layer that envelopes each muscle but has shriveled with time, and removes constrictions. The muscle expands to fill the enlarged space, and moves palpably more easily and gracefully. Mind you, the corrections are tiny, but the effect on posture, balance, allignment, and freedom of movement feels dramatic. Sessions of an hour plus usually are given in series of three or five or ten. But try one and see what you think. Guild trained practitioners may be found all over the country. The excellent one I’ve used in New York is Kiki Herald, 777 West End Avenue, #1D (98th Street) 212-663-2423.

© 2022 sakurachan of DemosNews

June 2, 2007 at 0:40pm
DemosRating: 4.67
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Genre: Styles (Life)
Type: Critical
Tags: shiatsu, Ida, Rolfe, Structural, Integration, rolfing

Links:  www.madisontowerspa.com

Katherine13   But there is another option that must be mentioned when disc...
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