A steamed ball glides along the spine, the herbs inside it shifting with its twists and turns. This is Thai bomb therapy, a traditional treatment of acupressure zones that can trace its current incarnation back to Wat Pho temple in Bangkok, and it's one of several eastern-influenced therapies available at Enliven Body Work. The rest of the services are more familiar—deep-tissue massage, waxing, and a lineup of eight facials. The attention to detail that allows aestheticians to customize each of these facials to the client's skin type extends to the spa itself; when not being used for a service or as a practice surfboard, treatment tables are decorated with a pyramid of rolled towels topped with a flower.
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Time Out New York writer Laura Lanz-Frolio initially considered the cascading flowers and pink lighting inside Supple Spa’s sunset room somewhat kitschy. That all changed once her massage started. “None of this will matter once you’re facedown on the massage tables, covered in actual rose petals,” she wrote in her 2011 review of the city’s best couples-massage rooms. Each of the spa’s five treatment rooms feature a romantic theme––one resembles a Parisian terrace, while another looks exactly like Fabio––and folding partitions crinkle to reveal a second massage bed so that pairs can indulge together.
Supple Spa’s other services––facials, body scrubs, rose-infused bathwater soaks––garner equal praise from publications including New York Magazine. As they pull high-quality Dermalogica products, the spa’s technicians uphold their self-set level of opulence, which falls just shy of outfitting each client with a scepter. Supple’s confines, though decorated for couple’s retreats, also host spa parties for up to 10 guests.
Cindy Barshop may have a familiar face. She gained reality-TV fame as a cast member of The Real Housewives of New York City, but she found success much earlier when the Madison Avenue spa she founded more than 10 years ago grew into a hair-removal brand known throughout the country. Completely Bare’s waxing specialists dab bikini lines with the shop’s proprietary blend of ouch-less wax, which adheres to hair instead of skin to avoid the painful pull that often accompanies a waxing session. The blend is hypoallergenic and does not cause acne, which makes it ideal for depilating sensitive skin and touchy bodily zones. Routine waxing sessions add extra sparkle with the salon’s vajazzling service, which bedecks newly hair-free spots with up to 70 Swarovski crystals arranged into such shapes as hearts, stars, peace signs, and MPAA ratings. The spa specialists also migrate beyond the below-the-belt area to polish the rest of the body with facials, laser hair removal, spray tanning, and teeth whitening.
Well-being gets a well-rounded boost from Forever Young Sport Spa's more than 25 Pilates and yoga instructors, licensed massage therapists, aestheticians, and personal trainers, all of whom work together to calm bodies and minds with in-home and studio spa services. Skilled hands hush whining necks and shoulders with eight modalities of massage, including aromatherapy with eucalyptus, peppermint, and rosemary oils and a shiatsu technique that stimulates the body's meridians with pressure and acupuncture. Custom facials punch away at pore-clogging dirt and debris, and sauna wraps help remove toxins and boost metabolism.
Taught by nationally certified instructors, Pilates and yoga group classes include beginner and intermediate reformer, cardio boot camp reformer, advanced reformer, and studio mat classes. The spa's spacious studio complements the flowing movements with simple designs in pale, earthy tones. Additional personal-training sessions eliminate the need to paint muscles on otherwise nice T-shirts.
The founder of Shen Tao Studio, William Hedberg, named his business after a Chinese phrase evoking the wisdom acquired from studying the mind and body. His own studies began with an investigation of dance, gymnastics, athletics, and martial arts. William integrated his findings into a series of movement classes and a line of custom-built training equipment designed to leave you with “the simple experience of your own body." The studio's classes, workshops, and rehabilitation therapies lean on these minimalistic, modular structures to strengthen the mind-body connection in a playful style.
Shen Tao Studio holds its group and personal training sessions in a spacious studio with picture windows and hardwood floors unhindered by columns or cardboard cutouts of Star Wars bounty hunters. The space’s 14-foot ceilings amplify crystal-clear sonics projected by a Bose audio system.
Soluna Holistic Spa's owner Susu features an array of soothing services conducted using only chemical-free and certified-organic products. The welcoming staff strives to leave a small carbon footprint as they tiptoe toward guests with a cup of herbal tea or fruit-infused water, setting a relaxing mood with the scents of jasmine and myrrh and soft lighting. In addition to relaxing Swedish and detoxifying aromatherapy lymphatic techniques, licensed massage therapists perform a variety of signature bodywork treatments.
In keeping with the spa's green philosophy, Susu revitalizes skin with the fruit- and herb-filled Éminence Organic Skin Care line during facials and peels. Patrons can absorb the spa's natural surroundings from the gazebo that looks out to a tranquil garden behind the spa—an ideal spot to perfect bird calls.