Nobody will mistake Mountain Therapeutics for an ancient Buddhist temple, but the two have more in common than one might think. This is all thanks to licensed massage therapists David Schoenberg and business partner Marisa DelMonaco, whose mutual interest in Buddhist teachings led them to master traditional Thai yoga massage. With a history that stretches back three millennia, this form of bodywork requires a deep commitment on the therapist’s part. This did not deter David. If anything, he was attracted to the ways in which Thai yoga massage exemplifies the Buddhist principles of kindness and compassion.
Today, David administers the slow, rhythmic strokes of Thai yoga massage within the serene confines of their shared studio. When he isn’t using their thumbs, palms, elbows, and feet to seek out sen—or energy—lines across the body, he works to alleviate chronic pains with neuromuscular therapy and increase muscles’ range of movement with myofascial therapy. Considering the holistic emphasis of most of their massages, it’s not surprising that he also offers detoxifying colonics and nutritional coaching to ensure that clients aren’t getting all of their iron from anvil shavings.
Rubbing muscles in the same direction as the blood flowing to the heart, massage therapist use the various techniques in Swedish massage to promote overall wellness and relaxation. This stands as just one of the several diverse massage styles available at Essence Holistic Center, which offers both massage therapy and holistic care.
"Liberation Yoga is founded on the belief that every human being can and should be free." This motto sums up the philosophy of Liberation Yoga, while the center's practices put the motto into motion. Here, students can free themselves of stress and tension during classes that incorporate the mind-body-spirit connection through deep breathing, core-strengthening moves, and meditation. By practicing the ancient technique, students can also lower their risk of heart attacks and relinquish dependencies while increasing their self-awareness and sense of community with other practitioners. These benefits extend outside of classes as well. In the Wellness Center, visitors can further their healing during massage and reflexology sessions, reducing muscle aches and calming their minds from mentally cursing their muscle aches.
Skinny Buddha helps clients achieve balance and healthfulness in life with fitness classes and a menu of organic meals. Head chef Elyce Jacobson prepares healthy, organic foods and orchestrates catering services, and certified personal trainer and fitness nutrition specialist Shaka Davidson leads small-group exercise classes and one-on-one training sessions.
After a year of living in the corporate-communications world, Sabita knew she needed to change paths. Like a baseball player who runs to first every time he swings, she felt herself becoming too aggressive. In order to reconnect with her inner empathy and sense of place in the world, she decided to commit herself to taking care of others. With that desire in mind, she became a massage therapist and holistic-health counselor and opened the Sabita Holistic Center in 2003 to surround herself with like-minded professionals.
Celebrating their 10th year of business, Sabita and her staff heal guests of all ages and needs with holistic techniques, such as guided meditation, massages specifically tailored to elderly guests, and self-esteem workshops. In addition to leading the classes and workshops, doctors meet with guests to prescribe holistic treatment plans that incorporate Western and Eastern methods. The center even purveys its own beverage: Sabita Tea. It's a kosher-certified organic line that comes in varieties such as peppermint white tea, nutmeg white, and anise—which comes from the eponymous seed-producing plant.
Traditionally, all that's required of people getting a massage is to lie down and be quiet. Not true with the Thai massages at Thai Serenity Spa. During Thai massages, fully clothed clients lie on a mat on the floor while massage therapist Natwadee "Juju" Rattanasriampipong, LMT —who trained at the Taralai Thai Massage School in Bangkok—stretches their bodies by pulling limbs, lifting upper bodies up off the floor, and sometimes even rolling bodies over atop her own. All the while, she uses her palms, fingers, elbows, knees, and feet to activate pressure points, releasing tension and boosting energy flow throughout the body.
Natwadee is trained in plenty of other massage styles, including sports, prenatal, and hot stone. Aside from smoothing knotted muscles, she can smooth silhouettes with Lipo-Light Pro body contouring treatments that use 16 pads of LED light to emulsify fat cells. It may sound clinical, but she performs the sessions in her cozy massage studio in Cos Cob.