Asbury Park, NJ

Saturday. Rainy. October at the culture-dry Jersey Shore. Recovering from an early flu. It’s massage time.

Tao Massage, originally in Wannamassa, opened TAO in Asbury Park in the summer of 2014. Director Vivian Taormina is known on the local scene as one of the most proficient Ashiatsu Oriental Bar therapists and each room is set up to let her and other therapists give that awesome foot-administered therapy to you. But at TAO, a small staff of talented therapists go beyond Ashiatsu and massage. Sauna, flotation, Chinese cupping, skin care, are all currently offered.

On this dreary day, I had two-hour session with Andreas, who a friend said I “MUST BOOK NOW” via text message a few weeks before.

Andreas is fun. His technique is “go with it” artistic. But he’s serious about his work without trying to draw the ZenMaster mask or the super-pro, politically correct, be-your-own-best-advocate selfie. He’s tall, he’s flippant, and he’s strong. His one hand was big enough to make my swimmer-shoulders feel small. Using his own admission, Andreas likes work with a challenge, a primary “fix” to which he can tailor his deep-tissue, neuromuscular background.

After quick spatter of jokes, some of which I got, some I didn’t, he started in on my neck, which at the time, felt like it was made of glass. Little by little he warmed it up, started to move it, holding still at the fragile points until he was sure it wouldn’t shatter. From there, the massage held its ability and flair. He could go from holding a pressure point to a long Swedish swoop to a quick moment of Trager (primarily shaking). At one point, his forearms, like forklift blades, had my entire upper body lifted off the table. Draped in sheets, we probably looked like the cover of a romance novel. It’s hard not to laugh out loud at how easily boundless his practice is. You have to love it.

Umberto Taormina is TAO’s other male therapist and for as loosey-goosey as Andreas is, Umberto is classical and tight. And it is to his credit. Because it’s so comfortably his own style, he’s efficient. He had the privilege of my torqued back one day for 90 minutes and worked it out without torturing me while still giving the rest of my body a good therapeutic deep-flush.

Vivan and her team have made the space simple without feeling too bare and included spa amenities (showers!) into the smallish space. Vivian is one of smartest chicks in the game, always evolving. Word is that there will be communal hot tubs filling Tao’s the outdoor space in 2016.

Yes, please and thank you.

611 Bangs Ave
Asbury Park, NJ 07712
732 775 1550

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