Places

New York, NY

May 12, 2015

Time and money are the two biggest obstacles in life. There may be no way to fix that or to suddenly make your income accommodate twice weekly massage but there is Graceful Services.

With two Manhattan locations and average prices ($100 for a 60-minute deep tissue) you’ll be gifted with day-of appointments and a reputable place. After a long day of class, walking, and a backpack loaded beyond reasonable capacity one recent Saturday, graceful I was not. At 5 p.m. the receptionist at the Second Avenue location booked me for a one-hour massage at 9 p.m. (the night’s last appointment). While I didn’t envy the therapist working those hours, my backache and growing migraine bowed to her. 

The massage earned recognition for being ambitious, comical for any flies on the wall, and for being exactly what it is; a deal. Like most deals, we have to give to get. Here, you give in details.

Walking in, all the luxury and calm that often connotes the word “spa” were absent. Perhaps the migraine impaired my vision, but it seemed that the photos on the web site and the facility itself were not…identical. The only things spa-like were the services offered; a variety of massage, acupuncture, and skin treatments.

Privacy is afforded only by hospital curtains complete with perforated top panel that create the treatment “rooms” for massage and often catch the breeze of someone walking past, in my case, just as I took off my pants. The massage tables are lined with paper and plastic storage bins beneath them replace coat hooks. You walk in, undress, throw it all in the bin, hop down onto the table, and get under the towel. Just be careful not to bump into the therapist who is working in the section next to you. 

But close your eyes and what does it matter, right? Betty, my therapist, wasted no time. She put what could have been motor oil on her hands and was off with a one-two warm-up that was stronger than many therapists at high-end spas. Next, her elbows were in my back, circling into the small of my back (and occasionally bones), sinking into my mid-back, stripping up over my shoulders, and outlining my shoulder blades. She kneeled on my glutes, pulled my limbs up to the ceiling, and even massaged my abdomen without being asked. The chatter of different Chinese dialects almost wasn’t a thought.

Would I have liked more concentration on the points in my neck that were causing my skull to throb? Sure. Would it have been nice if she noticed that I almost came off the table as my hamstrings went into spasm when she pushed and pulled my hips into large circles? Yes, very nice, actually. But the work did two things. One, it got my blood moving and relieved some tension. Two, it showed that the place knows its worth, delivering as much as its conveniences can afford.

Graceful Services
1095 2nd Avenue 2nd Floor
New York, NY, 10022
Phone 212 593 9904
Toll Free 866 447 2231

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