What It's REALLY Like To Get A B*tch Massage

Photo: weheartit
What It’s Like To Get A Bitch Massage

I have b*tchy tendencies, so it only seemed appropriate.

I'm a massage aficionado. I work on the computer 24/7 and I live in the hectic-as-hell borough of Manhattan, so yes: de-stressing is a MUST — and my favorite way to do that is a good, old-fashioned rub-down.

So when I heard about something called the "bitch massage" being offered at Haven Spa in Soho — the same place that's known for their famous "geek" massage — I knew I had to try it. After all, I'm a nice person most of the time. But I've been known to have a bitchy streak at times, too. 

(By the way, I consider the term "bitch" a compliment, just so you know where I stand.)

On the day of appointment, I arrived about 15 minutes early. I checked in with the receptionist, who was lovely and welcoming, and she led me to the dressing room to change into a plush robe that was so comfy I wanted to steal it. I restrained myself.

(A quick note on the décor, which has nothing to do with the bitch massage, but should be noted: As you enter the spa, it feels like you're walking underneath the stars. The narrow hallway walls are jet black, save for twinkly lights on the ceiling. Couple that with low mood lighting and the whole ambiance feels very Vincent Van Gogh's "Starry Night." I was a big fan.)

After a quick session in the steam room (free, included with massage), Lara, my masseuse — a tall woman with blunt, jet-black bangs — greeted me and showed me to the room. She explained that the "bitch massage" came to be because in the past she struggled to find stress relief through current massage options ("Swedish was just not cutting it!"); thus, she decided to develop her own technique: a mix of aromatherapy, heat, acupressure, and Chinese massage strokes.

Until this experience, I'd only experienced classic massage, sans heat or aromatherapy, so I was intrigued but also a little nervous: Would it be aggressive? Would I be slapped around a bit?  Would I leave with bruises? Lara assured me that the experience was nothing like I had ever experienced for — and she was right. 

A few observations about the bitch massage:

  • I never want to have a massage without aromatherapy ever again! The fresh, yummy smells Lara used combined with massage takes relaxation to a whole new, blissful level. They say scent triggers memories and I felt my mind take me to a beach on St. Bart's, which was lovely, even just in my imagination.
  • I needn't had worried about Lara's pressure being too strong. She used just enough strength where I was neither in pain nor needed to kindly ask her to go harder. (Though I'm sure she would've — she was very receptive to my comfort being the first priority.) And remember: The whole massage is NOT about getting slapped around; it's about getting the "bitch" (i.e. stress, knots) out of you. So don't be scared.
  • I'm not sure what sort of heat method Lara used, but it was WAY better than those flimsy, warmed-up washcloths most places use that turn cold after about 30 seconds. Again, the warmth sensation: Think beach in St. Bart's. And in the middle of January? Yes, please.
  • Lara's ability to target pressure points on my body was both therapeutic and pleasurable; I actually felt my back and shoulders start to loosen up mid-massage, which is amazing for someone who sits at a desk all day and whose posture is only so-so. It's a very different sensation than just being rubbed down. It feels more targeted and purposeful (which it is), like she was getting the knots out, rather than just gliding her hands over them.

Ultimately, it was a fantastic, soothing, reinvigorating experience — and there's nothing negative I can say about it. (And I'm a bitch, so that's saying something.)

Intrigued yet? Book your bitch massage at Haven Spa. $140 for 60 minutes, $165 for 90 minutes.


Explore YourTango