By Michael Patrick
With another several hundred miles logged on my road bicycle this summer – no, really, I swear! – my shoulders, back, and legs were in dire need of some TLC this past month. It’s been almost a year since I’ve had a massage, which is far, far too long for anyone, particularly a stellar athlete such as myself (ahem.) Enter The Sports Club LA’s Splash Spa, a mid sized spa with a full services menu of massage, facials, waxing and body treatments.
I entered the club’s sleek modern entrance, with high hopes of seeing a celeb or two and perhaps some financial fat cats that I could pass along a resume to (just kidding!) While there were no celeb sightings this time around, I will say that an aura of wealth and general well-being emanated from nearly every member in the facility. I did my best to soak it in.
The spa’s entrance is a tad awkward, located in the men’s locker room, with a stern looking security guard posted nearby, who looked very happy to have CNN and CNBC as a distraction while half naked men strolled around the room. However, the staff was friendly and professional and they greeted me with a smile, offering a folded terrycloth robe, plastic sandals and a locker key to stash my belongings. I was directed downstairs to the men’s locker room to change into the robe, which had sadly seen better days (but don’t let the robe scare you, it’s a small criticism for an otherwise superb experience.) I was mentally prepared for relaxation, getting into my zone, pants around my ankles, when I realized that I had left my wallet at a restaurant nearby and flew into a panic.
I left the spa, apologizing profusely to staff, and hustled my ass back to the restaurant around the corner. Blessedly, a gracious and kind New Yorker had handed my Gucci over to the staff, contents intact. PHEW! At this point, I found myself wondering if should toss out the idea of a deep tissue sports massage, and go strictly for a relaxing Swedish at this point – my heart rate had clearly been elevated and I didn’t know how quickly I’d be able to relax.
Fortunately, it was a quiet and calming sanctuary when I returned to the Splash Spa and finally entered the massage room. I was greeted by Kimberly, a massage therapist with over fifteen years of experience, who led me to the treatment room, complete with bamboo plants, flickering candles, a two foot tall Buddha and light ethereal music. Immediately, all of my prior stress and worries melted away.
Kimberly communicated well as a masseuse, asking if I had any trouble spots or injuries that she should know about and giving me direction on how to communicate best with her during the treatment. She started my Deep Tissue Massage on my right side, slightly separating my muscles from the spine. Next were strong slow sweeping ulna presses that seemed to melt my tense arm muscles. Within 10 minutes the entire right side of body was quite relaxed – an interesting comparison with my untouched left, which still felt quite tight and tense. I couldn’t believe the difference! Kimberly had an immediate awareness of my trouble spots and focused strong finger and elbow presses to encourage more blood flow. I have had many Swedish massages in the past, but for a proper sports massage, definitely go with deep tissue. It aids in the removal of toxins (drink a lot of water following your treatment to flush your system) and immediately alleviates tension.
After 60 minutes, I left the massage room with relaxed muscles, a sense of peace and an eagerness to get back on that bike!
The Sports Club LA is located at 330 E 61st St. For an appointment at the Splash Spa, call 212.355.5100.