Spa

By Erin Williams

Valentine’s Day is long gone, but we don’t need a holiday to pamper our partner, do we? How about something that would soothe your tired body as well as your honey’s, but won’t break the bank? It’s not that they’re not worth it, but who can resist a deal? This way you can take them to dinner too and upgrade from the dollar menu at Wendy’s.

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Graceful Services is located near the madness of the Queensboro Bridge in Manhattan, but when you walk in the door all of the chaos slips away as you’re invited into this tranquil place. The warm air hits you as you open the door and soft music plays in the background. The lobby is quite small and the whole place exudes a “no frills” attitude, but a warmth nonetheless. Everyone I met was exceptionally gracious and thoughtful.

A word about the training – both men and women work at the spa and are trained by owner, Grace MacNow, who moved from China where she studied massage. Her method employs Swedish, Shiatsu, and Chinese deep tissue massage; in order to ‘get on the floor’, therapists must not only have a license but must pass the test of giving her a massage. Grace believes in a Yin and Yang balance and for this reason prefers to pair a female client with a male masseuse and visa versa, but will accommodate whatever the client prefers. Another interesting point in her teachings is that she wants her therapists to work with the music that softly plays throughout the rooms. A kind of dance happens as they push and pull different parts of your body organically with the rise and fall of the notes. Reliance on not just physical but internal energy is key in her practice and the give and take is reflected on that level as well.

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Needless to say, it feels really good. I ended up with a woman as my masseuse. She hopped right up on the table with me and worked out all sorts of kinks without being too intense. She worked on my legs, arms, back, shoulders, and neck while I was on my stomach and then she did a lovely scalp massage. Had my beau joined me, we would have been placed in the new Red Couple’s Suite, which uses a screen to divide the space, but allows couples to see each other’s faces. If you go by yourself, curtains enclose each space.

For Valentine’s they offered a special, selling a 60 Minute Body Scrub and a 60 Minute Massage for $120. Yes, you heard right, $120 for two hours of happiness, and that offer still stands. A couple of other stand outs are the Four Hands Session, where two therapists give you love and attention at once, and Gua Sha, a massage technique that focuses on helping to cure pain, stiffness, fever, chill, cough, and nausea, not that it’s winter or anything. You can get nearly anything you want here – a hot stone massage, facials, reflexology, acupuncture, hydrotherapy, and even laser hair removal.

You may not want to share so much at this point, but at their prices you can certainly afford to. As Grace says, “We have the best technique, the best price, and the best service.” How can you afford NOT to go?!

Graceful Services
1097 Second Avenue
New York
212.593.9904
www.gracefulservices.com

Originally published March 2006
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