Stress Relief for the Masses:
The Swedish Institute & The Aveda Institute

The leaves are changing and your coat is so last season, with some of last season’s leftover holes in the lining. Your roommate and her boyfriend have decided to share both their epic fights and their equally epic *ahem* make-up sessions through your thin bedroom walls, and your hunt for a paying job has gotten to the point where you’re considering answering the ads looking for “evening companions” on Craigslist.

I think we can all agree you deserve a break.

We at are not immune to the stresses of the economy or, let’s face it, just being a New Yorker is stressful…so we’ve looked into a couple of the city’s best kept secrets for where to get body and soul soothing treatments. For all you city girls who are strapped for cash and on the brink of insanity, any one of the fantastic options at these two little-known establishments could be just what the doctor ordered. Think of them as the sample sales of spa treatments.

Swedish Institute:

Cleverly working undercover as a nearly century old college of Health Sciences, The Swedish Institute in Chelsea is one of the best places to get that reoccurring stress knot kneaded out of your neck by a trained professional. While the clinic is located unobtrusively on the 5th floor of an easily overlooked office building, the services offered within are worth a second look. The Swedish Institute conducts three clinics per semester: the Stress Reduction Clinic, for generally healthy people who just need a good rubdown, the Therapeutic Massage Clinic, where masseurs work to ease a specific injury or ailment of the patient, and the Yu Wen Acupuncture Clinic, where acupuncture and other clinical techniques including cupping are used to balance mind, body, and spirit.

Each of these clinics is taught in 6-12 sessions and are given in dimly lit rooms with curtains separating each bed from the next. About fifteen patients are worked on at a time in each classroom, and each session is supervised by a teacher intermittently throughout the massage. The cost, at the most, is $360 for the entire package. When you think about how much you spent on your last pair of uncomfortable (yet fabulous) heels, a massage for about $30 might sound like one of the smartest financial moves you could make for a long time. For more information on the clinic and how to reserve a spot, visit their website ( and fill out a registration form for the clinic you’re interested in.

The Aveda Institute:

Most of us know of Aveda, one of the leading brands in natural beauty, hair, and skincare. And yet, few of us know about the magic of The Aveda Institute (, where underpaid and overstressed individuals can treat themselves to some world-class pampering. Located on the outskirts of SoHo, the Aveda Institute might look like any old Aveda retail store, but behind the scenes hides a bustling full service salon and spa.

The menu of treatments at the Aveda Institute is both varied and affordably priced, a favorite being the Elemental Facial for Self Renewal, 90 minutes of facial bliss that includes a scalp and foot massage for only $50. The Aveda Institute also offers back treatments, waxing, and hair care for as much as you’d expect to pay your half-blind local barber with the unpronounceable name and killer breath. Appointments fill up fast, so the more flexible you are with dates and times the sooner you’ll be on your way to a knot-free back and a much calmer outlook on the crowded rush hour subways.

New York isn’t the easiest town to live in. Most of us sit at our desks for hours a day with our shoulders hunched to our ears, while our skin dries to an iguana-like texture on our faces. Treating ourselves to some stress relief therapy shouldn’t cost the same as the electric bill, and thankfully the Swedish and Aveda Institutes are doing their best to make sure we can all enjoy a little pampering every now and then, no matter what the status of our bank account.

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