In these times of economic crisis, you might think a massage is a luxury you cannot afford. But perhaps this is just the time when you need forceful hands to guide you to peaceful safety. Whether your neck is in knots from hunching over the computer to study your stock portfolio or you're a first-time recipient who wants to unwind after a trying week at home with the kids, there are plenty of places in the region for a good rubdown. And think of it this way: You're helping to stimulate the economy at the same time.
Frankie Says Relax
A warm bath, a CD with sounds from the rain forest and aromatherapy candles might do the trick at home, but leave pure relaxation to the pros. Take, for instance, the Raindrop massage ($55) by Partners in Transformation (8710 Choctaw Road, Suite 1A, 249-9638, partnersintransformation.com). Essential oils are dropped up the back like, well, raindrops, and then massaged into the body to remove stress and negative energy. Between the warm oils and the attention to your entire body, you'll practically melt off the table.
If you're not comfortable with a full-body massage, check out reflexology ($65 for one hour), available at Art of Massage & Relaxation (304-6797, marilynsumner.com), among other places. Reflexology restores balance to the body by stretching, moving and applying pressure to only the hands and feet. And if you only have 30 minutes to spare, treat the most overworked part of your body — your feet — with the "Stand on Your Feet All Day" Foot Rub ($50) at Therapeutic Massage Center and Boutique (27 Bollingbrook St., second floor, Petersburg, 722-1720, tmc-and-boutique.com).
Those looking for long-term results shouldn't try to pacify their weekend-warrior injuries with pain meds alone — a therapeutic massage can aid recovery. James River Massage Therapy (3108 N. Parham Road, 833-9313, jamesrivermassage.com) offers an orthopedic massage ($70 for 60 minutes) to address specific muscles, tendons and ligaments. The Therapeutic Swedish Massage ($75 for 60 minutes) at Escape Massage (3430 Pump Road, 270-2051, escapemassage.com) could help relieve the physical and mental side effects of everything from hypertension to migraines.
Therapeutic massage can be costly because it requires frequent treatments, but at Barry & Associates (3026-A W. Cary St., 355-5546), weekly clients receive $10 to $30 off of the regular massage price.
Glutton for Pain
If you think the "no pain, no gain" axiom applies only to exercise, then you haven't tried deep-tissue massage, which incorporates slower, deeper kneading to unlock seriously tense or kinked-up muscles. Most spas around town offer this style, including Secrets Day Spa & Salon (13485 Midlothian Turnpike, 379-8070, secretsdayspa.com), which features a 50-minute massage for $85.
For the benefits of deep-tissue massage with a little less pain, try a 60-minute Ashiatsu massage ($75) at Neat Feet Studio (2313-A W. Cary St., 380-6103, neatfeet.biz). Massage therapist Shannon Roberts stands on the client's back while holding onto two bars suspended from the ceiling. Assisted by her body weight, the therapist massages with her feet to stretch muscles and elongate the spine.