photo via englishrussia.comBy Crabby McSlacker
So this post is mostly about an in-home massage I got to partake of, courtesy of Soothe Massage. Although fortunately it was not quite as acrobatic as the one pictured above!
Soothe is not just a local San Diego thing, or reviewing it wouldn't make much sense, would it? No, the company currently operates in a handful of sunny locations, but it plans to take over the world and promises to be in a major city near you before too long. Of course, this being Cranky Fitness, you can bet the review will include not only my take on the service, but the usual bizarre digressions.
And guess what? ... This post also contains a sneaky shoe giveaway!
It appears that the awesome Altra running/walking shoes went unclaimed when our last giveaway winner failed to check in. So unless I receive some fairly convincing evidence of an email snafu, I'm going to have another go at it.
Notice how I didn't mention the shoe giveaway in the title this time? I'm thinking this is going to be a small, homey affair. Unfortunately, you need a U.S. mailing address, sorry. But this drawing is directed more at regular visitors who just happen to stop by and comment below. Why? Because you are not only more beloved and deserving than random giveaway passers-by, but you are also way more likely to show up again in a week to claim your prize!
Anyway, so, let's get to it!
Massage Health Benefits
image via mattstone
- Digestive disorders.
- Insomnia related to stress.
- Myofascial pain syndrome.
- Paresthesias and nerve pain.
- Soft tissue strains or injuries.
But while I suffer from some of these conditions myself, this is not why I get massages. In fact, for some weird reason, I don't find they do much for me therapeutically. Sometimes they make my sore muscles feel slightly looser and mellower; often times I'm even more sore afterwards, but either way, the effects are so temporary I'd be as well off taking a few ibuprofen, which is way cheaper. Or there are other ways to pursue therapeutic goals, like foam rollers or other gadgets.
(Actually, considering I let a handsome young stranger into my home and got naked with him while he was paid for his time, all the while my hardworking spouse was off on a business trip... hmm, I guess it WAS kinda like hiring a hooker!)
Sorry, were you expecting a normal tasteful blog review post? Did you forget this was Cranky Fitness?
Oh, and speaking of massages, I almost forgot: we had a great guest post a while back from Malevolent Andrea on "Ten Things Your Massage Therapist Wants You to Know," which you should definitely check out if you have massage-related questions. The whole farting question for example? She's got that covered.
The Soothe In-Home Massage Review
I got my 90 minute massage for FREE!!!! Wheee!! However, I am fully capable of looking a gift horse in the mouth, so be assured I will be honest about both negatives and positives.
Soothe cuts out the middleman by sending a participating massage therapist, who may also work elsewhere but is free at the moment, to your home or hotel. So there is no fancy spa overhead. This means, according to the company but I didn't grill the handsome young stranger for confirmation, that the therapist gets to keep a lot more of the money than is typical at a brick and mortar spa.
You book online, and choose the gender of your therapist, type of massage etc. (I went with no preference for gender and opted for a deep tissue massage.) You can set something up fairly last minute, and they may even be able to send someone out within an hour. The massage therapist brings the table and lotion and linens; any new-age music or cucumber water you require you will have to supply yourself. Currently they operate in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, Miami, Phoenix/Scottsdale and Austin.
What Was Pretty Great about the Massage Experience
The massage therapist was skilled and knowledgeable. I am a high-maintenance massage consumer with various injuries and preferences and I got a very customized massage. Plus my therapist recommended some specific stretches to help with my back problems that I hadn't tried before--and I didn't think there was anything short of hara-kiri that I haven't tried yet.
The company seems well run. You get confirmation and reminder texts, as well as updates if your therapist is running late. It feels like there are actual friendly competent people behind the website coordinating and ensuring quality control; it's not just an app randomly hooking up therapists and clients.
Rates are not outrageous and include travel time and gratuity. The price for a 60 minute massage is $99; a 90 minute massage is $139 and a 120 minute is $169. For some folks that may seem expensive, and for others it may seem totally reasonable. It's quite a bit more than I pay for my regular guy, but I would definitely consider this option when traveling. The included gratuity thing is especially awesome, because I always find the tipping part awkward. I never seem to have the guts to tip less for a crappy massage that a good one anyway, so having it already taken care of in advance takes the angst out of it.
You don't have to leave your house to get your massage, it comes to you. You save transit time of course, but this also means if you remember to keep your bathrobe handy, you don't have to get back into your street clothes when you are all slippery and smelly with lotion, you can head directly to the shower. You also don't have to try to get yourself home when you are so relaxed you can barely put one foot in front of the other. Finally, if you get swollen disfigured eyes like I do from lying face down, you do not have to expose these to the general public.
The whole thing feels quite wholesome. Despite all my hooker-talk above, there is nothing the least bit sleazy about the experience. You can choose a therapist of your own gender and do not have to be entirely naked if that's not comfortable for you. The therapists are vetted, and feedback from clients is enthusiastically encouraged, so it seems like a model that would keep the quality high. This is a great option when you are traveling, because a quick perusal of Craig's List ads indicates that the outcall massage industry sometimes has something of a seamy side.
The downside of a massage coming to you, is that someone else is in charge of deciding how long it takes to travel from point A to point B. I would sooner be late for a meeting with the President of the United States than I would a massage appointment, so I always arrive early when I'm in control.
So yeah, the Soothe Dude ran into traffic and was half an hour late. The behind-the-scenes folks texted my after about 10 minute to let me know he was running late, and it didn't cut into our time, so no big deal.
The other confusion was that he thought I had a 60 minute massage, and I had to correct him at the end. I still got my extra 30 minutes, but it meant he flipped me too early, and towards the end it felt like he was improvising a bit.
But he did a nice job and was really nice and very apologetic and it was still overall a great massage.
Very Positive! At home I'm not in the market, having my own regular massage guy who is awesome, but if I were vacationing in a city where Soothe operates? I'd totally go for it. The price is cheaper and more convenient than a fancy spa, and yet not as potentially funky as a Craig's List search.
And Now Onto the Altra Shoe Re-Giveaway:
As you may recall, Cranky Fitness recently hosted a giveaway of some awesome zero-drop "foot-shaped" shoes, and the winner gets to choose whatever Altra pair they like best. For more info on the shoes, see the Altra review post.
I'll be announcing a new random winner Monday March 9, and if you win you'll have a week to get back to me by emailing crabby mcslacker at gmail dot com.
If no one claims them this time, then the hell with the random drawing, I will ARBITRARILY PICK A WINNER MYSELF and hunt them down and make sure they get the shoes.
Got any thoughts on massage? Love 'em or not so crazy about having strangers touch you? Or hey, want some Altra shoes?