It was a Wednesday night in February after a twelve-hour workday. Half frozen puddles soaked my socks on my walk home from the office. The four flights of stairs to my apartment unit felt more like four miles.
Welcome to New York!
On my entry-level couch, paid for by my entry-level job (that’s right, I’m a millennial!), I thought to myself, “How can I reset?”
The relaxation options raced through my mind:
A walk? I thought of the slushy rain outside, combined with loud construction and traffic… Hard pass.
Meditation? Over time, I am sure I could get the hang of that. But I was looking for something immediate.
A local spa? There was no way I could get a last-minute appointment.
What about massage on-demand? I had heard of Zeel from a friend of mine also in the media world. Now I was onto something.
How to get the best home massage?
I downloaded the Zeel app, which christened me into the world of massage therapy. Within seconds, I was texting real-time with a representative from Zeel. We discussed exactly I was looking for in my session, and we booked my massage for that same night, in my home.
From the moment I got my confirmation text to the moment I heard “knock-knock” on the door … only mild panic set in: How much skin am I going to have to expose here? Is this going to hurt? Is my apartment way too small for this?
Tanya was a kind professional. She introduced herself. She explained her work experience.
Okay. This is great. No worries for my first-ever massage.
work stress and overall life stress turned off, almost like a switch
During my one-hour session, work stress and overall life stress turned off, almost like a switch. First, half an hour of sports therapy. Kneading and working through athletic aches and pains (ones I didn’t even realize I had, from years ago!). Next, half an hour of Swedish style, to relax and unwind. Tanya let me listen to my favorite music on my iPhone, which was a nice touch.
My first-ever massage therapy session doubled as educational – how could I not ask million-and-a-half questions about the mechanics of the art?
Tanya and I discussed alignment and posture, and how the two are invariably intertwined. We talked about the long-term effects of ballet dancing on my muscles. We chatted about how Tanya first developed an interest in massage therapy (her grandmother suffered from severe arthritis. Tanya massaged her grandmother’s arms and legs to help relieve the pain.) And when I didn’t feel like chatting, Tanya was happy to let me focus on my music… just to be in my own world for a little while.
I couldn’t have felt safer
As a reminder, this was all in my own living room. Tanya, as all therapists from the Zeel network, brought a comfortable massage table and paired it with my own fresh linen. I couldn’t have felt safer.
When Tanya left, I felt like new. This was something I would do again.
The next morning, my Manhattan commute was still rainy and dreary… but somehow, it felt a little bit … brighter.
Cristina Gallotto is a masters candidate at The Fletcher School at Tufts University. Previously, she was an Associate Producer with CBS News' award-winning news show, “60 Minutes” and a writer for WCVB-TV in Boston.