This website lets you book a private massage in your home with a licensed massage therapist — here's what my experience was like
- Zeel connects you with licensed massage therapists in your area. Your masseuse will come to you — whether you're at home, in a hotel, or in the office. - You can book a massage any time between 8 a.m. and 10:30 p.m., 365 days per year. Masseuses are available in as little as an hour after you book, or up to 30 days in advance. - Prices vary by location, but it can be as low as $117 (tax and tip included) for a 60-minute massage at home. - I booked a massage for $175 (tax and tip included) through the service, and I had an extremely positive experience. - Use the code "Businessinsider" to get $25 off your first massage. Every time I arrive at an event that's meant to be relaxing — a massage, an upscale haircut — it's always with a light sheen of sweat. I got stuck on a subway underground, raced to my appointment in 80-degree heat to avoid a fee, and took the five floors at a runner's pace because the building's elevator is out. By the time I arrive, I'm so anxious — and so profusely apologizing to the receptionist — that I'm not really preparing myself to relax. Instead of unwinding and enjoying a treat, it ends up feeling like any other appointment on my calendar. So when I heard about Zeel, a service that lets you book relatively affordable, convenient massages with licensed therapists in your own home, I was intrigued. It could cut out the anxiety, stress, and commute that makes it hard to enjoy experiences that should — in theory — be enjoyed from beginning to end, especially for the high cost. How does Zeel work? 1. Pick what kind of massage you want: single, couple's, back-t0-back, or a chair massage. 2. Pop in your zip code and email. 3. Choose which type of massage you want (Swedish, deep tissue, prenatal, sports, sleep); the duration (60 minutes, 75 minutes, 90 minutes); and your gender preference for the therapist if you have one. 4. Log your address and any details about parking and/or directions to your home. 5. Choose a day for your massage (ranging from today to 30 days from now) and the time slot that works for you. 6. Add a credit card. There's no charge until the massage actually occurs, and there's free cancellation up to four hours ahead of your appointment. Once you're matched with a masseuse whose expertise and timing aligns with your needs, you can see their bio (including their professional license and certifications), and in the future, you can make special requests to work with the same therapist again. I also got texts with notifications about my massage — confirmation, and two day-of reminders: one in the morning, and one about an hour before my massage was set to begin. Where is Zeel available? Zeel is available nationally. Check your zip code here. What's it like to use Zeel in person? Zeel massage therapists bring all their own materials — a table, oils, music, and anything else they use during the massage — so the only things I needed on hand were a pillowcase and two sheets to cover the table. Other than that, all you have to do is be home at the time they're scheduled to arrive and have a 6-foot-by-10-foot space cleared for the massage table to fit. I got text reminders through Zeel, and my masseuse also texted me to check if there were any issues she should be aware of or any aspects I'd like to focus on prior to the massage. If your schedule is hectic, don't worry about the logistics beforehand — you can also just cover those factors when your masseuse arrives. My massage therapist showed up a few minutes early, set up the table in my apartment, and then went to wash her hands so as to give me some privacy to lay down on the table. If you can, plan ahead and wear a robe so your masseuse doesn't have to politely dawdle for too long. I had some trepidation over inviting a stranger into my apartment to massage me for an hour — as one does. But I really shouldn't have worried. My home is my most comfortable space, and masseuses with (in my case) decades of experience under their belts are pretty much masters at making other people feel comfortable. It turns out it's a pretty great combination. My therapist was exceptional — warm, knowledgeable, and very professional. She gave me ample time to change and get covered by the sheets (you can keep on underwear, shorts, or nothing — whatever you choose), gauged my comfort level throughout without ever disrupting the flow, and talked as little or as much as I showed interest in. In terms of how it stacked up to previous massages, the 60-minute Swedish massage itself was perfect — and just as good as any I've had before. Once finished and technically free to leave, my masseuse also took the time to show me custom stretches I could use to relieve my tension and answered all my lingering questions. And since the tip is included in the price — and there's zero expectation of you to exceed it — there was no awkward scrambling for cash or anxiety of whether it would be enough. I gave her a quick hug in thanks, she had the table and everything packed up in minutes, and we both continued on with our nights — me, already at home in my favorite robe and more relaxed than I'd been in months, and her on her way out. Within a minute of her leaving I had poured a glass of wine and turned on a show. After the massage, Zeel will have you rate the service and how likely you'd be to see the same masseuse again, and the option to provide more detail. Zeel also emails you a transparent receipt. I paid $175.82 total ($149 + an 18% tip of $26.82) and it says my massage therapist made $125. The only potential downside to my at-home massage was that I live in a busy, noisy neighborhood of New York City, and sometimes the external clamor was still audible over the soothing music. Ultimately, this wasn't a big deal, but you may want to consider if total isolation is worth heading into a spa instead, depending on where you live. My main advice would be to give yourself enough time to get home, put on a robe, and clear space for the table before your massage therapist arrives — that way you don't waste any time, and you get the full benefit from being in your comfortable space, minus all possible anxiety or stress. The bottom line Overall, the experience was overwhelmingly positive. It was effortless to book, took place in my home (no driving, no public transportation, no waiting rooms, no chance to lose the zen en route home), and my massage therapist was professional, warm, and effective. I'll likely book Zeel again as a gift for friends and family or a rare treat to myself. It's not cheap, but the convenience of your massage coming to you is worth it if you're able to comfortably afford the experience. It also may likely be cheaper than what's offered at your hotel, so it's a good option for traveling.