This Wellness App Is The Easiest Way To Bust Stress At Home
I book regular, weekly massages on Friday nights for a couple of reasons. First, I get pretty bad back pain whenever I travel on a plane, which lately has been regularly. And second, they’re just so affordable and accessible where I live in New York City—and a really nice way to end the week and reset for the weekend. My self-care regimen probably sounds indulgent to some, but I look forward to that 45-minute massage all week, and rarely miss my standing Friday evening appointment. I really only have one issue with the routine, and it happens when the massage is over—that moment the lights go on, you fumble for the tip awkwardly, and suddenly you’re turned out onto the street, bleary-eyed, confused, and scouting the nearest subway downtown. It takes me all of thirty seconds riding the ACE line before any post-massage zen has completely dissipated—and with it, all hopes of a relaxed Friday evening. “I just wish someone would give me a back massage at home,” I complained to my boyfriend after trudging back through the snow from the masseuse on Friday night. He looked at me incredulously before reminding me we live in Manhattan, a city where you can have everything from groceries to a 55 gallon tub of lube (really!) delivered at just about any hour of the day or night. “Of course you can get a massage at home!” he said. So I trawled Google and discovered Zeel. Since launching in 2012, the mobile massage app has expanded quickly, and now work with over 8,000 licensed massage therapists in 60 cities. I felt a little unsure about having a stranger in my apartment—more because I’m allergic to awkward small talk than because I’m worried about my safety—so reached out to the founders for some insight. “We interview all potential Zeel massage therapists in person,” they assured me. “We review and ensure they’re currently licensed in their state of practice—[we check]references, insurance, and assess experience.” After each massage, customers rate therapists on a scale of one to five stars, and apparently 95 percent of Zeel ratings are four and five stars. OK, so the chances of welcoming a violent criminal into my home are low, but what about the likelihood of cringeworthy chat? I downloaded the app to find out. Once you’re in Zeel, the app prompts users to scroll through and select preferences—a female masseuse and deep tissue massage for me—and pick a date and time. Within minutes the confirmation alert came through with details about the upcoming appointment and instructions to have some clean sheets and a pillow case ready to go. The Zeel therapist would bring the rest. The therapist—let’s call her Sandra—arrived exactly on time and unfolded her massage table in my living room. Using my sheets she made the table up, put on a soothing, spa-like playlist through her phone, and waited in the bathroom while I undressed and got on the table. So far, awkwardness levels were at a minimum. The treatment itself was great. I like firm pressure, and Sandra delivered on the promise of a super deep tissue massage. Afterwards, there was no fumbling for the tip or bleary-eyed dash for the subway. Just Sandra discretely folding her table and slipping out the front door while I relocated to the couch for a snap. The experience was blissful, and I rebooked my next appointment within days. Prices start at $99.12 for 60 minutes, which includes 18 percent gratuity. It’s a little more expensive than my regular place, but I really feel the at-home experience is worth it. Also, folks like me who get regular massages can opt into a membership option that gives you a 20 percent discount while charging for one treatment each month, which you can use to buy gift cards for others if you wish. Right now you can use Zeel in 50 US cities, so chances are there’s a therapist in your neighborhood right now, ready to deliver the world’s best massage right in your living room.