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Phone app, Soothe
I used to half joke that my dream was to have a woman under my desk who could give me mani/pedis when I didn’t have time to go to the nail salon. That day might be coming sooner than we think considering how in demand on-demand services have become. Between groceries and liquor, takeout and transportation, there’s an app for just about everything. It was only a matter of time before a massage was just a swipe away, too.
After making its initial debut in L.A. in 2013, Soothe recently brought its massage services to the Twin Cities. The concept is simple and the experience addictively slick: Simply download the Soothe app, select the type of massage (Swedish, sports, deep tissue, prenatal) and the desired length (60, 90, or 120 minutes), and a certified therapist can be on your doorstep in as little as an hour. Appointments are offered from 8 a.m. until midnight, seven days a week, leaving little excuse to not treat yourself.
What is it like to get a massage in your home, office, or hotel room? Not as zen as I had hoped. For starters, I felt compelled to clean my house beforehand. My therapist was waiting in my driveway a full 20 minutes early when I arrived home. Nothing like hurrying up to relax. I quickly stripped down while she set up the massage table and cued the spa music—on her iPhone, natch.
I had booked a deep-tissue massage, the most popular treatment in this area according to Soothe. The treatment itself was perfectly lovely and professional-grade. Like Uber, Soothe’s therapists are certified, fully vetted independent contractors. I was especially impressed that mine adapted so easily to a new environment, moving seamlessly around my living room and my very curious Labrador retriever (see sidebar).
I’ve had a lot of massages, and the Soothe experience confirmed that, for me, the best massages are as much about the technique as the surrounding details—the fluffy robes, herbal tea, roaring fire. But I also have the luxury of taking two hours out of my day to go to the spa. If I were a working parent or a corporate executive, for example, Soothe might be the app I’ve been daydreaming about. Instead, I’ll be holding out for on-demand nail services (hint hint). Soothe is available via iOS or Android app, at soothe.com, and also 800-960-7668 during business hours.
Here’s my advice to maximize your in-home massage.
- Close the blinds and crank up the heat. Your table won’t be heated and your house is probably a good 10 degrees cooler than the average spa.
- Move furniture to make room for the massage table, which is larger than you might think.
- Have extra blankets and a chair on hand for your therapist who will be traveling light.
- Make a plan for pets and kids if they’ll be roaming free during your appointment. My dog thought the face cradle was a game. NOT relaxing.
- Select a therapist you’ll be comfortable having in your home. I often see male body workers but opted for a female.
- Keep in mind that Soothe is a tip-free zone. Like Uber, tax and gratuity are included in the price, so there are no awkward money moments.