“Shall we?” asked Awakening New York massage therapist, Ira Macner, and with that, I was whisked away to a candle-lit room with an atmosphere that started melting the stress, long before I even got to the massage table.
The appointment at the Manhattan Avenue spa couldn’t have come at a better time. My back was killing me, a visit to the Feast of the Giglio was in the offing and my newborn son had kept me up the whole night before, leaving my nerves a tangled mess. Besides, it’s summer, a notoriously slow news period (a dirty diaper in McCarren Pool notwithstanding) and I was happy to have something to write about.
I arrived for my appointment brimming with excitement, but first, a two page disclaimer needed to be completed. I hurriedly checked off yes or no to a multitude of questions about my health, promised not to make any sexual advances towards Ira, signed on the bottom line and it was time for my “Signature Massage,” the treatment chosen for me by Ira and spa owner, Mariola Zaremba.
Awakening’s Signature Massage is designed to eliminate the confusion of selecting an appropriate massage from a large number of choices. The therapist employs any modality with which he or she is familiar and blends them to individualize the treatment. My Signature Massage incorporated Kriya, Sports, Swedish and Deep Tissue Massages with Tui Na, Reiki and Reflexology on my feet. For my therapy, Ira included Aromatherapy, typically not part of the Signature Massage.
“The notion is that the nose knows,” explained Ira. “If it smells nourishing, it’s probably something your body needs.” Of the three essential oils offered, I chose peppermint and Ira blended it into the massage oil. The flavor, I later learned, helps ease muscle aches, a great choice for my aching lower back. The different techniques she used gave my parasympathetic nervous system – what our cells need to start repairing themselves – a boost and my muscles a much-needed tension reduction.
For ninety minutes, Ira worked her magic. Thumbs and elbows hit tension spots resulting in therapeutic pain and post treatment pleasure. Hot towels, strategically applied, brought out the healing powers of the oils. When it was over, my sore muscles were so relaxed, it was hard to get off the table, but with the Giglio waiting just a few blocks away, off I went.
Before leaving, Ira outlined the things I needed to sustain the good feeling I was walking out with. She recommended more rest and a healthy dose of stretching, as well as a weekly massage for the next four weeks. “Once we learn what we feel like when we’re not holding tension, it becomes easier for us to get back to that place ourselves,” she instructed. She should know. Ira has been a massage therapist for a decade. She received her training at the Swedish Institute and after licensing continued studying Thai Massage, Reflexology and Reiki. She also teaches massage at the Finger Lakes School of Massage in Mt. Kisco, NY.
Besides its Signature Massage, Awakening New York boasts a huge number of spa services, fitness classes, counseling and a café that is becoming a Manhattan Avenue destination in its own right. For a list of their offerings or to schedule an appointment, call 718-349-1380. You can also check them out on the web at http://awakeningny.com/.
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