You might have noticed that the menus of top spas tend to share a taste for multi-step, Asian-inspired spa rituals. So it was a relief, if not a stroke of genius, that the year-old Peninsula Spa in New York City has one based on deep tissue. Joining a menu of Yin Uplifters and Yang Soothers is the two-hour Deep Tissue Experience, which takes a Zen middle ground, going after your knots, your tight muscles, and the computer-caused crick in your neck (or thumbs). I know because I tried it as a de-stressor last month, when my body, sandwiched between the holidays, runs largely on canapés and cortisol.
You’d think we’d have seen ritual-like riffs on deep tissue massage before now, since, next to Swedish, it’s a favorite style with spa novices and PhDs alike. Further proof: It’s the Peninsula’s most popular treatment despite its pre-recession price tag: $465 for two hours. It comes with a ritual’s perks (a footbath and a choice of aromatherapy oil) and its procrastinations (two body scrubs). But my therapist Margarita stuck to the areas that specifically ailed me, so I felt like I got my massage-money’s worth. And at the finale, I could look over my shoulder painlessly.
If paying for the Deep Tissue Experience would cause you more stress than it can undo, the Peninsula’s 60-minute Holistic Massage (without the "Experience" bells and whistles) costs a reasonable $165 — but only if you book Monday through Thursday (it's $30 more on weekends, the spa's peak time). Because it's customized, you can ask your therapist for the deep-tissue moves. To really maximize the deal, get there early or stay late to use the steam, sauna, multi-jet experience shower.