Four-Handed Massage, $220, at Woodhouse Day Spa
The Premise: This is what happened between three consenting adults at the luxurious Carmel location of Woodhouse Day Spa: Two massage therapists, double-teaming in perfect syncopation on opposite quadrants of my prone body, delivered an intense 80-minute massage session that sent me into a deep, nearly corpse-like state of relaxation.
The Process: My team of handlers walked me to a dimly lit room and instructed me to lie face-up under the blankets of the heated massage bed. Fresh from the gym, I told them that I tend to suffer from sore ankles post-treadmill. They nodded knowingly—silently communicating their plan of attack, I imagined. The session began with one at my feet, tapping the arches and rubbing my toes in tiny circles, and the other at my head, applying pressure to my temples and neck. My foot-handler gently folded my legs onto each other while the masseuse at my head hooked her arms around my shoulder and very gently, in a modified wrestling takedown hold, lifted me off the bed and pressed every bone in my upper body into its correct place. This went on and on, with the two women moving around the table like moisturized ninjas. Once flipped onto my stomach, I lost track of who was doing what. All I know is that the person working on my upper back pushed the limits of my medium-hard massage-pressure request and applied some good, Swedish-style elbow grease to the walnut-sized knots I keep back there. A massage novice might have winced. But I went to my happy place and breathed into the pressure, because I knew it would be worth it later, when the benefits of all this manhandling set in. And I was right.
The Vibe: A hive of quiet, private rooms decorated in calming moss tones and chandeliers.
The Result: First of all, I have been ruined. Never again will a regular two-handed massage do for me. But the four-handed method, which Woodhouse calls its “famous signature service,” is no gimmick. The results are intense. Kinks removed and a sense of euphoria instilled, I walked taller for the rest of the day.
Before You Go: Use the bathroom. Eighty minutes is longer than you think.
Wish We’d Known: About the many package deals offered at this spa, part of a national franchise.
Bonus Tip: Pack your dry shampoo. An amazing head massage is an essential part of this session. You will need to freshen up before reporting back to the office.
Try This If: You have a very understanding partner.
See woodhousespas.com for locations