If you feel out of place and uneasy, consider a service that brings the masseuse to you. Soothe is just one of the on-demand massage apps sprouting up around the country, We gave it a try in hopes of answering all your burning questions. Here’s what it was really like to let a stranger in our home for an hour-long rubdown.
Soothe is an on-demand massage service. What that means is you can book a massage (deep tissue, Swedish, sports, and prenatal for the ladies) in as little as an hour, and a masseuse will come to you—whether you’re at home, in a hotel, or in need of some R&R at the office.
If you’re a little leery about giving an absolute stranger your address, bringing them into your home, then letting your guard way down (you are naked, after all) as they more or less marinade your body with essential oils, chill. You’re not the only one with these trepidations.
Soothe realized this at its inception. Every masseuse has been vetted (hello, background check) and is, indeed, a certified massage therapist. In fact, only a third of applicants are accepted. That said, do what you’ve got to do to feel safe and relaxed (the whole point of this service). If that means having a buddy call when your hour is up to make sure you’re alive and well, so be it. (P.S. I did this my first time.)
How It Works
Booking your massage is simple: Download the app. Fire it up, and create an account.
Now you’ll select what kind of massage you want, whether you’re looking for an office shoulder rub (no, you can’t get stark naked in your office and get a total-body massage), if you want a couples massage, and/or if you’d like to rebook a therapist you’ve had before.
You’ll indicate whether you want a male or female masseuse, the length of your massage (60, 90, or 120 minutes), and select the time (Soothe operates from 8 a.m. to midnight, seven days a week, in select cities). If you live in a major city with difficult parking, leave a note for the mausseuse on the app detailing where to go (you’ll have to pay if there’s a meter or parking garage).
Like you, I had a barrage of questions about the etiquette of an on-demand, in-home massage. Do I answer the door in a robe? Is lighting candles and dimming the lights super freaking creepy? Should I offer my masseuse a beverage?
(P.P.S I did all three.)
What I learned: Treat your masseuse like a guest, but don’t feel bashful. They’ll appreciate a glass of water and some small talk while they set up the table (they provide sheets, music, and all matter of oils and lotion). Hate small talk? Use this time to discuss the areas you’d like them to focus on; note if you have any injuries; talk about the type of pressure you like; and indicate what you’d like to get out of the experience (like if you want help to recover from training strains, work out a kink, or just relax).
If you’re comfortable keeping your boxers or briefs on, that’s cool. But if you wanna ditch the duds, the masseuse will leave the room to wash their hands while you undress and get under the sheet.
Why We Like It
I’m currently training for a ~150-mile, multi-stage mountain bike tour. Needless to say, my lower body was in shambles. I opted for a 60-minute deep-tissue massage, but should’ve done 90 minutes (lesson learned).
My masseuse was brilliant.
He quickly assessed my entire body and recommended we focus on my legs, giving a little attention to my shoulders and back. I agreed and he got to work, kneading adhesive knots of tissue with his elbows, forearms, and fingers.
It was the best blend of pain and relief. I don’t like to be “pet” in a massage. I want to work out the kinks I can’t get myself with a foam roller, lacrosse ball, or vibrating recovery tool. He was able to break up bands of rigid tissue in my quads, knots in my calves, and start to loosen my aggravated glutes and psoas muscles.
He did some sport-massage-esque stretches to help boost range of motion in my hips, too. And because my legs were in such distress (I’ve been told to book more frequent massages), this angel of a man stayed longer than our appointment time to fully work my muscles over and ensure I’d be on track for my training.
Not the experience you’d probably get in a spa. And while you’ll miss out on a spa’s amenities—moseying into a sauna, hot tub, or lounge post-massage, there’s something to be said about bidding your masseuse farewell, then rolling into bed or slipping into a bath without having to interact with the outside world.
Plus, Soothe just launched Soothe Plus. It’s a monthly massage membership that offers benefits to members like 20% savings on all Soothe massages, free cancellations, and rollover credits.
Because you can’t choose your masseuse before the session—and look up good or bad reviews—you run the risk of getting someone less-than-stellar. Other than that, the only part about Soothe that’s inconvenient is if you’re not living in one of the available cities.