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URBAN RETREAT: NYC’S O’LIVE ORGANIC SPA

Posted by 08.21.13

In an era when Manhattan has turned into a playground for the rich and famous, it’s uplifting to find an independent oasis that is not pretentious, corporate, or part of an impersonal chain. Such is my recent discovery of urban getaway, O’Live Organic Spa.

Located on the third floor of a nondescript office building just east of Madison Square Park, this Zen-inspired hideaway offers a carefully edited menu of facials, massages, body treatments, and organic airbush tanning.

The spa’s owner Monika Emad is a certified Reiki healer and committed to incorporating organic and eco-friendly products into the O’Live’s treatments. “From the scent of organic oils, fruit, and herbs through natural, earthy interiors, the ambiance and kind energy transports you to a realm of inner peace and balance,” she stated.

Two of the spa’s four rooms are devoted to airbrushing, but I bucked the trend and signed on for a massage. I undressed in the soft-lit room, climbed under the sheets, and awaited the gentle touch of my therapist, Jin Cho.

O'Live Reception Area

O’Live Reception Area

The message began with a soothing whiff of aromatherapeutic oils that eased me into the decompression process. It has been years since I had a full body massage, and I forgot how grounding it could be.

Jin has good hands, gentle, yet firm. I usually go for a deep tissue massage, but Jin started out with a light touch that turned out to be just what I needed. Instead of forcefully tackling my trouble spots—neck, shoulders, lower back—she worked on my large muscles to create a sense of overall relaxation. She paid special attention to my trouble spots, getting them to relax with constant but not forced persistence.

As I melted into another reality, Jin finished the treatment with a second aromatherapeutic potion that had a definite hit of peppermint, which I’m sure was meant to revive me. It helped a bit to shake off the welcomed altered state.

The next time I visit O’Live, I’ll try a facial. But I dare say, the spa’s specialty appears to be the organic tanning. The airbrushing is enhanced by the inclusion of organic fragrances—coconut, chocolate, almond, lavender, sweet lemon, or orange blossom—in lieu of the typical chemical spray tan smell. Probably the most relaxing spray tan on earth.

Apparently, O’Live is not completely undiscovered; reportedly Sports Illustrated models frequent the establishment to get their Zen on, as well as a healthy tan.

For me ,the benefit of a spa treatment is a break from the fast paced work world, and a chance to realize there is more to life than deadlines. If you are looking to be transported, even if just for an hour, check out O’Live now.

Facial prices range from $68 to $138, massages from $68 to $148, and special packages are available. O’Live Organic Spa, 112 E. 23rd Street, New York, NY 10010, 212.674.2424, OliveOrganicSpa.com.

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