URBAN RETREAT: NYCâ€™S Oâ€™LIVE ORGANIC SPA
In an era when Manhattan has turned into a playground for the rich and famous, itâ€™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, Oâ€™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 spaâ€™s owner Monika Emad is a certified Reiki healer and committed to incorporating organic and eco-friendly products into the O’Liveâ€™s treatments. â€œFrom 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,â€ she stated.
Two of the spaâ€™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.
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 spotsâ€”neck, shoulders, lower backâ€”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 Iâ€™m sure was meant to revive me. It helped a bit to shake off the welcomed altered state.
The next time I visit Oâ€™Live, Iâ€™ll try a facial. But I dare say, the spaâ€™s specialty appears to be the organic tanning. The airbrushing is enhanced by the inclusion of organic fragrancesâ€”coconut, chocolate, almond, lavender, sweet lemon, or orange blossomâ€”in lieu of the typical chemical spray tan smell. Probably the most relaxing spray tan on earth.
Apparently, Oâ€™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 Oâ€™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.