There’s a place in Ann Arbor, Michigan you can go to relax. And it’s aptly titled Relaxstation, a standalone massage fort set up in the middle of downtown. It welcomes walk-in folks in need of healing to come get their muscles kneaded in a shared room where everyone is massaged at once: Perfect strangers are sprawled out in massage chairs next to each other, each fully clothed and holding separate conversations with their respective therapist. This place is cool and good for a casual massage-on-the-go or a lunchtime break when you’re hungry for zen.
What some people may not know is this: Relaxstation actually consists of two stations, and the second is just down the street. For those seeking fancier, undressed, and intimate treatments–this is the place to go.
Ben Britz and I slowly made our way down to the second location after having mistakenly arrived at the first location. A friendly guy behind the counter at the main quarters of Relaxstation offered to walk us down the street to the other building. Ben was on crutches, limping from a recent dirt bike accident.
As we walked down the stairs and through the blandly corporate Office Space-esque corridor leading to the door of Relaxstation II, we couldn’t help but notice the strange setting. Down the corridor, between glass doors, was a room–completely empty except for, mystifyingly, a lone microwave. It was hard to know if we were even in the right place. We were relieved when we finally entered the spa itself and found it to be as serene and peaceful as the hallway was stale and sterile.
I had asked for a Hot Stone Massage, but my masseuse, a Senegal native, insisted I try her Hot Sand Massage instead, a treatment native to Senegal. I’m glad she insisted. She told me stories of treating muscle pains back home with hot sand and I was enticed. This is like Hot Stone…but more powerful, I thought to myself as she dug deep into my muscles. I loved it. I’ll officially be figuring out how to give Hot Sand treatments for my own in-home spa once I move to Austin.
Ben loved his treatment, too. I think he was even walking better as he strolled out of Relaxstation II. Or maybe I was too blissed out from my massage to notice one way or the other. Either way, this place is awesome. You should drop in or make an appointment the next time you’re in Ann Arbor.
Holding the hot sand bag, happily.
By: Elizabeth Seward, Photos By: Ben Britz