Main Street Massage – Ann Arbor

Don’t be daunted by the two stories of steep stairs that immediately confront you upon opening the door—it’ll be worth it. Right on Ann Arbor’s bustling Main Street, next to the Prickly Pear (my fave Ann Arbor place for massive amounts of Mexican) and a short couple blocks from the Burnt Toast Inn where I was staying, these stairs offer a certain transitional period, a buffer, a challenge, a kind of purgatory one must first endure before enjoying the heavenly delights of this therapeutic, healing spa.

I was greeted with a warm smile and a glass of ice water, which I welcomed after the staircase ordeal (I was, at the time, unfortunately, on crutches). Cheryl the Therapist chatted me up a bit, finding out exactly what we’d be working on. I’d been dealing with carpal tunnel syndrome for about 7 years, off and on, ever since I gave up the piano because of it.

The massage was incredible—she got my hands, wrists, forearms, and worked her way up to my upper arms, back, and chest, rubbing out the tension and years worth of built-up problems and exasperated dreams. She was knowledgeable and explained everything she was doing, describing in detail the therapeutic benefits of each circular motion, depressed pressure point, thrumming chakra. She was kind enough to recommend making this a regular thing, that would really see the benefits over a period of time. If only! I have a dream…

Too soon, it was all over. A smiling woman, another client, offered to help me down the stairs when she saw my crutches. I declined, though, wanting to make my own way, and soon enough, there I was, blinking in the suddenly bright sunlight.

By: Ben Britz

Ann Arbor Massage: Relaxstation

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