Tips & Ideas

Tips & Ideas

New York Relaxation

submitted by: Sheree Bykofsky

Arriving in New York is exciting–but yes, it can seem overwhelming at first. That’s why we’ve ferreted out the most extraordinary, and sometimes unusual, ways for visitors, and residents too, to relax. To start with, you’ve heard of reflexology, but have you tried it? Nevermind whether there is or isn’t some connection between different parts of the feet and one’s body, there’s no better way to relax. It’s remarkable how a simple manipulation of the feet can melt one’s whole body into oblivion.

Stacey Robinson, Reiki master and reflexologist is one of many specialists at the Madison Wellness Center (171 Madison Ave bet 33rd and 34th Streets, Suite 9, 212-689-4648).Her luxurious treatment outshines the pleasant but unextraordinary space, on the ninth floor of an average midtown office building. Other practitioners include a masseur, an acupuncturist, a chiropractor, and an acupuncturist. The central room is a calming place in which to meditate, drink ginger and lemon tea, or do some inspirational reading.

Similarly conceived but even posher is the Olive Leaf Wholeness Center, at 145 East 23rd Street (between Lexington and Third Avenues, 212-477-0405). The entrance is a magic portal to a Far Eastern oasis of serenity. Olive Leaf is devoted to “creating a synergistic partnership between healers and clients, who work together… in healing.” There are more than twenty experienced practitioners, who lead daily classes and carry out treatments ranging from massage to holistic medical care. Because the staff members in the various disciplines work as a team, they specialize in tailoring care to your unique needs. Even if you don’t have time for any activities, stress relief can be obtained simply by walking in, being enveloped in the soothing environment, and browsing in their lovely retail store.

Marc Sabin, Tai Chi (Taijiquan) instructor extraordinaire is on the staff of the Olive Leaf Wholeness Center, but he’s also is available for private instruction in your hotel room (212-677-0649). Doing tai chi is one of the best ways to foster a deep sense of relaxation. Its unique movement style leads to the development of dynamic relaxation and strength. Feelings of peace and harmony are intrinsic in the correct performance of tai chi, and guidance by a skilled private instructor is the best way to begin or to deepen one’s practice.

Another interesting whole body technique that can relieve stress is the Alexander technique, and Hope Martin is a master. If you’re tense from being hunched up over that laptop, this could be just what you need to relax (15 East 17th Street) 212-243-3867). Make an appointment a couple days in advance to learn about this movement re-education technique, and she’ll arrive at your door to help you change your movement habits to minimize stress and tension, and to increase flexibility and balance.

Exercise, of course, is a great tension-reliever, too, and there’s no reason to sway from an established routine just because one is traveling? Evelyn Nunlee (212 932-9899) is a personal trainer to many celebrities and wealthy Manhattanites, and she teaches dance. She’ll visit you in your home, hotel room or gym – with equipment like resistance bands in tow, if needed – to help you meet your goals.  After that workout – or a long morning of shopping on Madison Avenue – your muscles might need some Rx. Well, Broadway stars, dancers, and other celebrity folk agree: one of the best ways to detox and de-stress in the Big Apple is to indulge in a session in one of Blue Light’s Floatation’s luxurious tanks (148 West 23rd Street bet 6th and 7th Avenues, 989-6061, Mon-Sat 10am-8pm. Call for appt. one day in advance). After floating effortlessly in a tank of ozone-purified water for a full hour, both your mind and body will feel absolutely weightless and relaxed. Make sure to allow two hours for the short orientation, one-hour float, and the soothing herbal tea that’s served afterward before you head back out into the busy city.

Now that you’re no longer stressed, what about Fifi? She’s been sitting under your seat during the entire trip to New York? She might enjoy a visit from Lynn the Dogseuse (917-734-1949), who will arrive at your hotel, soothing music and doggy pillow in hand, to give your dog a gentle massage. Or if she’s in need of some one-one-one therapy after that tiring trip, call Joanna Beth Seere (212-595-4336), telepathic communicator and spiritual healer for animals, who can ease them after a long trip, help them acclimate to new surroundings, and massage them back to comfort.

Still not ready to hit the streets? Don’t! You can leave your troubles (and Fifi) on the ground as your soar above Manhattan’s breathtaking skyline on a private helicopter ride. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience (Liberty Helicopter Tours, Downtown Heliport, Pier 6, East River, NYC, 212-967-6464, Mon-Fri 9am-6:30pm: or, VIP Heliport, W. 30th St. and 12th Avenue, 212-967-6464, 365 days/year).

Such luxurious extravaganzas are not for everybody. If you’re a little more down-to-earth – literally – why not return to your childhood, get covered with paint, and find out how just therapeutic painting pottery can be? Here are two great places where you can bring a bottle of wine, relax, and dabble in all the colors of the rainbow. Little Shop of Plaster & Pottery, 431 East 73rd Street bet. 1st and York, 212-717-6636. Our Name is Mud, 59 Greenwich Avenue 212-647-7899.

Perhaps you’re seeking serenity before that important presentation tomorrow. Maybe you’re afraid to return to that dreadful airport. Possibly you’re fearful of plastic or other surgery. Try hypnosis: not only will it relax you, it may promote healing. World renowned psychotherapist and hypnotist Dr. Roberta Temes will give you a completely individualized hypnosis session in the comfort of your hotel suite (718 646 5537). Or you might prefer getting a headstart on the hypnotic process from home. Click on

It’s true: sometimes the friendly skies certainly don’t feel so friendly. If you’re suddenly struck with anxiety before you’re about to step back on the plane – whether it’s a few days before your flight or if you’re right at the airport – there’s immediate help. Airline captain and licensed therapist Tom Bunn (877-FEAR-FLY), the leading authority on aeroanxiety, can visit you in your hotel room or work with you over the phone to conquer your fear for a stress-free flight.

And I bet you thought New York was a stressful place!

Sheree Bykofsky is the author of The Best Places to Kiss in and Around NYC and the 52 Most Romantic Dates in and Around NYC