But celebrities voices speak more loudly, especially when it comes to the workouts and massage therapists they favor. (Their bodies are crucial to their craft, after all.)
So we listened to what they had to say.
We hopped on the tables of celebs’ favorite massage therapists to see if their picks made the cut for our must-have (must-share) Rolodex of the city’s best.
Meet the seven who did.
—Ann Abel, Alexia Brue, and Melisse Gelula
She’s a wellness triple threat: massage therapist, Rolfer, and traditional Chinese medicine practitioner. It’s a skill set that’s vanquished many a nagging injury or chronic misalignment. (A ten-session Rolfing series, seasoned with cupping and gui sha, finally untweaked my perpetually tweaked-out hamstring.)
“I’m not one of those Rolfers who likes to leave bruises,” she says of her relatively gentle approach to structural integration. But she still means business—enough to impress the über-famous musicians and supermodel whose testimonials footnote her website (Christy Turlington to Yoko Ono). —A.A.
He humbly credits his Hell’s Kitchen location as the reason for his Broadway clientele—Patti LuPone, David Hyde Pierce, Lin-Manuel Miranda (plus professional contortionists and fitness stars Shaun T. of Insanity and Brett Hoebel of The Biggest Loser)—but it can’t hurt that company managers pass his name around.
The 6’2” powerhouse has been at it 15 years, studying Eastern and Western massage modalities, teaching at the Swedish Institute, and working as lead spa therapist at the Ritz-Carlton New York—experience that taught him to listen to all types of bodies—before hanging out his own shingle.
But he’s far from complacent: “I’m only as good as my last massage,” he says. “People have to leave feeling like I gave my best work.” —A.A.
Private practice rates $100/hour and $150/90 minutes, 917-687-6508, www.suttontim.com
If you’re addressing an injury, be warned: A session won’t be pampering. Expect deep, focused work, often without any oil, right where it hurts most. And instead of zoning out, you’ll be asked to concentrate on your breath.
But if it’s uncomfortable, it’s effective: As a regular client of his for about a year, I left every session feeling looser and taller. That’s the goal of Lobenstine, who considers massage a vehicle for transformation—and why performers and pregnancy clients flock to him.
It’s an approach that built him a glamorous following, including Rafael Nadal, Cynthia Nixon and her partner Christine Mariaoni (who saw him pre- and postpartum), and Andrew Garfield. He also works on a sliding scale. —A.A.
$100–125/hour; $150–185/90 minutes; $200–250/2 hours, 917-328-4151, www.fullbreathmassage.com
He’s officially a chiropractor, but Margolin’s treatment toolbox includes highly effective therapeutic massage, and he has a well-honed ability to read the body and respond accordingly (slow massage strokes or a quick neck-twisting adjustment).
Soon after he started out, an actor neighbor introduced him to the Broadway community, and eventually he was treating Jessica Lange and Alec Baldwin in A Streetcar Named Desire, and “it just grew from there.” It’s been reported that he’s taken care of Daniel Radcliffe and Blake Lively, Padma Lakshmi blogs about his skills, he spent three months on tour with Madonna, and was on-set for Eat Pray Love and now for Glee.
But he insists they’re no different from anyone else: “I just show up and do what I’ve been doing 23 years. I care about them as patients and just try to do my best work.” —A.A.
New patients $450/90 minutes (includes intake evaluation and treatment with manipulation); follow-ups $250/60-minute treatment and manipulation, 212-675-9355, www.longevityhealthnyc.com
“Some massage therapists are scared to work the neck, but that’s where I start,” says Dana Laven, who can be found at Paul Labrecque Salon and Spa at the Reebok Club when she’s not traveling with private clients.
Laven sure-handed tune-up of my neck left my shoulders three inches lower. And it’s medicine that goes down easy; though she does deep tissue work, there are few moments of “Ouch!”
Celebrity clients agree. She massages actress Amy Brenneman (of The Practice and Judging Amy) and has worked extensively with Sting and Trudie Styler (and they know a good massage therapist!). —A.B.
Don’t be surprised if light-and-lithe Green climbs up onto the massage table and presses her knees into the back of your legs and hamstrings. That’s part of her healing M.O.
Green’s not practicing Thai massage, but a technique that reflects her background in modern dance and “creative play of improvisation”—as well as Shiatsu and deep tissue. “I’m always finding innovative ways to release stress. And I find most New Yorkers like this combination of fluidity and anchoring,” she says.
It’s worked for a roster of star-studded clients that most famously have included Madonna—plus Tina Fey, Kristen Wigg and the cast of SNL, Kirsten Dunst, Liv Tyler, and Sean Lennon. “Whatever brings openness of mind, breath, and body,” she says. —M.G.
$150/hour at her Gramercy atelier, or $200-$250 house calls, 917-363-6353, [email protected]
You never have to ask Keeler to ratchet up the pressure: She’s from the school of no pain, no gain, meaning even those who can take deep, firm, knot-grinding pressure (us!) have had to tell her to back off.
We can’t speak for her long-term celeb clients like Miranda Kerr, but all that running and cat-walking has to take a toll.
Proving that Keeler’s not just about muscling her way to your deeper layers—she also prescribes flower essence therapies for things like anxiety and insomnia, as well. —A.B.
Rates start at $130/hour, 917-509-5499 or [email protected]