Yes you read that correctly – there is such a thing as “affordable” massage in this crazy expensive city and you don’t have to go to Chinatown to find it. I view massage as an integral part of training and general well being, and I’ve been very massage-deprived since I moved to NYC in January. I did find a great sports masseuse, but $150+ massages aren’t exactly in tune with my student budget. With Chicago Marathon training kicking off recently, and my legs needing some attention, I was desperate to find somewhere that wouldn’t completely break the bank. And that’s when I discovered Sal Athony’s Movement Salon!

I actually found out about their massage services by chance – it’s a pilates, dance, yoga and gyrotonic studio in Grammercy, with a beautiful studio upstairs (it’s a historic building with wood paneling and a gorgeous stained glass ceiling) and massage rooms downstairs. Bloomspot was running a deal for  10 pilates machine classes for only $66 – I had always wanted to try pilates (great strength training) and the studio was recommended to me, so I thought I’d give it a try.

I’ve only done three classes, but so far I really like it. Granted, I usually go at off hours, so it is practically a private session, but their classes are capped at five people and the teachers I’ve had thus far have been very good. It’s nice to get out of the gym and do something a bit different that still targets strengthening my core and other areas that are essential for becoming a strong runner.

As for the massage, there is a slight catch – in order to get the real discount you have to go between Monday – Friday 9am- 4pm ($55 for an hour and $82 for 90 minutes) but even the regular prices aren’t too bad, and the rooms aren’t super fancy but very peaceful and clean. I had Crissy the first time I went, and I really liked her. It wasn’t quite a full-on sports massage, but she did a lot of deep tissue work and I wasn’t exactly asking for more pressure (I was in the mood for something a bit more relaxing). Today I had Juliette, who was also quite good. She said that my soleus is what’s causing my pain around my right achilles, so I need to make sure I stretch out my calf regularly.

I plan to incorporate semi-regular massage into my marathon training – ideally I would have one once every couple of weeks, but if I make it once a month I will be happy. It’s still a splurge for a student, but for me massage is a necessity, both for my athletic performance and my mental health!