Living in New York, I walk past Asian body work places all the time. I find that they provide the perfect fix for a serious get-the-kinks-out massage after a stressful week and are a good in-between to the $150 hour-long massage at the luxurious spa of your choice and the 10 minute chair massage after your mani-pedi. Granted, some places look totally shady, and in my opinion, are possibly more in the business of money laundering, human trafficking, or happy endings than reflexology and massage so you need to trust your gut. I'll also put it out there that you shouldn't expect scented candles, plush robes, or ginger tea après massage either. This is a service for when your back feels like a pretzel, and the only remedy is going to be a tiny Asian woman digging her elbow into your shoulder blade.
So after a healthy search on Yelp! for a highly rated body work place I came across Taiji Body Work in Greenwich Village. Why not give it a whirl? I was completely impressed with this place. It was very clean and the staff was so incredibly friendly. My treatment room (which had a movable curtain for couples massage) had nice little touches like hooks and hangers for me to put my clothes and a nice little side-table with lamp for some homey ambiance. There was even spa music playing, though I could slightly hear some clubby music from next door, but whatevs. So, for 30 minutes I was completely worked out by my gal. This is definitely on the 'deep tissue' side of the spectrum as opposed to Swedish, and I am usually a little sore the next day but in my book that means we made some progress. So, in a nutshell, I think this place is pretty legit, and I will definitely be going back!
Location: 45 West 8th Street between 6th Ave. and MacDougal
Hours: 10:30 - 12am
Special: $48 for 1-hour massage
PS - I chose the above image only because these places always seem to do the karate chops at the end of massages! So funny!