The more I took my fitness life and working out seriously, the more my body began to hurt. Not only was I losing flexibility, I was having trouble sleeping, joints were hurting more, my stress levels were increasing, and overall my internal health wasn’t going to well. Externally, I was GREAT! However, I knew it was time to find some kind of way to relieve some of the physical stress that I was putting on my body with my mental stress outlet (just sit ant let that marinate for a second).
Ironically, as I was researching, I got received a call from a men’s spa in Manhattan and an interview request and a review massage. (yes, there are some really good benefits to having a magazine). Arriving at the discreet office in Chelsea, I was welcomed by the the south side Chicago born and raised owner Enrique Ramirez. With the stature of a rugby player and a gentle voice, which I am more than sure is only used in the spa, he is the owner of Face to Face Spa. Enrique grabs a glass of wine for me and takes me into a conversation section of the office.
Enrique began massage therapy in the 90’s by way of a sports related back injury. He had to go through physical therapy combination of electrodes to stimulate the muscle for a high level of relaxation and massages. After seeing the results from his sessions, Enrique took interest and started practicing on friends. Being in his mid-20’s, he knew that if he was going to take this new found hobby seriously, he needed to make sure he knew what he was doing. Enrique signed up with the Swedish Institute and fell in love with being a massage therapist, the effects of the massage, and how he was able to help people.
I filled out the medical questionnaire and was ready to get this show on the road. However, Enrique wasn’t about to let the piece of paper be his only guide of this visit.
“I ask all of the questions that I need to get started before hand,” he explains. “I have a chat to see what it is that their body is going through. Is there a lot of tension? Are they athletes or working out a lot? It gives me a sense of where I need to focus. Once I start the massage, I see where the tightness is and how bad it may be and I try to work it out. I always tell the client to let me know how the pressure is as well, because you really have to go in a little deep to relieve the tightness and the knots. A certain level of pain is normal but its important to specify what you would like.”
It’s funny that he said that because it triggered me back to some massages that I had in the past that would sometimes leave me in more pain than before they started. Apparently, there is a lot more to this process than having “The Golden Touch”. So before you rummaging through the beauty isle in Target, looking for some kind of body oil so that your “sensual massage” session for your boo is lit, you may want to consider a gift certificate.
“I always recommend before going to any spa to make sure they’re licensed,” he says with a tone of caution. “Unfortunately there are a lot of places where the people giving the massage are not licensed or certified. So ultimately they can potentially hurt you. If they don’t have the education or the training. If you apply pressure to the wrong areas, you can shift something in there and then your muscles will spasm and get very tight and then the pain will come. Just really try to find the right person.”
I’ll admit, before meeting Enrique and having my appointment at Face to Face Spa, I didn’t quite understand the importance nor the benefits of a massage. I knew that it would make me feel better, but many of the other qualities were all new to me. This year, SUAVV is really dedicated to pushing men to take better physical and mental care of ourselves. We tend to believe if we do the basic things like eating pretty well and working out, we are in good shape. That’s not the case. Adding an element that has formerly been seen as a luxury, needs to become the next step in a healthy lifestyle.
“Massages are just as important as eating your vegetables and going to the gym,” Enrique says passionately.” Working out tightens your muscles. So you really really really need to stretch after working out to lengthen your muscles back out followed by massages to get out the knots. When you get a massage, you bring fresh blood and oxygen into the muscle which allows the muscle to grow faster and bigger. It will also help to remove the toxins that build up in your body. You should do this at least once a month. I would say every two weeks if you are really heavy in your workout. But at least once a month.”
To learn more or to set up your appointment with Enrique or one of his staff members, go to: http://www.facetofacenyc.com/