Quirky Spa Treatments To Ease Travel Fatigue

New York-based spa experts share their DIY tips for curbing travel ailments

Haven Spa reception area
••• The new Bitch Massage treatment at Haven Spa NYC uses pressure points to relieve tiredness. Haven Spa

Not that you need an excuse to hit up a spa during your trips, but these oases of calm may be the best feel-good fix for jet lag. We uncovered three ​New York-based spas that offer massages specifically geared towards relieving tiredness, muscle stiffness and other symptoms that go hand-in-hand (no pun intended!) with traveling. You might want to test them out yourself the next time you're near the Big Apple, or try these insider tricks on your own wherever your travels may take you.​​​

Haven Spa 

The Treatment: Bitch Massage

How It Works: Therapists at the newly-renovated Haven Spa designed this treatment to relieve irritability, stress, insomnia, and other symptoms common with PMS or jet lag by stroking and stimulating specific pressure points to boost lymph flow, decrease fluid retention in muscles, and eliminate toxins. 

DIY Jet Lag Fix: Use a little acupressure to erase fatigue. "According to the beliefs of Traditional Chinese Medicine, there are specific points linked to channels that help balance the flow of qi, or energy in your body," says Ariel Raovfogel, a Licensed Massage Therapist at Haven Spa. Raovfogel suggests using your thumb to apply medium pressure for one to two minutes to the point known as ST36. Find it about four finger widths below the knee cap toward the outside of your shinbone. Repeat as many times as you'd like.

If You Visit: This spa is a one-stop beauty shop that, in addition to offering massages and facials, also does hair, nails, and waxing.

Their newest treatment is the 90-minute Turkish Hammam (which involves sitting in the steam room, a therapist applying black soap, buffing you with a mitt, smearing on a detoxing clay body mask, and it ends with massaging oil into your skin). The spa is located at: 250 Mercer Street, New York, New York.

Spa at Mohonk Mountain House

The Treatment: Attainable Sleep Treatment

How It Works: A calming massage at Spa at Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, New York incorporates essential oils with scents specifically chosen for their mood-boosting and relaxation benefits (think: citrus essential oils thought to act as natural antidepressants and muscle relaxers such as lavender and anti-inflammatory Litsea). Soaking in their hydrotherapy tub with Dead Sea salts makes it tough to stay awake no matter what time zone your body may be stuck in.​​

DIY Jet Lag Fix: Give yourself some hydrotherapy. "Soaking in a warm bath helps because heat sedates your nervous system and relaxes your muscles and joints," says Shiloh Pileggi, a massage therapist, and trainer at The Spa at Mohonk Mountain House. "The sleep-inducing benefits last even after you get out because your body temperature lowers—it may take up to an hour—and triggers hormonal changes that make your brain and body go to sleep."

If you don't have access to a bathtub, Pileggi's other jet leg tip involves sitting in a chair with bare feet placed flat on a carpeted floor (a towel will do if you don't have carpeting), and rubbing feet back and forth briskly for two minutes.

"This activates reflexology points that calm the nervous system and relax the body," she says.

If You Visit: The spa is part of a family-owned resort in the Catskill Mountains (about 90 minutes from New York City) that's been open since 1869 and offers special programs all year long. If you're looking for more techniques to help you relax, sleep better, and deal with stress, check out the upcoming Mindfulness in Minutes Weekend. It's happening April 22 to April 24 and led by Nina Smiley, Ph.D., co-author of The Three Minute Meditator.

Shibui Spa

The Treatment: Drunken Lotus Massage

How It Works: At the Shibui Spa in the Greenwich Hotel in New York, therapists use warm, sake-soaked towels as compresses along with long, flowing strokes to increase circulation, relax the nervous system, and reduce swelling that can occur from plane travel.

The scent of sake is a natural detoxifier, and White Lotus essential oil is also used to help clear and soothe the mind, which, Shubui therapists say, "is particularly beneficial when experiencing insomnia, irritability, disorientation, or disruption to one’s circadian rhythm from jet lag."

DIY Jet Lag Fix:  Pack a compact dry body brush and use upward strokes towards your heart for five to 10 minutes before taking a shower. This helps to increase circulation and drain lymph nodes, which has an especially beneficial detoxifying effect when feeling puffy or swollen from hours of travel. 

If You Visit: Bring your bathing suit and take a dip in their pool or Japanese soaking tub. The spa also offers private poolside yoga, pilates, and meditation classes.