Are Four Hands Better Than Two?

·Senior Editor

Photo: Anne Menke/Trunk Archive

The Treatment: A 50-minute, 4-hand Impériale Relaxing Massage at the Guerlain Spa in the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City

The Promise: Like the spa’s signature massage, this treatment uses Swedish strokes to relax your body while a “Super Aqua” face mask and lotion scented with Guerlain’s Eau de Cologne Impériale fragrance hydrate your skin. But instead of one masseuse, two experts work together using well-choreographed movements.

The Backdrop: Ride up 19 floors through a side entrance to the posh hotel to an incredibly glamorous spa with marble floors, cushioned walls, crystal chandeliers, and bouquets of red roses. After a complimentary cocktail in the lounge and a quick stop in the steam room, clients are taken to massive private spa suites with a view.

The Guinea Pig: I broke my ankle a few months ago, and between long work days hunched over my laptop and intense bi-weekly physical therapy sessions (I now have what I endearingly refer to as a robo-foot), I couldn’t wait to kick-off a four-day holiday weekend with two highly trained women kneading every single knot out of my body. Maybe they could reduce the swelling in my ankle, too!

The Scoop: I had one major concern about this massage: would two sets of hands be distracting? What would I focus on? But the two ladies assigned to pamper me had it down to a science. While I lay on my back in the heated massage bed, each woman took a foot and started massaging in perfectly synchronized strokes, working their way up my body in unison. I was so impressed and amused at their coordination that I almost started laughing. When it came time to flip, one woman focused on my back—especially my cranky shoulder-blade area like I’d suggested earlier—while the other spent more time on my legs and feet.

The Results: It hadn’t occurred to me initially, but with two women covering the same ground I was essentially getting the thorough coverage of a two-hour massage in a condensed, efficient time period. When one masseuse whispered into my ear that I had 20 minutes to unwind in my suite and that she’d turn on the rain shower on her way out I felt almost unworthy. The fancy chocolates, vanity stocked with Guerlain products, and complimentary makeup refresher were just the icing on the cake, because the best part was sleeping like a log over my four-day staycation. My neck and back felt great, but it was my ankle that felt better than it had in months. Proof that twice the hands really is twice as good.

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