It hurts so good.
At Body Roll Studio in Tribeca, which opened earlier this month, you get a massage and a workout in one 45-minute session — all without breaking a sweat.
“I discovered the machines when I was in my home country of Estonia,” says studio owner Piret Aava, also known in New York beauty circles as the Eyebrow Doctor, who’s perfected the brows of numerous celebrity clients including Serena Williams and Malin Akerman. “It’s made in Poland, and I import it to the US.”
The machine is new to wellness circles: It’s electric and features wooden rollers set between two padded platforms that roll consistently for the entire session. Infrared lamps are built into the system’s core to warm up the device — and your muscles. The session starts with your feet, with each part of your body addressed in three-minute increments (including calves, thighs, back, buttocks, hips, waist and arms).
When I tried it out, some positions felt more awkward than others, such as, say, straddling the machine like a bull rider to work the inner thighs. But following along is easy because there’s a large screen on the wall that shows Aava and others demonstrating the moves. (The more experienced can tune it all out and listen to music.)
Post-session, however, you’ll feel like you just had a full body massage.
“I’m always really sore,” says Aava, 39, who blames SLT, Barry’s Bootcamp, Soulcycle and constantly hunching over clients’ eyebrows as the culprits. “But I don’t have time to go and get massages or make a recovery appointment somewhere. I found the machine that does it all.”
Despite being the first studio of its kind in New York, there are competitors. In Los Angeles, there’s a studio called Body Shape that uses a similar roller machine but in a class setting — so that all the units are in the open and you “work out” with other people.
Aava’s spot has a spa-like setting — you’re offered CBD drops with your water, and, hours after visiting, I could still smell the studio’s diffused essential oils in my hair. The five self-massaging units are housed in private rooms (unless you specifically request a room for two).
Some of the claims that Aava and the machine’s manufacturer make — that it diminishes cellulite, torches fat and burns calories — should be taken with a grain of salt. But lymphatic massage, in general, has been shown to improve fatigue and stiffness in patients with fibromyalgia, and rolling pre- or post-workout has been shown to reduce muscle pain and increase range of motion. The cellulite-busting boast is based on the theory that rollers work to break up the fascia — the connective tissue responsible for the appearance of cellulite — and therefore temporarily smooths out the look of the skin.
Still, rolling in the deep isn’t for everyone. Those with circulatory, thyroid and skin issues should consult with a doctor before receiving any sort of lymphatic treatment — and the machines are not recommended for children, Aava says.
But for Aava, it does the trick: “I look and feel like I’m 25,” she says.
$80 for a single session. 59 Franklin St.; BodyRollStudio.com
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