I consider myself a bit of a massage aficionado, so when I heard that app-driven “massage-on-demand” service Zeel had launched in Baltimore, I knew I had to try it. Same-day spa-quality rubdowns in the comfort of my apartment? My inner lazy girl rejoiced.
As excited as I was, though, I certainly had my reservations. I’ve experienced my share of creepy Uber drivers, and combining that inherent stranger-danger sense with seminudity put me a bit on edge. But Zeel’s guarantee of fully vetted therapists—and the persistent ache in my lower back—convinced me.
How It Works: Massages can be ordered via the app or website, where you choose a type, duration, masseuse gender and time. (Perhaps the best part—the massage can generally be booked within an hour or two.) Enter a payment method and answer a security Q, and the therapist’s on the way with a table, lotion and music. A word to the wise: The service requires you to provide two clean sheets and a pillowcase for the table, so you might want to plan ahead if you’re not the stocked-linen-closet type.
What I Love: Full disclosure—my first Zeel massage therapist and I weren’t a match. (She chatted to me throughout, while I prefer quiet; her touch was ultra-light, while I favor firm.) But I gave it a second shot, and was thrilled I did—the massage itself was nirvana, and when it was finished, I could indulge the desire to climb right into bed with a book and savor the relaxation. Ahh.
What I Don’t: As lovely and relaxing as the massage was, it’s just not the same as the spa. My apartment is tiny, so we had to set up shop in the doorless living room—meaning my roommate could (and did) walk in the apartment and see me half-naked, and that my chubby tabby Tito could shatter my bliss by batting a bottle cap around the kitchen. (Also, I must admit I prefer a heated table.)