You’re relaxing on the couch and feel some tension in your neck. “I should really go for a massage,” you think, but you’ll never get around to making that appointment. Now, imagine being able to order a therapist to your room with the hit of a few buttons on your phone, as simply as ordering a pizza.
Soothe is a new-to-Canada phone app that allows users to do just that (it launched in Toronto in December, and plans to be available in Vancouver and Edmonton in early 2017). Described as the “Uber for massages,” Soothe connects you with a massage therapist, either within the hour or at a time and date of your choosing. You can then select the type of massage, the treatment length ($139 for 60 minutes, $189 for 90 minutes and $229 for 120 minutes), the therapist’s gender, and voila! A massage therapist will arrive at your door, massage table in hand.
My masseuse, Joy, arrives 15 minutes early, also carrying a heating blanket, a pillow, bed sheets and a sound system to fill my room with relaxing spa music. “Soothe asks us to bring music along in case the client wants it, but I always bring it anyway because a silent massage is really weird for me,” says Joy. “[The client] is relaxed and everything, but for me it’s like, ‘Am I breathing too hard?’ I get self-conscious.”
Upon setting everything up, Joy leaves my room so I can disrobe and hop onto the table. Before she arrived, I too was feeling a little paranoid about my very un-spa like bedroom: I frantically ran around, making my bed, clearing the glasses off the table, and emptying the garbage container like a new friend was visiting my home for the very first time. As my 90-minute massage begins, neurotic housekeeping thoughts keep popping into my head: “Can she see into my laundry basket?”, “Is it cold in here?”, “I wonder if Joy is cold?”. When I finally block out all the noise in my head, the massage is truly wonderful, I’m completely relaxed.
When the massage is over and Joy leaves my room, I throw on yoga pants and the fuzziest sweater I own to hold onto that tranquil feeling. Joy comes back in and starts to pack up. I’m so glad I’m not the one who has to venture out into the cold.
I ask her a question that’s been on my mind since I heard about Soothe: how can you be sure that your massage therapist isn’t a weirdo, or vice versa? “That’s a big question for most people,” she says. She explains that clients’ driver’s licenses are kept on record and the billing address on their credit card has to match the address on their license. “And they go through a screening process for [the therapists] as well,” she says. Then, once an appointment is in progress, there are security features within the app. “Once we get here we check ourselves in. If we don’t check ourselves out within ten minutes of the appointment ending, [Soothe] calls me. And if I don’t answer, they’ll call you. And if you don’t answer, they call the police.”
Joy says she feels secure when it comes to the safety features Soothe has implemented, and loves this new way to access clients. “Having a company do the administrative stuff for me is great—I’m not good with the administrative stuff, but I’m good hands-on.”
When Joy leaves, I hop into my own shower and lather myself with my favourite products. Suffice to say, Soothe has upped the ante on my at-home spa routine. Tenfold.