We live in an age where speedy services like Drybars and Seamless make our lives easier, but what about more relaxing? Zeel.com, an on-demand massage service created by Vault.com founder Samer Hamadeh, lets you order a licensed massage therapist to your apartment, office, you name it, right from an iPhone app with merely an hour's notice.
Like most New Yorkers, I have developed that non-stop, fast-paced mentality and find it extremely difficult to relax, let alone schedule a massage, especially during a weekday. And since I'm usually in need of a massage when my back hurts, by the time I can get an appointment at my usual go-to places, both my back and planned back-rub are long forgotten. A predicament that a lot of New Yorkers face which, consequently, got Zeel on its feet.
"The industry isn't really geared to offering a massage right away—which is when people usually need them. So we saw this enormous business opportunity," Hamadeh told me. Not only was the wellness industry lacking that on-demand aspect, the overwhelming number of choices you have to make to schedule a session (different massage types, oil selections, added features, payment, gratuity) can make the entire process, ironically, stressful.
With Zeel, the only choices you have to make are done via your iPhone and take less than a minute. Male or Female, Swedish or Deep Tissue (Deep for me), 60 or 90 minutes. And this isn't like your typical Groupon massage experience — all of Zeel's hand-picked therapists are licensed, vetted, certified and count top hotels, spas and gyms as part of their work experience.
"As of right now, Zeel has 215 therapists under contract to meet our demand, all of whom have undergone a pretty rigorous selection process. All of these therapists come from the best training, schools and have at least 3-5 years of work experience under their belt." Samer explained.
Which is why I jumped at the opportunity to try out Zeel's services—an experience that proved as easy as it was enjoyable. From booking (which I basically did on my cab ride home) to my masseuse (Areefa Mohamed, a Swedish Institute grad who very professional, arriving 5 minutes prior to our appointment to set up her table and focused on deep tissue technique on areas that needed it most), I was able to get what I wanted right when I needed it.
And now here is the best part: Once the knots and kinks were worked out, I didn't have to do anything. Unlike your usual massage service, with Zeel, it's all taken care of beforehand. That's right, no payment or awkward tipping for that matter. In fact, I continued to relax in my robe once the session was over. Talk about easy.
As for the future of Zeel, Mohamed clued me in on one tidbit that should have expectant mommies excited. "Judging by the numbers, we are very confident that our app will soon include a prenatal option as well."
Massage appointments are available seven days a week, 8:00 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. with prices varying from $159.25 for 60 minutes to $214.38 for 90 minutes (prices include tax and tip). Areas of service include Manhattan, The Hamptons, Brooklyn, Queens and The Bronx.