When SpaFinder recently ran its $50 specials, I looked for spas in my area to test out. I chose La Salon in Millburn.
I arrived a few minutes early for my 10 a.m. weekday appointment, and walked in at the same time as the person opening up. The waiting area consisted of a basic chair next to the front door. I arrived before my therapist, JoJo.
La Salon tries to be upscale, but it’s not. They run a hair salon downstairs and have a handful of massage rooms (plus a manicure area) upstairs. The massage room door had a small glass window on it, with no curtain or covering. When I changed, I was a bit self-conscious that someone might walk down the hall and look into the room. I was supposed to lie down on my stomach on the table, using a bath towel to cover up with (instead of the usual large sheet). While it was cozy, it’s a bit harder to cover yourself up with a towel when you’re lying on your stomach.
JoJo had surprising strength and pressure, and I knew early on this would be no ordinary massage. She propped herself up on one leg on the table to lean with the pressure.
I asked her what style she was using and she laughed. “My style,” she laughed. Mostly acupressure, depending on the amount of tension the client has. “We don’t do much Swedish here,” she said. “People have too much tension. Old men and old women like Swedish.”
I’ve never had a therapist climb up on the table with me, but that’s what JoJo did during part of the back massage. Fortunately she didn’t sit on my legs, but she used her pressure to push – it felt good. She also gave me the most extensive gluteal massage I’ve had from a professional. It was a little odd, and I’ve never realized that the tush could get such knots.
JoJo’s technique was more like a therapeutic massage, which isn’t a bad thing, but it wasn’t what I expected. It was painful at the time, though I felt relaxed when I left.
Several times during the massage a loud timer went off in the room, warning JoJo it was time to move on to a different area. I’m sure she could have found a less distracting timer.
Specials and payment:
While I found the spa through the SpaFinder special, La Salon appears to run a lot of specials (look on their promotions page). They sometimes run $50 massages for 50 minutes, and a 50 minute facial for $50 as well. You can also buy a 4-massage package for $200 – transferable and with no expiration date.
When I went to pay, the sign said you couldn’t use a credit card for a purchase under $50 unless you paid a fee. I understand times are tough, but…you also can’t use a SpaFinder gift card unless you pay full price.
If you’re looking for a good, discounted massage (or need something akin to a sports massage), I’d recommend JoJo. If you’re looking for a pampering day spa experience, this isn’t it. The massage rooms were fine (except for the door’s uncovered window). They also posted signs in the massage room with the various prices and tipping guidelines. That’s just tacky.
The spa was not polished. Instead of asking about any areas needing attention or health issues you have, they instead just asked for your contact information. In the middle of the massage JoJo told me (out of the blue) that they’re open on Sundays. At the end of the massage she gave me two ounces of water in a Styrofoam cup. Like two ounces is going to hydrate you.
La Salon is in Millburn’s cute downtown. If you haven’t been there before, it’s a small area with lots of restaurants, some women’s boutiques, a lot of hair and nail salons and some other scattered businesses. The downtown backs up to a lovely park with a big playground. The Paper Mill Playhouse is a block or so away, with excellent productions including kids’ shows.
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