I’m standing in line to pay for my manicure and pedicure at Haven Spa, the only salon I’ve stayed loyal to in my decade-long romp in New York City, when the woman behind the counter asks, “Do you want to try our Bitch Massage?” There was a time in my life when I would have taken that phrase as more of a statement than a question, but it’s 2016 now, a time when divas are hustlers and a bitch is a boss. Plus, I just hosted my fiancé’s family for the holidays. So, yeah, I was a pretty freaking good candidate.

That following Friday at 4 P.M., I disrobed and went face first on the table for my massage, which I’d soon learn is actually designed to alleviate PMS symptoms. My masseuse Wanda, who has been in the business for nearly 20 years, got on my case almost immediately, firing stingers like, “Are you pregnant?” No. “Are you trying to get pregnant?” God no. “Are you experiencing PMS?” I contemplated it, realized I had no idea where I was in my cycle, and immediately revisited question 1. Wanda got on top of me and placed her strong aromatic hands on either side of my slightly curved spine and drew a deep breath. She cracked my back. Twice. Then she placed a tight grip on my neck and moved her other hand up underneath my skull.

I know what you’re thinking: Who’s really the one who needs the bitch rubbed out of her? Me too. But I kept with it. And I’m glad I did. Wanda continued performing the shiatsu portion of this exorcism and explained that underneath our skull in the occipital ridge is where we hold depression. In the middle of the neck, the “heavenly pillar,” is where sadness and anxiety ruminate. And our shoulders, no shocker, is where stress reigns supreme (other sweet spots include the belly button, “it’s the center for calming emotions,” says Wanda, and outside of the knees, a great spot to curb negativity.) With a good force, she finished working my PMS pressure points from head to toe before applying steamed towels to my neck and lower back. All I know is that it felt right, and when my 60 minutes were up, I walked out of the SoHo salon and forgot about the week behind me. I didn’t mind the dank smell of the village nor the heedless, overly eager NYU kids rummaging about (I can say that; I used to be one of them). And, no joke, I got my period that weekend. I didn’t tell Wanda. That bitch probably knows.

The Bitch Massage is available at Haven Spa, $140, located at 250 Mercer Street, New York City. Visit

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