Best NYC Spas: Mama Spa in the LES

New York City, Spa & Beauty — By on November 25, 2009 at 3:00 pm

By Jennifer Baggett
LG Executive Editor


When it comes to Manhattan’s Lower East Side, there are certain images that instantly come to mind: Tourists fighting over the most authentic looking “Praado” and “Louis Fuax-tton” bags on Canal Street. Pastrami sandwiches stacked as high as the Chrysler Building lining the windows of Jewish delicatessens. Dimly lit dive bars advertising beer pong tournaments and Pabst Blue Ribbon specials. Clusters of hangover victims hovering on sidewalks seeking refuge from brunch legends like Prune or Clinton Street Baking Company. But a multi-tiered spa that’s as luxurious and posh as most of its uptown competitors, but that offers treatments at half the cost? Never! Well…that was until recently, when on a much needed break from the claustrophobic Lost Girls book editing headquarters (formerly known as our apartment) Amanda and I were lucky enough to stumble upon Mama Spa.

Nestled between a laundromat and a deli on 141 Allen Street near Rivington, this newly opened health spa offers a full menu of services–everything from Aromatherapy and Shiatsu massages to Anti-Wrinkle Facials and Thermal Salt Soaks in their in-house Jacuzzi–all at recession friendly prices. Naturally we felt it our duty to support our local business owners, so “forcing” Holly to join us, we scheduled an afternoon of pampering at Mama Spa.

Boasting a spacious relaxation lounge complete with a juice bar, sauna, steam room and rain showers in the changing area, Mama Spa captured our devotion even before we’d donned the plush robes and slippers. And after expelling all the city grime and toxins from my body with a steam/sauna combo, receiving one of the best massages I’ve ever had on either side of the international dateline, and refueling with a complimentary fruit juice and grilled chicken salad (ordered from a local eatery), I was ready to set up camp permanently in this veritable den of Zen. But sadly, the real world beckoned once again and after bidding farewell to the friendly staff we were thrust back into our frenetic New York lives.

Hopefully someday soon, we’ll gather our girlfriends together for a Mama Spa reunion, but until then, we caught up with manager Ying-Thing to find out more about the philosophy behind the spa, the infusion of Eastern practices, and the treatments and services they provide their guests:

1. What inspired the design for the spa?

All the design ideas for the spa were contributed by the owners, Mr. & Mrs. Ma, who wanted to provide customers with a beautiful, tranquil space where they can relax. Mama Spa has simple and essential treatment rooms and a nice garden feel relaxation zone which allows our clients to forget about the hectic city life and getaway from their stresses. We use very soothing decorations to blend into the design to make the whole environment feel calm.

2. What are the five elements represented in the treatment rooms and how would a customer know which one they are?

The five elements are wood, fire, earth, metal and water, which combine the philosophy of Feng Shui and Chinese Medicine. In our spa, we use color to represent the five elements. Wood = Green, Fire = Red, Earth = Yellow, Metal = White and Water = Black.

If a client has no preference about their element, we would arrange a treatment room for them. However, if the client has a special request to blend into their treatment, we would have our doctor evaluate them and inform them which element they are. To gain the best result from our Spa, we would advise clients to make an appointment with our doctor who will evaluate their element and also advise them about their health awareness.

3. How do you infuse Eastern philosophy into the treatments/services?

Under the Eastern philosophy, we believe that our health is related to pressure points and meridian in the body. We use the method of acupressure & Eastern massage to target these areas in order to improve overall health. These methods reduce stress and also relieve chronic muscle tension. For long-term results, regular treatments are recommended. Types and duration of the treatments will depend on individual health conditions which can be evaluated by our staff.

4. You mentioned that you have a licensed doctor on staff? What services does he provide and what are the prices?

We have a licensed acupuncturist available to our clients for consultation. He performs acupuncture, cupping and various herbal treatments. He also evaluates the client and makes custom recommendations in term of health, diet, and Eastern nutrition. He is available in our spa every Friday from 10:30 to 7:30 p.m. But we can book an appointment for a patient for another day upon request. First time consultation and treatment is $110 per hour. Thereafter, follow up acupuncture & treatment is $75 per hour. If herbal consultation only, it is only $50 per visit.

5. What sets your spa apart from others in Manhattan?
6. Is there a particular reason you chose this location? What was in the space before it was Mama Spa?

(For #5 and #6) The main reason that the spa was setup in this location is that the owners felt an energy “Qi” in this location. It’s very important as they want the client to feel the same thing when they check in. In Eastern philosophy, Qi is part of the energy in our body system. If this location naturally has the Qi, it will blend into our body and give us more energy. Clients will feel refreshed and full of energy after coming to our spa. Whereas, most of the Spas in the town are not looking into the Qi, they are looking into the commercial opportunity. Our spa is meant for treatment and therapy. Qi is very important to us.

The building was vacant before it was spa. No other business ever polluted this space. That’s why the owners felt the “Qi” there. Its purity and virginity makes this place full of energy. Everyone feels very relaxed and totally forgets about the outside world when they visit our spa.

7. What ingredients/product lines do you use at the spa?

We use the Kneipp product line which utilizes only natural ingredients without artificial preservatives. Since 1891, Kneipp has been manufacturing products with herbs to provide the same result as natural remedies. It’s one of the leading brands in Europe. The five elements of the Kneipp Philosophy are water, plants, exercise, nutrition and balance. Its philosophy is perfectly matched with our theme. Fusion of Chinese skills and European herbs make our clients love the effect after the treatment.

In addition, our facial products in the treatment rooms and for retail are all natural and organic–Phyt’s and Huiles & Baume are both certified under Cosmebio and EcoCert. By using organic natural ingredients, we bring pure beauty to our clients. Almost all of our clients especially with sensitive skin love this organic skin care line as it is so natural.

8. Is there anything else you’d like us to know about Mama Spa?

We would try to do our best to use Chinese remedies and herbs to help reduce stress of city people and bring a healthier life to them. We wish to bring more knowledge about Chinese remedies to share with Western countries so that we can use natural remedies to cure health problems.

In addition, we will have a talk in the beginning of December regarding Living healthy by using Eastern Philosophy. This talk is open for all clients. Entry is free and refreshments will be served. We will also offer a complimentary doctor evaluation and special promotional rate on massages after the talk.

For additional information on Mama Spa, or to book an appointment, please visit or call 212-780-1913.

Select services from their menu include:


Swedish, Deep Therapeutic, Aromatherapy, Shaitsu, Sports Massage and Back/Shoulder/Neck/Head

$70 for 60 minutes and $100 for 90 minutes (add $15 for Steam & Sauna)


Basic, Sensitive Skin, Anti-Acne, Deep Pore Cleansing, Revitalizing, Nourishing and Anti-Wrinkle
Range from $70 – $150 for 45 minutes – 90 minutes
Kneipp Apple Blossom Mani-Kur – $12 (30 minutes)
Kneipp Classic Pedi-Kur – $25 (30 minutes)
Kneipp Arnica Therapeutic Pedi-Kur – $60 (60 minutes)
Kneipp Moisturizing Pedi-Kur – $45 (45 minutes)
Kneipp Arnica Therapeutic Mani-Kur – $40 (60 minutes)
Foot Reflexology
$55 (30 minutes)
$65 (60 minutes)
Herbal Soak Bath and Thermal Salt Soak
$25 (20 minutes)
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