Becky Raik and Alexis Nalhoum started Melt Massage and Bodywork three and a half years ago in the center of Fort Greene. At the time, it was only a one-room studio above Connecticut Muffin on Lafayette Avenue.
“It got to the point where we were turning away too many people,” Raik said.
The space wasn’t large enough, so Raik and Nalhoum sought out a bigger, more permanent space. This September, Melt Massage opened its doors about two blocks down at 84 Lafayette Avenue – and business is booming in an area that doesn’t offer many options for massage and body sculpting studios, Raik said.
Melt Massage doesn’t solely offer massages, but the studio includes the allied services to make the benefits of a good massage last as long as possible, according to Ralk.
“We’re a one-stop shop,” Raik said.
The studio offers massages, like many spas, but there’s a twist: Melt Massage doesn’t have a menu of services, and “every massage begins with a conversation,” Raik said. Every client speaks one-on-one with a therapist before the treatment and, in return, the therapist is able to cater the experience to how the client is feeling at that moment. And while this type of service is not unique, Raik says it’s what makes Melt Massage stand out from traditional spas.
Traditional spas typically offer services such as Swedish massages or deep-tissue massages – words Raik believes have no meaning because the therapist doesn’t usually alter those services to the needs of each person.
“It’s against our philosophy to categorize people like that,” Raik said.
Beyond massages, the studio offers classes in Pilates, prenatal and postpartum yoga, body sculpting, core strength classes and acupuncture services. Roma van der Walt, a personal trainer who works in the nabe, offers body-sculpting classes at the studio and does work with the prenatal and postpartum classes, which she says are one of the studio’s most popular offerings.
“It’s a community space for them to get fit again,” van der Walt said. “We focus on different body parts so they can get their body back.”
She said the current postpartum workshop is filled and the studio is planning to offer the service in January, within a week of the new year. The classes help up to 12 women work out twice a week for four weeks.
“We teach how the body changes in labor and after labor,” Ralk said. “It’s a safe space.”
Classes range from 45 to 90 minutes in length, depending on the class, and cost from $18 to $20. Massages range between $90 to $140, depending on length of the massage. Guests can sign up for classes or services on the studio’s website or just stop by the Lafayette Avenue space. The studio also provides all equipment needed for classes and services free of charge.
“You really just have to show up and take your shoes off and work out,” van der Walt said. “There’s free apples and water. It has that Fort Greene community feel and it’s a really warm atmosphere.”