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July 28, 2016

I'm a huge fan of on demand massage apps like Zeel and Soothe, and I find myself using them as my go-to massage option more and more. Don't get me wrong, though. I still love a long spa day at a resort or hotel, and I'm all about taking advantage of massages at a brick and mortar location, too. Sometimes you need to get out of the house to #pamperyourself.

However, there's a certain allure and appeal to opening an app on your phone, booking an appointment, and having a therapist come straight to your door to deliver a massage within hours.

I love that booking is a fuss-free process that takes all of 30 seconds, and you almost always get your preferred time slot. Also, since you don't have to commute anywhere, on-demand massages completely eliminate the whole traffic battle dance. And honestly, weaving through traffic and getting honked at or pushed around after a long, luxurious massage can sometimes sort of undo all that work your therapist just did. More than that, after your massage, you can roll off the table and into your own bathtub or into your own bed (with cats who are ready to snuggle).

Within the past month, I've received an on-demand massage booked through both the Soothe app and the Zeel app. I did so because I wanted to see how the two compared to each other, and also I just really love massages. Here are the deets on both. 

Zeel App

Zeel is available in 25 metro areas and 35 cities across the states. They provide single massages, couples massages, and chair massages, and you can choose from Swedish, deep tissue, prenatal, and sports massages. You select the preferred sex of your therapist, your preferred duration (60, 75, or 90 minutes), and your preferred time. For a single massage, you'll pay $105, $129, and $152 respectively. Those prices include 18 percent gratuity, travel time, and the massage. Note that Zeel only charges your card after your massage is complete, and that you can cancel the appointment within the app versus calling.

For my most recently Zeel service, I booked the massage within the app for the following day. I was instantly confirmed with a certified, vetted, insured, female therapist, and was instructed to provide a fitted and flat sheet, as well as a pillow case. She showed up on time and texted me about 15 minutes before she arrived to let me know she was on her way. I loved that personal touch. I had the option of providing my own table, but since I don't have one, she brought hers.

Prior to starting, she asked me if I needed any areas worked more than others, and then performed a very personalized, catered-to-me massage. She brought everything required, including music, an eye mask, oil, and extra sheets in case I'd forgotten to prepare mine. The entire experience was very professional and my massage therapist was excellent.

I asked her about what it was like to work with Zeel and she mentioned that she'd recently moved from California where she'd worked for Zeel for a while. She was excited when Zeel came to Arizona and raved about how much she loved working for the company. She said she always felt safe and valued and that she was paid well. Of course, hearing that kind of thing always makes you feel good.

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Soothe App

Soothe and Zeel are very similar. I'd say that the primary differences are that Soothe massage therapists provide their own sheets and that you're charged as soon as you book the massage versus after completion. It's also slightly more complicated to cancel the massage once you book it since there's not an option to do so within the app. So my advice? Be sure you can fit it into your schedule. 

Pricing is slightly less expensive, though, at $99 for 60 minutes, $139 for 90 minutes, and $169 for 120 minutes for single massages, and right now they're available in 38 U.S. cities and have branched out to London and Vancouver, as well. Like Zeel, you can make an appointment for as soon as the same day, and you are able to choose your therapist gender and massage type (Swedish, deep tissue, sports, and prenatal). You can also choose from a couples' massage or a single massage.

My massage therapist for my most recent Soothe massage was lovely. Kind, professional, and very, well, soothing. She brought two types of essential oils for me to choose from—a peppermint and an orange citrus—which I felt helped make the massage more customized. She also asked me what areas I needed addressed, and she checked in on me throughout the massage to make sure pressure was OK. She dressed the table with her own sheets and brought music, an eye mask, and massage oil.

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Personally, I have a difficult time choosing between the two, so I alternate between both. I love that Zeel is seamless from start to finish, even if you end up having to cancel a booking, and I love that Soothe's prices are slightly less expensive. In terms of your own app loyalty, it may come down to where the massages are available, and whether you find a therapist from either of the apps that you'd want to reuse over and over again.

In any case, I'm all about that on-demand massage life, and I'll be partaking in these services whenever possible.

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