Oh, the wonders of the interweb.
You can get just about anything delivered in Charlotte these days: Groceries, take out, custom-selected craft beer, doughnuts and more. And now you can get high-end, spa-quality, on-demand massages from Zeel, an online-based mobile massage company.
Zeel established massage-on-demand in 2012 when it began bringing same-day, in-home massages to customers in as little as an hour, or up to a month in advance, 365 days a year, with start times as early as 8 a.m. and as late as 10:30 p.m.
Their service launched in Charlotte earlier this month with more than 150 licensed and in-person vetted massage therapists in their local network. (It has more than 8,000 nationwide.)
How it works
New customers establish a Zeel account through their app (iPhone or Android) or at Zeel.com. When booking a massage, you choose the gender of your therapist, duration of your appointment (60 or 90 minutes), type of massage (Swedish, deep tissue, sports, sleep, prenatal, couples or chair) and prepay (including tax and tip) with a credit card.
Therapists arrive with a massage table and even music if requested. You provide two sets of sheets and a pillow case. After each massage, you rate your therapist and prioritize those you’d prefer in the future.
Safety and screening
All therapists are licensed in their state of practice, insured, experienced and vetted in person by Zeel. Zeel accepts less than 50 percent of massage therapists who apply to join its network, according to a company spokesperson.
After booking, you’ll get a confirmation with a headshot, bio and massage license number of your therapist, kinda like Uber.
You’ll need to provide them with photo ID and your cell phone number for verification as part of the registration process and prior to booking your first massage.
The cost for a 60-minute Zeel Massage in Charlotte is $105.02, including 18 percent tip and tax.
Premium annual “Zeelot” annual memberships offering discounted massages are also available.
Downloading the Android app and registering was painless. After selecting the massage I wanted and providing a window of preferred times, I received a confirmation in less than 15 minutes with a photo of my therapist, a bio, N.C. and S.C. massage license numbers, and board certification listings. Prep information was also included (provide your own sheets etc.) and a reference to the cancellation policy.
My therapist arrived a few minutes early, was polite and professional. She brought her own massage table, set up quickly and within 10 minutes I was enjoying a deep-tissue massage as good as I’ve had anywhere. She asked about the level of pressure, played some cool, new-agey music and – boom – an hour gone in a bliss-induced flash.
The comparisons to Uber are tough to ignore. When I was first introduced to the concept of getting into a stranger’s car and being whisked to my destination through the magic of my smart-phone app, it seemed unsettling. Now it’s routine.
I was much less apprehensive about Zeel. I liked the fact I was in my own home and never felt the least bit ill-at-ease. The added benefit of being blissed-out next to my own easy chair and current library book made it all the better.
Photos: Courtesy of Zeel