What do Emma Roberts, Jason Wu and Sigourney Weaver have in common? Their massage therapist, Auggie Arsendiga. But the star masseuse who treated the trio with bespoke rubdowns at the Caudalie Vinotherapie Spa at Manhattan’s Plaza Hotel until recently — along with other notable regulars Alexander Wang, Rachel Roy and Tyra Banks — has just become a West Coaster, joining the Abbot Kinney Caudalie boutique’s spa as master Vinotherapie Massage Therapist.
The news is not only exciting because everyone loves to relax with a good massage. It’s because Arsendiga’s magically healing, sought-after hands and soothing bedside manner are truly a matter of health and wellbeing. “Sadly the image of luxury associated to massage is still very common among the average American,” says Arsendiga, whose argument is that it’s more a part of a comprehensive wellness plan, especially for anyone who suffers back pain, depression, cancer or HIV/AIDS (all have been studied by the National Institutes of Health). There also is evidence that “those who have a good physical understanding of their individuality and incorporate a mind-body technique — or traditional healing beliefs, either cultural or religious — tend to manage more efficiently the adverse effects of stress.”
Adds the therapist, “From somatic (the body) to spiritual (energy) perspectives, in order to meet my guests’ goals and expectations, the kind of complementary health services I offer make sense over a series of treatments rather than just one isolated encounter.” The same way those in Hollywood are diligent about regular facials, they’re consistent with their bodywork. And Arsendiga isn’t just treating celebrities in Los Angeles and New York, but says, “I know better and am also very familiar practicing on royalty and dignitaries, and Wall Street-related financiers.” All recognize the importance of massage.
“Strengthening their ability to cope with stress and handle a larger load of work and responsibilities translates into a greater financial reward,” says Arsendiga. “We all hold stress in similar areas, but if you are receiving 24-plus massages per year, how do you think you could perform professionally?” His argument: It’s a strategic asset for those in highly competitive fields. “My guests appreciate the use of techniques such as meditation and guided-imagery incorporated into a treatment session; they see the value in it and use it.”
In the winter, especially, it’s important to have regular visits which, in Arsendiga’s case, are extremely customized and intuitive and may include use of essential oils, creams, toners and other natural products. This cold season sees an increase in joint stiffness, muscle soreness and even SAD (seasonal affective disorders). Also, he says, “the holiday season is an opportunity to reconnect spiritually.” Of course additionally, “they want to feel great; they want to look great. And more importantly, they want to share this state of being with their loved ones.” We know what’s on at least a few people’s to-do list this week!