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Thursday, October 28, 2010

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Laurie Towers, CEO of Physical Advantage

Laurie Towers, CEO of Physical Advantage, is renowned in professional sports and performing arts as the tour de force in rehabilitative massage. Her office on Manhattan’s Upper East Side has played host to the healing of the NY Yankees and Mets, Knicks, Jets, Giants, and Rangers as well as the Boston Red Sox, among other national teams. Towers also counts among her clients contenders of the annual NY Triathalon and the Marathons of both Boston and New York. Patrons among performing artists range from the casts of Broadway shows to orchestral musicians, the Radio City Rockettes, and ballet and recording artists from around the globe.  Her work with internationally acclaimed opera divas has been extensive; Towers created a therapeutic treatment which can extend the range of vocalists suffering from the effects of aging or occupational fatigue. And it has become greatly in-demand for vocalists on tour. Towers developed her unique brand of healing-through-touch by way of her own background as both an athletic trainer and a musician. Her ability to see into the worlds of performance and sports, along with their resultant associated injuries, is personal, visceral.  Her tutelage as a licensed massage therapist followed years of body-building and sports activities as well as extensive work as a personal trainer. She is also a performing electric bass player and singer.
The development of Physical Advantage as New York’s premier center for sports massage---real rehab therapy, not celestial healing through new age crystals and relaxing facials!—was through the efforts of Towers alone. In fact, Physical Advantage has become known as “the anti-spa” among the many who seek relief from pain. A single-handed entrepreneur, Laurie Towers built up her practice sans partners or benefactors but instead through professional expertise and the word of mouth of her dedicated followers. Over a generation, she has garnered a wealth of publicity through international media. Her practice has been almost perennially named to New York Magazine’s “Best of” issue and has been featured on NYC television and LA radio, among other media, domestic and international—including a panel discussion for the Tokyo Broadcasting System. Print coverage includes AllureGlamourVogueShapeGothamTime Outthe New York Daily News and New York Post. She is also a columnist or contributing writer for various health publications.
Located in Midtown Manhattan at 139 East 57th Street (Penthouse), Physical Advantage is the active professionals’ massage center of choice, offering trigger point therapy and deep connective work that is “specific and corrective”. Physical Advantage can also bring massage and personal training directly to the client and has given in-office treatments to such Manhattan firms as Morgan Stanley, AT&T, Chase Bank, and Liz Claiborne.   Both Spa Peachy and Gentlemen's Spa Peachy have highly recommended Laurie, and we are so pleased to present her as our latest Mover and Shaker!
Peachy Deegan interviewed Laurie Towers for Whom You Know.
Peachy Deegan: What should more people do to take care of their bodies that most do not? Laurie Towers: Simply put, if people paid more attention to what they actually ingested into their bodies and thought about how this was going to affect them.That would be the first step. A marriage between that and exercise creates a healthier balance between their present lives, and aging.

When did and how did you realize that you excelled at your art? 
I still dont know about any of that for certain lol,  but I did know that it was a seamless and natural fit for me, and the positive feedback I got was the incentive to improve upon what I was doing.

What should more American corporations do for the health and well-being of their employees in regards to what you do? 
I would say about 15 years ago I created another arm to my business, which was bringing massage to the workplace. Sending therapists to give "chair massage" to corporations all over Manhattan, was certainly not as commonplace as it is now. We give 10 minute massage, stretches, and help make the workstation "ergonomically correct". Makes the employee feel a sense of being cared for by the company, and the company in return gets a lower absentee rate, and people that can stay at their desks longer if necessary.

Tell our readers how you got into this field please. 
Actually its a funny story because it was just to be an added feature to my business which was fitness consulting. Within 6 months of passing the Board exam, this completely took over. That was 21 years ago, and I haven't looked back since.

What is the difference between an excellent and a middle-of-the-road massage therapist and is there hope for the mediocre or is this an innate skill? 
Tough question since it's so subjective. First off , innate talent aside you HAVE to have a strong  anatomy background to understand why something would work, and what happens overall when a system or muscle group fails. the ability to really listen to your patient, with both your ears as well as your hands is what makes all the difference in the world.
What or who has had the most influence on your pursuit of excellence? 
I would have to say although she is not even within my field, I have always held Coco Chanel in such high acclaim as being one of the first groundbreaking female enterpeneurs. Hands down its her.

What are you proudest of and why? 
I have to say that I enjoy the amount of media attention i have gotten over the years, but I'm most proud of the fact that my return rate is about 97 perecnt. The magazines can bring the people to your door, but its up to you to get them to come back.

What would you like to do professionally that you have not yet had the opportunity to do? Franchising and branding are definitely the next step.

What honors and awards have you received in your profession? 
My business has been featured literally in just about every magazine both domestic and international. We have won New York magazines "Best Of New York" a record five times. That's always a nice buzz.

What is your favorite place to be in Manhattan? 
I'm a country girl at heart so I would have to go with Central Park.

What is your favorite shop in Manhattan? 
Ah...definitely the Harley Davidson store across from my studio on Lexington ave.

What is your favorite drink? 
I have a newly found love for "Sex on the Beach."  It replaced Rum and Coke for a few years ago now.

What is your favorite restaurant in Manhattan? 
Havana Centra on 17th Street and Broadway. Great atmosphere and wonderful music
What is your favorite Manhattan book? 
"Manhattan Love Song" Cornell Woolrich
If you could have anything in Manhattan named after you what would it be and why? 
Again, being a very "green" conscious person, it would have to be a section of Central Park

What has been your best Manhattan athletic experience? 
Although I'm not a believer in running (unless you are running for your life), I enjoy being involved with the New York Marathon every year.

What is your favorite thing to do in Manhattan that you can do nowhere else? 
Find a restaurant open at 3 in the morning.

What has been your best Manhattan art or music experience? 
Easy one for me, it was seeing my favorite bassplayer Jaco Pastorius at Avery Fischer Hall, probably just a few years before he passed, and he was definitely at his prime then.
What do you think is most underrated and overrated here? 
I think that the city's cohesive social threading is largely underrrated. when you think about how many cultures, and belief systems can be a part of each others day, and we can do it peacefully. thats the stuff people dont see when they think about New York. Overrated..the amount you pay per square footage. The rents are just completely out of control.
Other than Movers and Shakers of course, what is your favorite Whom You Know column and what do you like about it? 
In "Rock Your Body" I actually loved the article on BB Jewels of Gramercy Park then "Haute Hotels" touching on Bed Bugs.   The diversity in the columns is what I love the most.

What else should Whom You Know readers know about you? 
Think we pretty much covered everything, and we can just leave the rest to write itself ....

How would you like to be contacted by Whom You Know readers?
Email is always fine or if you want to be more "old school" just call 212 460-1879

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