Insider's Guide to Spas
Ben Brown/BlissWorld


Rhythm & Bliss Massage

Rachel Shelasky

Everyone knows about Bliss Body Butter, the cashmere of body creams. It’s a universal classic that, unlike our skin, never ages. Considering that my bathroom cabinet is lined with Bliss products (I love the bubble bath!), it’s surprising that I’ve never visited Bliss Soho. The 11,000-square-foot escape has beauty connoisseurs and the fashion set alike coming back, time and time again.

As a music lover and a spa regular, I couldn’t resist trying Rhythm & Bliss, a traditional massage set to a well-curated playlist of your choice. Created by Ben Brown, a Bliss expert masseuse and resident music buff (he chooses the soundtracks for the company’s spas around the world), the massage-slash-hypnosis is meant to “set the tone” (literally) and provide a whole new level of drifting-away.

Interesting idea—but would it work?

In the relaxation area, having popped a bite-size brownie in my mouth, I flipped through magazines and read up on foods promising to help banish cellulite (if only!). The waiting space was cozy and satisfying, even if the lighting was a touch bright, suggesting more of a medi-spa than a sheer chill-out zone. The atmosphere, my idea of perfect, helped quiet my mind. For those who prefer long-time lounging or candle-lit spaces though, this isn’t really that.

My therapist offered a selection of four music genres to choose from: ethnic/world, chill lounge/electronica, rock/singer/songwriter and classical. Choosing Bach, or Bon Jovi for that matter, felt too extreme, so I opted for ethnic/world hoping for a happy medium of soul and serenity. I put on padded headphones, and it began. Communication during the treatment would require thumbs up for more pressure and thumbs down for less—and luckily I didn’t have to change a thing. The communication barrier was also great if, like me, you don’t like the sometimes-awkward massage chitchat.

My therapist was in tune with my body at all times, loosening any knots and maneuvering around. When I asked her (post-massage) what her trick was, she said she’s been a Bliss’er for 15  years. A good sign, and reminder to always ask for the most experienced therapist when booking a treatment.

I have mixed feelings about the music end of things. The strokes didn’t always match with the beats—but that would be impossible, I think. Next time I’d like to try the classical playlist. The world music didn’t really move me, one way or another; the songs kept changing in speed and mood, but maybe that was the point.

If you can lose yourself in the music, and just go with the flow, it’s a real opportunity to be transported, far away from reality and become utterly zoned out…

Overall, the musical message experience is intriguing and inventive. How many same-old Swedish massages can you have? If you can lose yourself in the music, and just go with the flow, it’s a real opportunity to be transported, far away from reality and become utterly zoned out—and blissed out. For those seeking a high quality massage with a new twist, Rhythm and Bliss can’t be beat.






Rachel Shelasky

Rachel Shelasky

Rachel Shelasky is a Brooklyn-based writer and entrepreneur who loves Thai massage, dabbling in meditation, and finding new exotic destinations. She reports on spas, health trends, and hotels for BlackBook, Real Simple, SpaFinderWellness, and Women's Health. Her business,, produces branded apparel for a diverse clientele.