We all have our own ways of seeking harmony in life — and a new way to find it has recently been introduced by Haven, a spa located on Mercer Street in Soho. I’d heard about their new Harmony Massage and as an aficionado of unique body treatments, I signed right up — especially after reading that it was more than a massage, but “a massage experience.”
What was promised was a mix of sound therapy, Ayurvedic massage and aromatherapy. What I got was all that and more. First, was Ariel, my calming masseuse who met me in the silvery velvet waiting area. In a hushed tone commensurate with what I was about to embark upon, he said he’d be using tuning forks in order to restore my electromagnetic field (I didn’t really know if it needed restoring — or that I even had one— but it sounded intriguing), Ayurvedic massage focusing on specific meridians and a range of sounds and aromas for harmony and balance.
We entered the darkened massage room and Ariel asked that I lie face down between several soft, warm blankets. The technique he used was unusual in that it was circular rather than linear and I was quickly lulled into complacency. Once he finished massaging an area, he began the work with the tuning forks. With the darkness of the room and my eyes closed, I didn’t see how he activated them, but once they were humming, he placed the forks on an array of strategic points.
I soon got used to the vibrations and began to find them soothing. Depending on where in the body the forks were placed, the feelings varied greatly, from intense to gentle, hollow to solid. While awake throughout, at times I almost felt in a dream state. At some point, I switched to my back and some balancing sounds were added to the serene music playing in the room.
According to Ariel, the whole experience centers on the heart chakra, including the aromas he asked me to inhale at various junctures. The rich smelling grounding oil was a combo of geranium, bergamot, cedar and ylang ylang. The lifting oil was made up of lavender, rhododendron and sweet orange and it had a lively, enervating scent. After the massage, the cute little bottles of remaining oil were mine to keep, wrapped in a small purple bag.
When I asked about the tuning forks, I was told that they open energy paths, sometimes easing physical and emotional pain. In an even state of mind on my massage day, I didn’t go to those places, but at the end of the 80-minute treatment, I felt exceedingly calm, a little dazed (in a good way) and very receptive.
A 10-minute cool down during which Ariel left the room so I could regroup went all too fast and soon I was up and putting my jewelry back on. In my slightly stoned state of mind, my everyday rings struck me as precious talismans. Slowly sliding them back on, I found myself reveling in the beauty of the stones, the craftsmanship of the settings and the depth of the gold.
The somewhat sexy waiting area at Haven has the feel of an anteroom in a Moroccan Riad. The cushions are plentiful, the ceiling glows like a thousand stars and there are dried figs, apricots, savory crackers, fragrant teas and infused water for the taking. I indulged a bit, chatting with Ariel, in my comfy grey robe before returning to my winter clothes and then, the real world. Back out on the street and even on the subway, I enjoyed a calm I surely hadn’t felt earlier in the day. Maybe you’d even call it harmony.
The 80-minute Harmony Massage is $180 at Haven, 250 Mercer Street, NYC 10012