“Work on Saturday”, they said, “and we’ll give you Monday off.” Okay. Of course, what was supposed to be an easy 8 hrs turned into 14 hrs. (T_T) Oh well, I got paid OT. But I sure was glad I scheduled a spa day for myself on Monday. The catch? I booked it at a Korean spa in K-town. While I had been to a “Korean” spa before, I had not been to a true one yet.
Korean spas. Not quite your typical place where you lounge in tranquility to the soothing sounds of pan flutes and aromatherapy and enjoy treatments in a private room. No, Korean spas are different. Jacuzzi pools may include green tea or mugwort in the water. Dry saunas may be enhanced with jade walls, salt bricks or some other mineral while wet saunas may have some herbal concoction scenting the air. Also, everyone is naked. Wait, what? Naked? What do you mean “naked”? Uh… naked. Nude. Au naturel. Birthday suit. Boobies and bushes everywhere! Well, except for those that go for the full Brazilian… TMI?
Yeah, if you’re in anyway uncomfortable with nakedness, Korean spas are not for you. I mean you could cover up with the provided towel or robe but you’ll have to be naked to get into any of the pools. And you’ll still have to deal with seeing everyone else’s junk. It’s not that big of a deal since no one is looking at you and judging (at least not outwardly). There’s all sorts of body types and ages from college kids to old grannies. Trust me, if I can get over being nekkids in front of strangers with this awesome post-preggers body (read: overweight and still look 6mths pregnant, stretch marks galore), then so can you.
I booked a treatment but wanted to make use of the pools and saunas beforehand so I arrived about an hour earlier. I guess Korean spas like to set their heat to 11 cuz while the pools and wet sauna were tolerable, the dry heat rooms were ovens. I was boiled and steamed in mugwort and roasted in salt and cedar wood rooms. I’m pretty sure this is not unlike what dumplings feel like. I could be a dumpling…
The idea of multiple types of heat is that you raise your body temp in one of the hot rooms and then cool yourself back down with a cold shower/jump in the cold tub (which is like an ice bath) and then return to a different room to reap multiple benefits. I don’t know if it did me any good other than cause some water weight loss but I did think about eggs hard-boiled a la Julia Child’s method.
I opted for the silver package – 2 hrs of pampering for $130. Seriously a good deal given what similar packages cost at other spas. So there’s no private room but there is a sectioned off area where anyone getting a treatment goes. While you still hear everything from conversations to the showers going on and off, you can surprisingly reach a state of zen relaxation. Or snoring sleep, in my case.
First, I was scrubbed clean. Pretty sure every dead skin cell and then some was scoured off me. Then I had my hair washed and a conditioning treatment put in. Then there was the seaweed wrap where they covered my body in green sea-smelly goop and wrapped me in foil. I also had my face slathered in a cucumber mask. I was very tempted to just stick my tongue out and taste it as it smelled very much like slightly pickled cucumbers, but I didn’t. At this point, I was pretty sure I was going to get rolled into the dry sauna to bake but I wasn’t. After I was rinsed off, I was oiled down and massaged. Not the kind of gentle Swedish massage but the kind where they dig into you with their elbows in an effort to tenderize any tough
meat muscles. I think I may have experienced the life of a Kobe beef cow out of order…
Overall, it was a pretty good experience. Once the initial awkwardness of “OMG NEKKID!” wore off, that is. And I walked out of there feeling smooth and gooey. There was a noticeable enough difference in my skin that Cat Wrangler declared that I should go to the spa more often. I’m okay with that. Moo.