last year i read a write up of a korean spa in my new neighborhood and i've been dying to try it ever since. its a body scrub, saunas and soaking pools, all with varying "healing benefits" along with various other services offered. i understood that it is not at all like going to what i consider a "traditional spa" but i wasn't exactly prepared for what i got.
i check in, and am given a locker key, and go to the locker area. already at that point 50% of the women are walking around STARK NAKED. some women are lying off to the side on a platform, which i later discover is a heated marble floor. you're to lie there while you wait for them to call you for your treatment.
once you walk out of that room, only towels and robes are allowed, but most people forgo any covering whatsoever. its a room of about 30 women walking around naked. there are 3 different pools, of varying temperatures, all with signs explaining what they are IN KOREAN. there's a steam room, which i did pick up was a "Jade" steam room, based on the sign above the door and the fact that the walls and the floors are tiled with jade, and a sauna. those i could handle. you are naked, you put a towel down, you sit. the pools i couldn't do. you can't really submerge a towel underwater to sit on (i kept thinking of david sedaris at the nudist colony,) because you're only given a limited number of towels, and you can't waste one getting it soaking wet when you have to shower between each pool/sauna/steam room use. i did at least know it was bad form not to shower in between each thing.
i went in for the "goddess ritual."
i had a feeling the pools, saunas and steam rooms were going to be a free for all like they were (i didn't know everyone would be so naked) but i did NOT realize my treatment would be performed on a plastic table 18" from the person next to me, also getting some sort of body scrub treatment. i thought i would be in a private room for this part. but... not the case.
the lady (she gets to wear clothes. bra and underwear. the women working are the only people who are allowed to wear bras and underwear. other than that, its towel and robe only.) starts by scrubbing EVERY inch of my skin with scrubby mitts while i lie on my stomach. then i turn to my back and every inch of my skin gets scrubbed. then i roll on my side and every inch of me gets scrubbed. big pills of my skin were accumulating on me, like pencil eraser stuff, but larger, so she kept throwing buckets of warm water on me to rinse them away.
then i get a full body shampoo. then a massage, not a great massage though, but it smelled good. i think i prefer deep tissue massages to whatever this was. then a scalp treatment, a shampoo, conditioner, then more massage, and a facial (no extractions, just a cleansing and a mask while she did more massage.) then she wiped all the oil off of me and put lotion on everywhere.
it took about 2 hours, and honestly, modesty aside, the discomfort of the scrub aside, my skin has never in my life felt better. i might go back for the akasuri scrub once a month, in lieu of my pedicure, because i'd rather have healthy skin than pretty toenails. the only reason i could afford the goddess was because i sold a golf lesson package i won to a coworker for $100, and figured i haven't gotten a pedicure in awhile so i could chip in the extra money.
i kind of can't wait to go back.
so, now who's just so white???