Moving to New York City is a giant adventure, every day presents you with information you never ever knew about. Until I moved to the city, I had never heard of a Korean Spa. It’s one of the most magical experiences I have ever had in my life. If you’re like me, the idea of being completely completely nude- yes even your bikini bottoms- is terrifying. Wearing an oversized uniform with hundreds of other families and people sounds awful too. Except it’s not…
When you first arrive at the spa, you will be given a little bracelet with a number on it and a key attached. The number is your locker, where you can put all your belongings away. Before you do that, you have to take off your shoes and socks and place them in a cubby. You’re given a uniform- everyone has to wear them with no exceptions. Once you get to your locker you strip down and put on your uniform. A Korean spa is comprised to two main elements. Saunas that are coed and for everyone, and the women and men only sections that are for bathing. I always go with my fiance Brendan. We spend hours working our way through the saunas and then finally taking about an hour and a half by ourselves for the bathhouse.
There are tons of saunas that are made from different materials. My personal favourite is a mud sauna that is the hottest one. You can only tolerate to be in there about five minutes but your body will sweat as though you’ve been in the sun for four hours. It’s odd but wonderful. There are ice rooms for cooling down, amethyst saunas, saunas that aren’t that hot at all but really mostly people just stretching. There’s a cafeteria with Korean food that is to die for.
The bathing section is a section completely void of men, there might even be one sauna just for women, and a section for women only to rest. Lie down, nap, etc. The actual “bathhouse” room is tubs with different temperatures water. They look like large hot tubs. There is always one with almost freezing temperature water, very cold water, warm, and then scalding water. I’m not sure why but I always wimp out and tend to only do legs in most of them. While you’re bathing, everyone is nude. Totally nude and if you’re anything like me that thought is scary. It’s not though, all the women go about talking, gossiping and moving about freely. It’s comfortable. Nobody is staring at anyone, everyone is happily…nude. My favourite portion is the scrub that costs about $80. You lie down on a plastic table and a Korean woman in her black underwear (usually an older woman) will come and scrub the daylights out of you. It’s not a gentle scrub, it’s a hold on for dear life scrub. All of the dead skin falls away while buckets of warm water are thrown on you. It’s amazing. I find it to be extremely relaxing and my skin is in the best shape ever. Think about it. We spend tons of time scrubbing our faces, why wouldn’t we take time to scrub the largest organ- our skin?
Not only did I realize how incredibly uncomfortable I was with my own body, but that it was nothing to be ashamed of. Realizing that my human body was nothing to be afraid of took a few minutes to understand and really welcome. I still feel a little funny the first couple of minutes but my nerves subside and I just enjoy the bathhouse.
You must be wondering by now how much this all costs. For an entire day (yes you can sleep overnight too on giant comfy pull out chairs that are plush) You can go on Groupon and it’s $20 a person. You feel like a brand new person when you leave and I am probably addicted for life.