You’ve had a long week. If it was anything like mine, it included chasing new business leads, responding to e-mails, running errands, squeezing in doctor’s appointments, planning a wedding and staring at this blank Microsoft Word document hoping it would write itself.
Alas, sometimes the most exhausting part of any activity is inventing reasons not to do it. But treating yourself to a spa-day? There’s always a good excuse for that! Especially after a laborious week filled with all of the above. Now brace yourself because I’m about to enlighten you with a spa-hack that rivals the rest, including the over-priced, underwhelming “fad” services we’ve grown accustomed to in the United States.
Before we get to that, though, I want you to remember the last time you went to a spa. Remember how they wrapped you in lavender-scented towels like a mummy? Remember how they massaged your neck, shoulders, back and legs so gently you could barely feel it? Remember the lemon-cucumber water they offered you afterward, if not to keep you hydrated to help you stomach the final bill? Now forget all of that. Erase it from your memory. Because it’s time to make room for new ones at a Korean Spa.
What’s a Korean Spa? It’s essentially a wonderland for everything your body needs: vanity and vitality-wise. It’s beyond words, really. You just have to experience it for yourself.
Personally, I can speak from experience as I recently visited a Korean Spa during a 10-day business trip to Texas. While I can’t say it changed my life altogether, I can honestly claim that it changed my life that week. And to a stressed-out, homesick me that’s all that mattered.
You never forget your first. Mine was King Spa Dallas. There, the royal treatment included a small entrance fee of around $30 granting me unlimited access to meditative hot rooms, cool rooms (basically cheaper—and safer—Cryotherapy), locker rooms, hot tubs, cold-plunge pools and showers. There was even a Korean food court for those who relaxed so hard they worked up an appetite. And for the Cowboys Fans who didn’t want to miss the game? There were dozens of Lazy Boys positioned in front of huge TV screens. Though, I think the people were the real lazy ones. Most “watched” with eyes shut and mouths open, snoring.
Perhaps the best part of this experience was the sheer amount of time I spent simply existing in this alternate universe. I’m talking five hours of a leisurely shuffle between the fire sudatorium (aka sweating room), swimming pools and more. No talking. No cell phones. Sometimes, no clothes. Again, all for $30.
Beyond the novelty of this Korean tradition in communal self-care, there are real, tangible benefits that are rarely replicated elsewhere. Whether it’s sitting quiet in a fire-roasting room, soaking in a tub joined by women of multiple generations, ethnicities and creeds, or stripping down to your birthday suit in a sea of other naked people, Korean Spas test your strength of mind, body, soul and self. The results are so positive and beneficial, I’m surprised Mainstream America hasn’t caught on yet. Either way, I’ve broken down the K-Spa benefits for you reading-pleasure below.
K-Spas do wonders for the skin. Just choose from multiple heated chambers, sit in a meditative posture or lie down on your back and begin soaking in the curative properties. For greater skin-focused results, look for rooms made of ancient salt rocks or pine salts. Salt rocks are natural preservatives. Pair that with the heat and humidity of a sauna and your skin becomes porous to them, welcoming healing and rejuvenation. Pine salt, on the other hand, specifically targets anti-aging, purifying the skin and eliminating harmful toxins from the bloodstream.
If sharing a room full of other skin-conscious humans doesn’t sound like your idea of therapeutic, you can usually pay extra for a private facial or full body scrub. Just don’t be surprised if every millimeter of your body gets scrubbed down. No joke, every single millimeter. But hey, you’ll feel baby soft after!
Seems like a no brainer, but definitely worth mentioning. Think about it, when cost of service is a non-issue, you become less stressed. When you don’t have a phone on you (for obvious privacy reasons), you become less stressed. And when the only thought on your mind is the occasional “Is it just me, or is it hot in here?” or “Breathe, just breathe”, you become less stressed. That’s what sitting in a toasty room and perspiring like a human showerhead will do to you. It’s simple, uncomplicated and glorious.
If sharing a space with other non-stressed people gives you anxiety for some strange reason, don’t fret. You can typically pay extra for a private acupressure massage, which will have similar benefits.
What better way to get rid of aches, pains and soreness than by doing nothing at all? Many Korean saunas are either heated or cooled to reduce inflammation, release muscular tension, and improve blood circulation. Whether it’s a base rock room where your discomfort melts away like butter on a hot stone slab, or an infrared room that helps relieve soft tissue injuries, a little time in these saunas goes a long way.
Have a phobia of being naked in front of people? This is going to be hard for you — until it’s not. Trust me, the transition from embarrassed to comfortable happens finger-snapping fast. The hot tubs and cold pools require you to shower and then completely submerge in the water naked. Yes, that means all the goods will be out on display. But don’t worry, you won’t feel like the only naked person in the room because you’re not. There will be women of all shapes and sizes among you. If anything, this is one of the greatest benefits of all! It’s empowering, to walk around in a room full of strangers and be 100% authentically you. No armor, no frills, no hiding. Just you.
And there you have it — the benefits of indulging in a Korean Spa day. Try it out, bring a friend, and if you don’t have one, I’ll gladly join you. Don’t worry, I won’t make it weird if you don’t.