‘Naked Lady Spa Day’ was a term a friend (let’s call her Joy) coined when she asked me to go with her to a women’s only Korean day spa to be pampered. I was mortified to find out that all guests were to be without clothing. <yikes!> Yep. Naked as the day we are born. It took a lot of convincing but I finally agreed to go, enticed by thoughts of a massage (which I’m a sucker for).
We arrived at the Olympus Spa and were warmly greeted by the front desk staff. From there Joy and I put away our shoes in little cubbies and headed to the locker room to change into robes. I was nervous as you cannot imagine when we did emerge into the tropically warm spa room and had to remove our robes, putting them away in yet another cubby.
For the longest time I stood staring at my feet, ashamed to be walking around so vulnerable, wearing only my skin and shower cap. How sad I was and almost miserable as society teaches us that it is wrong to be so displayed. We are taught to hide our imperfections yet glorify those that seem to have the perfect body.
Out of nowhere, Joy gave my shoulders a gentle squeeze and said that here we are equal, that we all have tummies. Our bosoms do relax when not restrained in an often painful bra. She pointed out that while others were looking, they were not judging, only witnessing our presence. I was beginning to learn about self love in a very semi-public way.
The first step anyone takes is to bathe in mugwort herb infused water that was contained in a stand up trough. The water was shockingly hot, yet purifying. From there you soak in any of the four pools that varied in temperature from tepid to melt your skin hot. Joy and I went for the one of the slightly warm pools and relaxed. Women were softly chatting everywhere and it gave me a vision of what the old Roman bath houses must have been like.
After bathing and visiting for a while, my attendant, named Grace, called my number and came to fetch me. She grabbed my wrist to keep me from slipping while I became uncomfortable yet again for the simple fact that she was clothed. She was a dear woman and told me everything was ok and that I was to tell her immediately if I ever felt uncomfortable. I almost cried at her words; relieved that I was empowered to be fully in control of my services.
From here on out, I can say that any embarrassment went swiftly out the window as Grace the attendant soaked me with water and soap and proceeded to scrub the living daylights out of my flesh. What helped was the impersonal way all of the staff performed this service; it kept one from feeling exposed. As the procedure when along I marveled at how such an act of being scrubbed so can make you feel like a child again; dependant on the love of a caregiver.
Once the scrubbing service was over, Grace the attendant led me gently back to the pools to relax yet again. I was in heaven and delighted in telling Joy about my profound experience. She smiled knowingly having been to the spa before.
From there we continued on and partook of the various steam and energy rooms, later settling in at the on-site restaurant to have refreshments and a light Korean meal. Afterwards we returned to the spa area and wrapped up our day with body moisturizing plus cucumber facial treatment that was sinfully good! During the moisturizing, I was massaged thoroughly with a mixture of honey, olive oil and milk, which I thought would be yucky but turned out just fine. I laugh in retrospect of the facial as my body was mummified and my face was literally packed with shredded cucumber. I swear I could smell cucumbers emanating from my pores for a few days afterwards.
After all this, Joy and I went to a little showering area where you sit on a stool to wash your hair and body. I felt like one of the bathing Japanese ladies you seen in old wood block prints with their hair hanging down and water pouring over their heads. Finally we changed and began our trek home.
My only downside to the entire experience was that it came to an end all too quickly. But what it offered me will last me a lifetime.
What might you might discover at such a spa:
- Love and acceptance of your body exactly as it is
- A non-judgmental observation of other women’s bodies
- Community - female bonding
I wish you these things and more and I urge you to go outside of your comfort zone and experience such an adventure at least once.
Until next time, discover the power of self love!