These days it is not difficult to bring joy into my life. When I see flowers blooming on the streets, ocean waves curling by my feet and my baby girl laughing at my silly faces – I can feel the calm and happiness inside.
One week in April brought me a couple of unexpected surprises, the biggest being a tiny “Open” sign on the door of my favorite spa. Driving past the unassuming door and seeing the light turned on had me squealing like crazy. I felt like I just won something special that day.
I called them and asked the only thing that came to mind: “Are you really open?” And you know what? They said “Yes”. As soon as I had a moment, I booked an appointment and started counting down the days.
If you have never been to a Korean spa – I would highly recommend it! The signature treatment in my favorite establishment is the purification scrub and massage. It lasts 70 minutes in which you get a treasure bundle to set you up for success and personal wellness until the next visit.
First a set of tireless hands scrubs you meticulously taking away all the layers of stress and dirt and old you. Then you get a full body oil massage to soften the tension away and leave you with the softest, freshest skin you have experienced in a long time. It is like the Swedish, deep tissue massage and reflexology treatment all wrapped into one package. And while you are getting this bodywork, you also get a face cucumber mask.
I still remember my initiation like it was yesterday.
Relaxing on the table with my eyes covered, I smelled and heard something unusual. My imagination overwhelmed my attention, and I was startled by the slap of fresh cucumber on my face. Of course, I read about the mask in the description, but in no universe did I imagine they used their cucumbers fresh off the patch. Can you imagine how cool that is?
Back to the procedure.
Your final step is a warm milk wash, followed by hot water and a fresh towel. I don’t know about others, but I love my skin feeling like baby cheeks that belong to me and not my sweet munchkin.
This treatment is something I sing praises to and have missed badly in the last year. I have discovered them by word of mouth and have been a regular for the last several years. Within months of having a baby in 2019 I returned with my new mom friends. When the pandemic struck a lot of my friends started moving away from the city leaving me and the spa behind. We still reminisce about it and time we made sure to carve out for ourselves in those early days of motherhood.
The spa before COVID-19 had an awesome selection that warmed my body and soul on a chilly San Francisco day. On top of the Himalayan salt room, steam and dry saunas and a hot tub, they provided a communal feeling, where everyone was welcome and open (and totally missing swimwear 😊).
This time there was no hot tub time, and the few patrons were all wearing masks. As I enjoyed my time away knowing that my baby is taken care of, my thoughts were swirling around one particular question: Is the cucumber pasture raised or is it born free and wild to bring the best nutrients to my mind and soul?
Next time you are looking for a place to just be, warm up, read a book or simply hide from the world – try a Korean spa. I am hopeful that very soon they will turn those hot rooms back for us to get into. Maybe we get lucky, and it will happen by the time San Francisco hits the “summer” time gloom. June always sends me hunting for these urban hot springs and now they are back!
Every time I come out feeling like a new person. My body loves being soft and clean, and I look forward to the next visit. I hope to meet you there one day.