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A Peek at What Happens at a KOREAN SPA
Korean Spa Adventure
This is not your ordinary spa where you walk in, get greeted by staff and you are on your way to a darkened room to get pampered.
Here in Los Angeles, there are literally dozens of Korean Spas scattered around neighboring cities. Bring your bathing suit if you are self-conscious since yes, everybody walks around naked. You will see grandmas, little children walking around naked in the spa and bathing area. There really is no need to be nervous about walking around nude - the patrons pretty much are busy relaxing so, seriously, nobody will scrutinize you.
BENEFITS Called Jjimjilbang in Korean - this means public bathhouses. Koreans go to these bathhouses usually during the weekend to relax and get rejuvenated. Most Korean spas in Los Angeles even have sleeping rooms (you can nap on soft mattresses on the floor and you have to be fully clothed if the rooms are co-ed) and they offer wonderful Korean-style restaurants inside the spa.
What's great about it - most are open 24 hours a day.
This is what you can expect.
- The reception will show you the Spa Menu which reflects the spa services ranging from massage, body scrub and facials.
- The massage and body scrub usually go together.
I recommend getting the hour (or more) body scrub and massage. Make sure you have at least an hour before your scrub/massage appointment because the tubs and warming rooms are so unique. BUT WAIT! There is more. You will be given keys and slippers. After changing, it is recommended you use the built-in showers before you go to the tubs. Depending on the spa, these little pools are beneficial for your skin. There is one spa in Los Angeles (the Wi Spa on Wilshire Boulevard) that has a nice hot brown tea pool; then you have an ice cold water pool next to a hot spa tub.
THE ROOMS Korean spas are known for their salt and clay rooms (kiln saunas). These are rooms wherein the walls are made from floor to ceiling with Himalayan rock salts, jade, charcoal and clay (clays can vary - from green to red.)
TO GET THE FULL BENEFIT, SPEND A WHOLE DAY - lounge in the kiln rooms, eat (explore Korean cuisine), sleep, RELAX.
CLAY ROOMS By being in the clay rooms for at least 15-20 minutes your skin will start to sweat. The red clay contains essential minerals known to make skin healthier and firmer by increasing the flow of oxygen to the skin cells. It detoxes the skin and relaxes muscles and joints. Red Clay has been known to provide the skin intense moisture and hydration.
SALT ROOMS We know the benefits of Dead Sea Salt. By lounging for several minutes in the salt rooms, your skin will see a difference. What are some of the benefits?
- Balances blood sugar levels
- Reduces rate of aging
- Helps in the generation of hydroelectric energy in the cells of the body
- Helps rheumatism and joint diseases including recurring infections
- Acts as a natural antihistamine; helps clear congestion
JADE ROOMS The walls are usually covered with jade and is heated. Jade is believed to discharge toxins from the skin, slows the aging process and strengthens the body's natural immune system.
After detoxifying your skin inside the salt and/or clay kiln rooms, it is recommended you wash your body again and submerge yourself in the spas. Take advantage of these pools before you get scrubbed.
Your name and number will then get called out by a lady in her bra and underwear. Why? She gets soaked too. She will then lay you on a massage table and she will start scrubbing (it could get hard so tell your masseuse your preference) your body. You will actually see your dead skin cells fall on the massage table. Your body gets rinsed by the attendant as she pours warm water all over your body (that's why she gets wet too). Your hair will then get shampooed and conditioned. After the scrub, the massage will start. This experience usually ends with a cold collagen or Vitamin C mask and your scalp gets massaged while waiting for the mask to get hard.
After the mask is washed off, she will then ask you to rinse your hair.
And off you go....relaxed, recharged, hydrated - it's so different I feel like I just went overseas for a quick vacay!
WHERE TO GO IN LOS ANGELES (Korean Spas I've experienced)
Wi Spa (www.wispausa.com) Located at 2700 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90057. This is one of my favorite spas. It's a four-floor facility which offers FIVE themed sauna rooms - salt, clay, jade and more. They also offer mani/pedi, facials and more. I like to explore the cuisine here as they offer authentic Korean soups. They can be reached at (213) 487-2700. They also have a skincare store. If you are a skincare product junkie like me, then you are in there for awhile because there are so many products.
Natura Spa (www.natura-spa.com) I spent 5 hours here. But you have to bring your own hair/body products if you do not want to use theirs. They have a small cafe which offers Korean and Continental cuisine. They can be reached at (213) 381-2288.
Crystal Spa (www.crystalspala.com) This is smack near Korea town located on 3500 W. 6th Street, Ste. 321, Los Angeles 90020. What's different about this spa is that they add on Aveda Products to their regimen. I tried their Elemental Nature Acupressure (after the scrub) and they use Aveda Swedish Massage oils. They have the Ice room which helps closes the pores after you've been inside the hot clay or jade rooms.
Olympic Spa (www.olympicspala.com) The above are coed in some of the areas. If you prefer women only, then this spa is for you. Aside from the usual jade and clay rooms, they also offer bichotan (charcoal) therapy room along with a Mugwort tea pool. I suggest getting the scrub massage here. For appointment, call (323) 857-0666.
Hankook Sauna & Spa (www.hankooksaunaspa.com) Here's another spa for women only. What's fabulous about this spa is their use of natural spring mineral water. Unlike the other spas where you can smell the chlorine, there is no chemical smell at all since the mineral waters flows throughout the spa. Pricier than the other spas, it is worth it as the treatments are combined (mineral massage with Vitamin C mask). They are located at 3121 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90006. This spa is only open until 11:00 p.m. on weekdays and closes at 9:00 p.m. on Sundays. They can be reached at (213) 388-8899.