Jamie Sparks
Licensed Massage and Body Work Therapist


The Korean Spa Experience

Posted by Jamie Sparks on October 29, 2012 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (5)

A late night in the big city that leaves us with a headache, brings certain assumptions to mind as to how that time was spent. Well what about an all night detox at Jeju Sauna in Atlanta (the mild headache, only from detox and a bit of dehydration). Well that is what a late night in Atlanta looks like to me. Jeju Sauna is a Korean style spa, also known as a Jjimjilbang, located in Duluth GA. My friend Kate and I arrived at 9 pm and paid $25 each for the 24 hour usage of the spa (services are an additional fee). We were handed our “uniform” and a toothbrush and were guided to the women’s locker room. The “uniform” is a baggy fitting tshirt and shorts that are worn in the co-ed areas, which includes a room of saunas shaped like lil yurts covered in different materials that offer an array of healing properties. We started in the jeweled sauna, which is covered in a variety of semi-precious stones that are known for their healing and calming abilities. I spent hours moving from one sauna to the next, laying on the bamboo mats and resting, meditating, doing yoga and sweating. The marble floors are all heated. My favorites were the salt sauna (known for relieving stress and tension, improving the cardiovascular system and releasing dead skin cells) and the charcoal sauna (reduces and removes toxins and increases circulation). There is also a clay room, gold room, jade room and even an ice room for cooling the body temperature down. Just outside of these sauna yurts, are people lounging everywhere, resting, watching Korean television on a big screen, using their computers or eating in the cafeteria. After getting good and hot in the co-ed sauna area, we returned to the women’s only area. To use the wet area, you must be naked for it is believed that the heat and moisture can leach toxic chemicals out of your clothing and into your body. Here you find women of all ages and sizes enjoying the hot tubs (very hot), warm tubs and cold tubs (very cold!). I personally love going from the hot to the cold tubs to increase my circulation and open my throat chakra as I scream out with the shock of the cold. There is also a dry sauna, steam room, red infrared sitting area and rooms for spa services. You can enjoy a massage, salt scrub, hip bath and other services for an additional price. The hip bath includes a huge bowl of medicinal herbs that you sit over and steam yourself with. This is great for the reproductive system and for repair and rejuvenation after giving birth. The massages and scrubs looked great! This is not your American spa scene or service. You are oiled, rubbed and scrubbed and jostled vigorously while naked on one of the tables in the massage rooms. It looked like a wonderful and serious exfoliation and detox. There are also special sit down showers where you can do your own exfoliating and personal care practices. It was wonderful to see women so comfortable in their bodies and taking care of themselves in such a casual way. It is very much a part of the regular daily routine, rather than just a luxury, as spas are for many Americans. Sorry guys, I didn’t make it into the men’s area, but you can imagine. At this point, Kate and I are hungry, for we didn’t eat before our arrival, thinking this would be challenging with all the heat. So, at 12:30 at night we headed to the cafeteria to enjoy some seaweed soup and rice. The cafeteria offered about 20 different soups, as well as chicken tenders and mozzarella sticks (I just had to acknowledge the randomness of fried food). The seaweed soup was a yummy, nourishing late night meal. We shared one order and were totally satiated. And you can get food until 3 am! You can also receive a massage or detox treatment until 3 am. We now understood that this truly needed to be an all night experience. So we reconsidered our initial plan of staying for about 3 hours, and decided to utilize the toothbrush they gave us when we entered, and stay the night. With our bellies nourished, our bodies de-toxed, our muscles loose and our minds tired, we headed to the jade room, where we planned to sleep. This is a warm sauna, but not too warm to sleep in. We made ourselves comfortable between other folks and set up shop for the night. Outside of the sauna, I walked around various sleeping people, to get to the drawers of “pillows” and blankets. Then a comfortable, relaxing sleep was had in the jade room covered completely in jade and infused with the aromas of various Chinese herbs. I slept on the floor on a bamboo mat grateful for the circulatory, metabolic and arthritis relieving effects of the jade. Also, I was grateful that I did get a surprisingly decent night of sleep. Hopefully so did the many other people sleeping all over the warm marble floor. It was shocking, refreshing and beautiful to witness such ease and comfort amongst people, to lounge and sleep anywhere they liked. We even saw families nestled up for the night. I was honored to have a cultural experience that recognizes de-tox and self care as a regular part of our life that needs to be affordable for everyone. For those of you concerned with cleanliness, Jeju appeared to be spotless. I saw them cleaning throughout our time there and all appeared immaculate. Afterall, it is a place for detox. A truly unique experience I would happily do again. But this time, with a detoxifying treatment. It is worth the trip to Atlanta. Sure makes for an affordable hotel……and truly beneficial.  Go tohttp://www.jejusauna.net/ for more details.