Dreamer, wordsmith, mum of two - I enjoy the outdoors, good food and good company. Subscribe to my articles to follow what I've been up to, and like those articles you want to see more of so I can tailor what I write to my audience.
Published June 4th 2016
Korean spa bath those winter chills away
Arisoo day spa Chatswood - photo from Arisoo website
If you have never been to a Korean Bathhouse for a beauty treatment and are considering it, you need to read this review first.
Arisoo is a ladies only Korean spa in Chatswood, and when you hear about what they do, the reason for this will be apparent.
In praise for this treatment I can say this was the first time since winter hit that I felt warm from the tips of my toes to the ends of my fingers. It was like I had finally thawed. When winter comes, I always suffer from cold hands and feet - doesn't matter how warmly I wrap up, or how much I jump up and down and jiggle myself. Cold hands and feet are just par for the course for me during winter.
A 2 hour pamper session at Arisoo left me feeling so warm, relaxed, and perfectly exfoliated. For 24 hours my hands and feet positively radiated warmth. I can honestly say I have never felt such a warm glow after a treatment. But as a person more familiar with Western spa treatments, if Arisoo is indicative of other Korean bath house experiences, the Korean bath house experience can come as a bit of a shock to the system for a Westerner. Forget gentle soothing caresses, candelight, soft relaxing music, and fluffy warm towel-lined massage tables.
Shower room and cold bath - photo from Arisoo website
The first part of the session involved soaking yourself in a 39 degree spa bath, and moving between this and the dry sauna, wet sauna, and cool bath. This was truly lovely. I opted to wear my swimsuit for this part of the treatment, but I think I was the only one. All the other ladies were completely starkers, and having a whale of a time. Although I went midweek during the middle of the day, I'd say there were about 6 other women booked in having the same treatment I was at the same time. So clearly this thing is popular. It's the next part (the salt scrub session) which is where things get a bit bizarre.
Think of a room with four plastic lined massage tables in it, which patrons are whisked in and out of stark naked, placed on the table faced down, then scrubbed within an inch of their lives with an exfoliating mitt and salt scrub all over - and I mean, all over. It felt like I was a pot that had some baked in crustiness which the therapist was determined to work off. Deep between the groin area, and between the butt cheeks were not out of bounds. If it had been even remotely sensual, I might have felt like my privacy was being invaded, but there was nothing remotely sensual about this experience. I was a grubby item of cookware needing to be scrubbed, and by golly, the therapist was going to ensure there wasn't one square millimeter of my body which was left un-exfoliated. That's front and back. They scrubbed my breasts, and although they were pretty rough, it didn't hurt - they obviously are very experienced and somehow during all that vigorous scrubbing, are able to avoid your nipples.
Arisoo salt scrub - photo from Arisoo website
You might ask why the tables were plastic-lined. Well, after you've been scrubbed so vigorously, they wash away the detritus by sluicing you with a bucket of warm water which they slosh right over you.
If you have paid for the massage as well as the salt scrub, they will quickly dry off the table while you shower in preparation for the next treatment, and when you come back, they will lay you back down and pour a very generous load of hot oil over your body, and then do a pretty firm massage on you. There's a lot of slapping with cupped hands that happens, so what you hear is a weird echoing thwacking noise as they hit you up and down your body. Again, there's no delicacy about touching parts of your body which Western spas wouldn't go near. I don't know about other people, but I don't generally accumulate much tension in my breasts. But the Korean spa treatment includes a good five minutes of brisk rubbing around the breasts, in a very business-like, non-sensual manner.
wet room - photo from Arisoo website
I had a moment of consternation because when they ask you to flip over, you're basically fully greased up and lying on a plastic table. The risk of sliding off in an ungaily heap at the side of the table I'd guess would be very high. I managed it, but I moved very gingerly.
At the moment, the 2 hour pamper treatment which I had is on special for $99 (usually $210). And I would highly recommend it to get rid of the chills. It is the best thing I've experienced for getting your circulation going to every extremity in your body.
This is the kind of thing that would be great to get a group of your closest gal pals to go with you to, provided you don't feel weird being naked in front of them.
My verdict is this is a fantastic treatment, but you've got to let go of your inhibitions to truly enjoy it.
Oh my Gosh, thank you so much for this article! This is just the sort of treatment I've been looking for, and which I thought I'd have to head back overseas to find. I love that sort of uninhibited atmosphere. Cheers!
that article was spot on, my friend and i used to go to the one in the cross, we went to arisoo yesterday and it was just great, smaller scale than the one in the cross but the services and treatments were just the same