If you’re searching for an excuse to treat yourself then you’re in luck because today is National Relaxation Day. And what better way to spend it than at a Korean spa? There’s nothing quite like the Korean spa experience. Just ask Steven Yeun and Conan O’Brien. If you’re a newbie to the K-spa world, then soak in these essential must-dos.
1. Sweat Like Crazy In The Salt Sauna
From red clay to jade, there’s just about every kind of sauna at a Korean spa. But everyone’s favorite? The salt sauna. Salt saunas not only help patrons relax, they have amazing health benefits like improving the immune system, treating muscular pains and clearing skin. You won’t need Korean skincare products in here.
2. Cool Off In The Ice Igloos
If the saunas are too hot for you, cool down in these igloo-shaped ice rooms. These rooms are intentionally kept at a freezing temperature to provide an escape from all the sauna heat.
3. Get A Body Scrub Massage
Maybe you’ve seen videos on the Internet or have heard stories from your Korean friends, but Korean body scrub massages take exfoliating to another level. Here’s how it goes: A Korean massage therapist uses an exfoliating mitt called the “Italy Towel” to vigorously scrub off all your dead skin until you emerge with skin as soft as a baby’s butt. Some people say they’re painful while others absolutely love them. This is a must-try, classic staple of Korean spas. Also, who doesn’t want soft, baby-butt skin?
4. Soak In the Hot And Cold Tubs
If a body scrub sounds too intense, you can always relax the old-school way. There are numerous hot tubs with different levels of heat at the spa. And once you feel your skin about to boil, switch over to the cold tub. Switching between the hot and cold tub helps your blood circulation, as any old-school Korean mom would tell you.
5. Try A Refreshing Glass Of Sikhye
If the ice room or the cold tub doesn’t help you cool down, head over to the snack bar and try the traditional Korean sweet rice drink, sikhye. Made with fermented malt and rice, this sweet and refreshing drink is the perfect supplement to cure your dehydration after the sauna.
6. Snack on Baked Eggs
Although there’s an abundant variety of mouthwatering Korean dishes you can eat at the snack bar, sometimes it’s best to go simple. Especially if you’ve already burned off all those calories sweating in the sauna. Baked eggs are another classic staple of Korean sauna food since they’re low in calories yet delicious and filling. These eggs get their brown color from being baked in a high-pressure rice cooker, giving it a toasted flavor. They’re best enjoyed dipped with a little salt and pepper.
7. Rock the Korean Lamb Towel Hat
If you’ve watched enough K-dramas, you’re sure to have seen one of the main characters adorning this trendy fashion statement at the sauna. It has multiple names: the lamb towel hat, the Princess Leia hat, the potato towel. Whatever you like to call it, you’re sure to feel just as ridiculous as its name when you’re wearing it at the sauna. But that’s what makes it so fun. For some unknown reason, this towel hat has become a required must-do for everyone at the spa. Some say it’s to protect your hair from the sauna heat. Others just like how cute it makes them look. Regardless, you’ll catch everyone from babies to grandmas rocking this cute towel hat. Here’s how you can make it.
8. Share a Large Bowl Of Patbingsu With Friends
Best way to spend time with friends? Eating your hearts out together. This delicious Korean shaved ice dessert is a popular choice of menu at the spa. It comes with many toppings of your choosing such as condensed milk, red beans, sliced fruit, and ice cream or frozen yogurt. And you can order a gigantic bowl of it to share with friends and family.
9. Take A Nap On The Heated Floors
And last but not least, the one thing we all need. A good nap. The Korean spa is the perfect place to catch up on some much-needed sleep because of its ondol (heated) floors in the co-ed common area. Just take a cushioned pillow (that they provide), find an empty spot, and curl up on the warm, toasty floor. A perfect conclusion to your adventures at a K-spa.