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A Trip To The Korean Saunas (a.k.a. The Naked Incident)

Posted by Alexandra C. | Wednesday April 3, 201320 comments

I have scaly skin like a lizard during winter and this past one seemed really bad. I felt like some professional help was in order. In my Google searches for scrubs and spas, I stumbled upon a Korean sauna. I had never heard of Korean saunas before and was immediately intrigued. Here's the sitch: it's open 24 hours, offers many different types of sauna rooms (using various rocks or heat types) and some other services include massages and scrubs (hurray for scaly skin!). 

In Korea, these saunas are common place and are a regular stop for both men and women (the particular sauna I went to was family friendly). As I mentioned above, most are open 24 hrs, meaning you could literally spend all day there if you wanted. Most Korean saunas have snack bars and offer hot tubs, steam rooms and when the heat gets to be too much, areas to relax and read or watch tv. Here in Toronto, we only have one Korean sauna, Seoul Jimjilbang, which is where I headed. Seoul Jimjilbang has free wifi and you can bring laptops, phones, iPads in with you. A day at the Korean sauna will run you $20 and massages start at around $45. 

Of course, as with all new experiences, you need to know about etiquette and what to expect, because you never know what can happen. As my title will indicate, I found this out first hand. 

When you arrive at the sauna, you are given a pair of shorts and a t-shirt, two small towels and a locker. You change into your tee and shorts and oh - you're encouraged to leave the undergarments behind. Busty ladies take note: you may want to wear a sports bra underneath. Underwire bras will get uncomfortable but boob sweat is no laughing matter. Check me out above in the fetching orange uniform. 

In the top right corner, you can see the outside room that leads into the individual sauna rooms. Before this room, is another large room with the aforementioned snack bar and a few leather couches. Being at the sauna is kind of like what would happen if there was a carbon monoxide leak. There are people lying everywhere. People napping on couches or just lying on floor mats. Just, everywhere. 

After changing into your super sexy uniform, it's into the sauna rooms! I brought in a few sheet masks with me (see middle, left side). Because I like to appear as sexually appealing as possible at all times and because I love me some intense hydration. 

Above is a snapshot of what a sauna room looks like. There are mats on the floor and Yoga bricks for your head. The temperature in the rooms ranges from 39-100 degrees at any given time. I really enjoy sweating it out in the 75 degree rooms, my skin felt so soft afterwards. I spent all day at the saunas and I felt so relaxed afterwards, I went home and slept well. 

Now, on the day of my sauna adventure, I decided I wanted a massage or a scrub. The massages were less expensive and though I had been warned that I should only try this out if I spoke Korean, I thought, whatever, what's the worse that can happen?

If you enjoy being naked with your friend and two elderly, Korean women also not wearing very much, than the answer to this is: nothing at all! If you feel like this might make you comfortable, the answer is: kind of a lot. 

Note: this Korean sauna is traditional. My friend and I had booked massages at the same time and when it was time for our massage, we were told to shower and then get in the hot tub. Birthday suit style. Then two elderly Korean women, both in bra and undies, came to retrieve us and then we were told to lie down on a table. Again, naked. 

My friend kept repeating that she was so thankful she was not wearing her glasses so she could only see blurs. I told her she could do worse than me. 

The experience wasn't unpleasant. Weird? Hells to the yes. But the only part I found unpleasant was how rough my masseuse was occasionally. She didn't speak much English so it was difficult to communicate how I wanted my massage. To put this delicately, you're going to be touched in many places. You're definitely going to need to let go of any body related hang ups. 

I loved the sauna, and I will totally be going back there again. But I can't say the same for my massage. Honestly, I have to say that I didn't totally mind the nudity part. It's more that my massage wasn't exactly what I wanted. Having said that, I was completely relaxed and felt amazing afterwards. 

Also!  Here are few additional tips: 

- You may want to bring an extra, larger towel
- Bring a large water bottle with you 
- Pay in cash and you don't have to pay tax
- Bring flip flops or shower shoes
- Don't be squeamish, you're going to see lots of nekkidness. Accept it.

Have you ever been to a Korean sauna? Would you? 
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on September 12, 2014  ss said:

I went last night. Amazing. No massage for me though. Also, don't think they're registered MTs. Probably traditional .saunas were fantastic, we leaned on the stone walls and worked on our pressure points. We went at midnight so only my friend & I saw each other .don't think I would go during busy time. Def go back, skin & muscles feel great. !!

on April 11, 2013  Racenhawk  2,659 said:

never heard of this before

on April 11, 2013  Jinny  461 said:

I used to go there, love it. Perfect for winter times. you should also try iced green tea and hard boiled eggs there. Way to go for girls' beauty day out!

on April 10, 2013  KJTiller  398 said:

I lived in Korea for a number of years and went there many times. I really enjoyed it and was only weirded out the first time I went. I got used to it. It was really relaxing and I always felt great after. I agree about the massages as well. I would skip them. However some the saunas in Korea had rooms with chairs that gave you full body massages. Those were good.

on April 05, 2013  Charmheart16  3,985 said:

LOL, that must have been one very interesting experience. The sauna does sound relaxing but I don't think I could conjure up the courage to try the massage. XD

on April 04, 2013  midnightsun2288  6,053 said:

Hahahah "being in the sauna is kind of like what would happen if there was a carbon monoxide leak." And, it doesn't sound like something I would like, but for that price it would be worth it if it was up your alley.

on April 04, 2013  flower  4,418 said:

no & no

on April 03, 2013  shanaz  5,826 said:

I was uncomfortable reading this... lolol. Maybe not for me- but Kudos to trying a new experience!
I`m puzzled about why the massage therapists were not in proper clothing...

on April 03, 2013  fredamans  11,163 said:

Never been... sounds different.

on April 03, 2013  KatelynRose1984  20,704 said:

I've honestly never been to a Korean Sauna, but it sounds like an interesting(?) experience!

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