Korean Spa in Palo Alto?
Let me get this straight, you want to get body scrubbed?
Immersion Spa tl;dr
One of the most interesting experiences I had on my recent visit to Seoul was trying a Korean spa for the first time. The best part of that spa experience was the scrub down by the Korean ladies. The ladies worked me over so hard taking off tons of dead skin leaving me feeling refreshed and smooth as a baby’s bottom. When I returned home I knew that if I had an opportunity to do it again, I’d do it in a heartbeat.
The perfect opportunity came up with my girlfriends and I were thinking about doing a spa day. After doing some research, I heard about Immersion, a brand new Korean spa which opened up in Palo Alto (great!) and after reading more about the spa and finding out that they only use Aveda products I said, “Done, book me an appointment now!”
A Little Bit of Seoul in Palo Alto
Immersion is located in a strip mall in Palo Alto with plenty of parking so no need to worry there. From the outside it’s in this wooden building that reminded me of an REI. Walking inside you’re immediately greeted by two friendly ladies who will check you in and hand you a large towel and a small towel, locker key and then show you to the appropriate gender area.
For this spa, males and females have completely separate areas so keep this in mind if you’re planning on doing a spa day with your significant other (if they are the other gender). There really are no common areas where both sexes can hang out besides the lobby but who wants to do that! However, for me and since it was a girls day for us, this was perfect.
When you walk into the door, pick up a robe (all sizes available) and you can immediately see a couch area where one can relax and read magazines. From there you’ll be requested to take off your shoes and then you can enter the main area.
While this spa is not nearly as big as the seven story giant I visited in Korea, it was perfectly sized and there were still lots of interesting rooms to explore. First things first, you’re required to change out of your street clothes and into the robe or just use the towel.
If you haven’t been to a Korean spa before, keep in mind that it’s normal for everyone to walk around naked. Yes, I said NAKED. But don’t worry, you’ll get used to being in your natural state soon enough. If this is not something you’re ready or willing to do, this won’t be the place for you. However, honestly, after the initial shock of being naked in front of your friends, you’ll eventually forget your nude and things will just be like normal.
When entering the spa area, you have to shower first before using any of the pools and the showers are to the right. All shower areas are stocked with Aveda shampoo, conditioner, body wash and a bar of soap. From there you are free to use any of the facilities. Normally the shower is meant to not only cleanse your body before you enter the pools but to also cleanse your mind of stress before starting to relax.
To the left of the area, is a hot jacuzzi tub and ice pool. The trick here is to go into the hot tub and then do a dip in the cold ice bath and then relax or jump back into the hot tub. The reason for doing this and cycling through a few times is to help your skin and circulatory system. After each cycle it is recommended to rest and relax by drinking some water to rehydrate.
The spa alternatively offers free water and calming tea. In addition to the pools, there is a Himalayan room where one can just sit and relax inside a fairly hot salt room, a dry sauna and a steam room.
We got there approximately an hour and a half before our spa appointments which was perfect as it is recommended that you use the pools before your treatments since after you get a massage you’re not allowed to go back into the pools due to the freshly applied oils on your skin.
For the actual treatment, I decided to treat myself to the Pure Bliss package. Compared to somewhere like Burke Williams, you get quite a good deal for your money. At $140, the package included:
- Korean body scrub
- Shampoo and scalp massage
- Oil massage
- Cucumber face mask (where they actually smash real cucumber and put the paste on your face)
- Foot scrub and warm milk rinse
To be honest, while my foot was scrubbed during the massage it wasn’t anything separate so don’t be too surprise if that happens. Also the warm milk rinse wasn’t differentiated but I’m sure it happened, I probably just didn’t see it since my eyes were closed. Overall my favorite parts were the Korean scrub and the oil massage.
If you’ve never gotten a Korean scrub for yourself, you should! What makes a Korean scrub a Korean scrub is when the spa attendant literally scrubs you down using a hand loofah as if it were going out of fashion.
…benefits include smoothing dry patches, lightens unwanted pigmentation, improved circulation of blood and lymph nodes, reduces water weight, prevents wrinkles, reduces cellulite and gets rid of toxins and waste.
However, my favorite part is how amazingly soft my skin feels after just like baby skin! Believe me, once you experience one you’ll want to keep doing the recommended monthly scrub which will ultimately help improve skin vibrancy, blood circulation and muscle relaxation.
My other favorite part was the massage because it was so different than what you’d expect from going to somewhere like Burke Williams. While the ladies are small, do not underestimate their strength! The lady I had, Kristy, probably gave me one of the hardest and best massages I’ve ever had and I’ve had a lot! The most interesting part about the massage was when she used her feet for part of it (on a towel so don’t worry!). But she was so strong and really worked out a lot of my knots and just worked every part of my body. It was amazing!
When getting your treatments, your therapist will walk you through the whole process. They will start with the scrub then ask you to take a shower, then sit in the dry sauna to relax your muscles before they start on the massage and other procedures. After everything is completed, we sat in the clay room and allowed all the good oils to get into our skin as part of our final relaxation.
Once you’re done with your treatments and relaxing, there is a variety of Aveda products one can use such as the lotions, hair products while getting ready to head back to reality. When you’re finished, put all your towels/robes into the laundry and you can close out by heading to the front lobby to settle your bill.
Overall we had such a great time just hanging out and utilizing all the facilities.
Looking forward to coming back to this spa in Palo Alto!