Hmmmmm, I might as well get this over with…
Immersion Spa tl;dr
I have to take my clothes off!?!? Call me a prude. Call me childish. Next, you’ll tell me that I can’t take pictures either…
(I’m not supposed to…. eek O_0)
“Please Remove Your Shoes”….
Call me what you will, but naked is naked and a private thing by most accounts. While growing up, I always imagined going to spas was something that only women went to. Afterwards I realized that men have been going to spas of one form or another just as often. And after experiencing it for myself, I now know why; it feels great.
As with anything, there have been ups and downs in any experience but for me, I think the most unnerving of them all is when they demand that you enter sans clothing, no matter how skimpy it may be. However with that being said, let me tell you this, that you can’t get a Korean scrub any other way.
And Leave Your Fear of Nudity at the Door
And it is worth it to get over your preconceived Puritan notions of the vaunted female only spa experience and demand elbow room for yourself at this budding Korean spa in Palo Alto called Immersion.
Nadia, in her infinite wisdom and adventurous spirit went here with her girlfriends previously and told me only great things about this place. With stories of scrubs and Aveda products, she told me that I needed to go and find out for myself. I was a little skeptical driving up to this strip mall off the hustle and bustle of El Camino Real during the early hours sometime the middle of the week.
That all changed once I stepped through those commercial glass paneled double doors to an Asian female staff member at a spartan counter surrounded by walls of Aveda products. All the noise from the outside world was left at the door to be replaced with quiet calm.
It was both a touch unnerving and wonderfully exciting at the same time going here by myself. The lady who greeted me and checked me in, walked me to the door to the men only area and gave me the run down of their facilities and to expect my scrubber to call out my name when my appointment time got closer.
Since I got their earlier than expected I had all the time in the world to enjoy all that their smaller space had to offer. Going in, I was wary of there being other guys already in there but to my relief there were none. I had full run of the entire place all to myself.
Found the Jade Room and realized that I’d use that room after everything was said and done. Using the electronic wristband key thingy given to me earlier at check-in, I found my locker room and stripped down to nothingness. And that’s when my adventure into solitude began.
Cleaning Yourself Up
There’s 2 types of showers to wash of the grime and weariness of the day, or rather in my case the few early hours of the morning either by the typical American stand up showers OR the Asian styled sit down wash areas. I have yet to learn all about the stool style… maybe next time. They have really clean facilities. I don’t know how often they clean the area over the course of the day but I never once saw any of the staff come to tidy up during my stay.
The Order of Things
After cleaning up I proceeded to lower myself into the ice pool. It’s cold in there. I could only stand it a minute or two. Climbed back out and relaxed in one of the available patio chairs. I sat there all by myself with nothing but the hum of the spa jets to keep me company. I probably should have brought a book or something to help pass the time. With my heartbeat calming down from the icy excitement I went to the steam room that beckoned to me.
It’s everything you would expect from a steam room with the added benefit of the light hint of eucalyptus in the air. Finishing off the routine I found myself relaxing in the jacuzzi for what felt like an eternity. Getting bored with that, I repeated the cycle but this time checking out the dry sauna instead of the steam room. Finding that to be the typical wooden affair, I repeated the cycle one more time going back to the favored steam room.
Areas to Immerse Yourself In
(the order I usually go in)
- Showers: Take a shower to wash off the grime of the day
- Ice Pool: I usually go in first for a minute or as long as I can stand it
- Seats / Recliners: Sit and recover after the cold dip
- Steam Room: Nothing like a room of steam
- Dry Sauna: It’s like a dry room without the steam and tiles but with wood
- Jet Spa: I normally like it a touch hotter
- Scrub Room: Plastic lined padded table is understandable since you’re getting your skin scrubbed
- Treatment Rooms: For the times you want a massage
- Jade Room: Take a nap, I did
- Tea / Water Station: Remember to stay hydrated or you might just pass out
Finally! The coup de grace, the main event, the main reason for my going here in the first place. My name was called out and I slowly walked over to the source of the interruption. I found myself face to face with my male attendant who prompted me to lie down in the plastic lined table.
My mind was screaming to me that I was going to be butchered like so many other have in those poorly made horror films. I forced the feeling down and like a mindless sheep to the slaughter allowed myself to be led to the table. A mindless sheep to be at the mercy of this loofah mittened deviant.
Lived to Tell the Tale
And it was the best thing I could have done. Whether it is because of my high threshold for pain or because in reality I’m a deviant, it didn’t really matter. All that mattered was that the momentary pain of being scrubbed down by this angel of the spa would lead to something desired.
And yes it does. 2 things actually: a growing mound of sloughed off dead skin AND baby like smooth skin. I was thankful for the latter and not so much for seeing the prior but knew that you can’t have one without the other. And just like that, I was a phoenix reborn… without the fire and nothing but water actually, but a phoenix nonetheless. And that was all there was to it.
Ok, I drank some tea to rehydrate. And to be fair, in retrospect, it was very tasty tea. I then procured one of the robes stacked in the locker room and took a nap in the Jade room. In that dimly lit room, as hard as I may have tried to nap, my mind was preoccupied with the experience of the scrub and all that it entailed.
Suffice to say, I can’t wait to do it again. Check out was a breeze. The only caveat is that if you don’t want to buy any products, you should not dwell too long or you might be compelled to check out the items on sale or not on sale. And you might find yourself walking out of there with an expensive bottle of Aveda conditioner like I did. Now my scalp tingles and smells minty fresh, but in a good way.
F8T Tip Go early! Bring your own bar of soap if you like bars of soap. And if there’s only one thing you NEED to do at any Korean spa… Treat yourself to a scrub! You’ll thank me.