A space to post my thoughts and musings about anything. This includes but is not limited to community, politics, current events, dating, GLBTQ issues, favorite things, and stuff that would make your dead relatives blush. I am not afraid to go there, as some can attest.

July 06, 2010

Spa World

One of the things about when when we start getting into early June in DC is that between pride and the fact that it's getting warm outside, it seems like a lot of events start happening at once. Especially when you're one who is balancing work and also coordinating some of these outside events, it can really take a lot of time and energy.  In my case, I decided that once DC Pride was over that I was going to do something to take care of myself.

I had heard of a place out in Centreville, VA called Spa World, and it had been highly recommended by some friends of mine.  Since it was fairly close to DC, came at a very good price for general admission ($35 for an entire day) and was basically open 24/7, I decided to head there after I finished up at the pride festival.

So I got myself over there and paid the fee, and also decided to spring for adding an hour-long shiatsu massage since that area was open and there was a masseuse available.  I put my shoes in the locker they give you in the lobby, and then headed into the locker room to change into the uniform they provided before heading up to the massage area.  The key you get from the locker in the lobby also corresponds to a locker in the locker room to store your street clothes.  The key is also connected to you when you purchase extras such as a massage, other salon services, or food from their restaurant.

So I get changed and then head to their central lobby area and up the stairs to get the massage done.  For a full body massage for an hour it's $80, plus tip.  Man oh man was it worth it though.  There were so many knots in my back from stress and the weekend and muscles that she made move that I did not know even existed, especially around my shoulders.  I could have fallen asleep by the way she worked my back and got it to finally relax, and yes, there was a point where she was walking on my back.  So, if you want a massage, they know what they're doing.  Maybe next time I'll go whole hog and try their hot oil massage.

After the massage I went back to the locker room to head to the sauna area.  Since this is an Asian style spa, there are completely separate sauna and pool areas for the men and women, and you will be in the buff while in that area.  There are showers to rinse off before entering the bathing or massage pools, and other bathing areas to scrub off as well.  There is a dry sauna which that night was approaching 180 F.  There is an hourglass in there so you can monitor how long you should be in there before you get out.  Also there is a moist sauna, and a shower that sits between them that dumps cold water so you can cool off quickly.  There were two hot tubs and one cold tub there as well to sit in and use to open and close your pores.

The central part of this room is the Bade Pool, which has various stations offering massaging jets that have different benefits.  You're supposed to go through it in a cycle, which some do, or others just pick a few things to work on.  I spent a good amount of time that evening in the bade pool and using the saunas a bit before I decided to move onward.

Besides the sauna area, you also have the central area where there is the restaurant and juice bar, and people hang out on mats or the couches and chairs and watch TV or just relax.  The upstairs lead to the spa and salon services, fitness room, and sleeping areas for men and women.  Since you can go there at any time, and your fee is technically for 24 hours, you can opt to stay overnight, which I did.

So back to the central area, all around it are doorways leading to various poultice rooms.  The poultice rooms are heated rooms (with the exception of the ice room) that each have certain natural elements on the walls all around you and the combination of the heat and the minerals in there provide different benefits to yourself.  The idea here is that you go and sit in one of the heated rooms for a length of time to take in the benefits you're supposed to get, then you step into the ice room to cool off and maximize the benefit.  I spent part of that evening trying the different rooms to see which ones I liked best.  The only one I really wasn't sure how to maximize the benefits of was the red clay ball room, since you're basically walking on a floor filled with small clay balls, kind of like a gigantic ball pit.

When it got to be very late, I did head up to one of the sleeping areas to rest.  It was fine except that I probably should have tried to find a way to add more cushioning to the mat that I was using, simply because I tend to be a side sleeper, and hip vs hard floor through a thin mat == ouch!  I woke up a few hours later and moved down to one of the couches in the central area.

When I woke up again and it was later in the morning, I spent some more time in the poultice rooms before going back into the sauna for a bit.  It would be mid morning before I would finally leave (partially to make sure to avoid a traffic nightmare in NoVA.  After the night I spent there, it was totally worth it.  I got way more value than what I had paid for and I was feeling good and refreshed, especially after that long weekend.  I will be going back in the future, if only to use the sauna and poultice rooms.