If it's your first time visiting a Korean bathhouse, prepare yourself for a whole new world of beauty and relaxation. Tickets for entry? Strip nude and jump in a 41 degree Celcius hot tub laced with salt or ginseng.
Hot & cold baths used for hydrotherapy - Arisoo Spa Paddington, NSW 2021
Iconic to jimjilbangs (찜질방: a Korean facility that consists of the holy trinity: a bathhouse, sauna and spa), the Korean body scrub is a significant cornerstone of Korean beauty & relaxation culture. The scrub is an add-on service that you would usually book in advance before visiting, and if you didn't - you'd have to put your name down and wait in the queue amongst dozens of others sitting back in the bathtubs, brazenly staring at the clock every few minutes as they await their turn.
In the bathhouse (mok-yok-tang 목욕탕), nudity is a must - a cultural norm that actually makes a lot of sense when you're coming in to simply relax and clean your body. You can't get any more efficient than that, I suppose?
Once you've tried it however, and felt that strange sense of freedom baring all amongst likeminded strangers - there's no going back. At Arisoo Spa, swimsuits are highly encouraged if clients feel uncomfortable going all in for their first appointment.
The full body skin scrub - "ddae-miri" (literally translating to "rubbing away of dirt") is a rough pampering for the soul and for thousands of years, the bathhouse has been a truly significant space for intimate bonding, as well as ultimate solitutude to do just that. These public bathhouses can be traced back to the ancient kingdom of Silla (57BC – 935AD) when Koreans (in their long standing pursuit of mind and body wellness) sought to maintain their cleanliness in accordance with Buddhist customs.
Communal showering spaces & a cold plunge - Arisoo Spa Chatswood, NSW 2067
In present day at Arisoo Spa, after bathing in a hot-bath for at least 30 minutes - naturally priming the body and all pores of the skin to open up - clients lay on a waist-high bed in their birthday suit (butt-naked) where lovely "se-shin" ahjummas ("scrub therapists"/middle-aged women) are equipped with what seems to be the softest level of sandpaper spread across a loofah or glove.
Weaponised with an exfoliating mission to renew your epidermis back to the level of an infant, the seshin ahjummas graze your skin from top-to-bottom - even attentively passing by your privates if deemed necessary. The Korean body scrub literally rolls out strands of dead-skin that to the average Australian - is largely reminiscent of eraser shavings from primary school that came about after filling in the wrong multiple choice answer too confidently with your HB lead pencil. The dead-skin strands are compiled with a lifetime's worth of dirt and impurities and expect to see a pink layer of baby skin unveiling beneath the rubble of your former self.
To finish off, enjoy a body massage for an extra charge - or simply opt for the complimentary body polish, as well as a shampoo & scalp massage as you lay half-asleep on the service bed. You're basically washed from head-to-toe and dried off, then lathered with rejuvenating, aromatic oils to send you off back into the real world.
Without a doubt, the saying of "no pain, no gain" fits true here. The mantra is epitomized in fact, as sandpaper sculpts away at your body, leaving behind woodshavings to create a truly refined masterpiece. For first-timers, the body scrub is a punishing experience in which you will come out with a sort of satisfaction despite an initial shock and awe. Though with greater exposure, you will discover a whole new meaning to "feeling refreshed". Recent reviewers at Arisoo Spa Paddington even claim to have "floated out" of the new establishment, and we can assure you: you will do the same.
The benefits of the Korean body scrub go beyond the scope of relaxation too - delving into improvement with blood circulation and more - you can read more about it here: https://www.arisoospa.com.au/koreanbodyscrub