This weekend, my friend and I decided that we would get some body scrubs at the jimjilbang. For those of you who don’t know what a jimjilbang is, it’s a bath house or sauna. They are super popular in Asia and Korea is no different. You can use the baths, saunas, steam rooms, sleeping areas, and many other facilities for as little as 15,000won.
To give you a run into this story, let me explain how it works. You go to your chosen jimjilbang and some are better than others. Ours was in a nice hotel in Seoul, so it was pretty good. Then you organise a locker, a uniform (shorts and t shirt) and some towels with the lady in front. In you go to your changing room. Jimjilbangs have a dress code, you must wear nothing. Ladies have their area and gentlemen have their area. If you want to hang out together, you put on your uniform and go to the common area. So off you go and enjoy the baths and other facilities as you wish. An optional extra is the body scrub. My friends got a scrub once, about 2 years ago and gave it a rather negative review so I’ve never gotten one before.
This time however, the jimjilbang was really nice and my friend really wanted one so always one to try something new, I said yes. I’m going to walk you through this experience because I feel it’s my public duty.
First, you lie down on this bed and they rinse you off with basins of water. All grand so far. They then put these yellow gloves on their hands. The gloves look like they were meant to wash dishes, not to be used on a person. Then, the lady proceeds to scrub away your dead skin, from your toes to your neck. What does it feel like????? I think it feels a little like using an emery board, but shaping you body instead of your nails. My friend, however, thinks that it feels like they are sandpapering you into a more beautiful person, a little like they would do with wood.
This all makes it seem like it was very unpleasant. It actually wasn’t. It took about 30 minutes of scrubbing before she was satisfied that only my alive skin survived. Then, she proceeded with another soaking with basins of water. Just when I thought I was finished she insisted on washing my hair. As I sat there, I felt my skin. How did it feel? Actually, my skin felt the same as when you scratch an elastic band and run your finger down the middle. I felt great.
While my experience was quite pleasant, it’s not the same everywhere and some places, including a very popular jimjilbang in Seoul, are not so. Perhaps next time, I’ll use another jimjilbang and make a list of the best places to get a body scrub. Just an idea though…….