I’m not really a spa guy.
I know there are lots of you out there, and I’m great with that, but just not something I’ve ever done…until last week.
My brothers are huge fans of a Russian Spa here in Seattle called Banya 5, and last week we all went (my brothers, brother-in-law and some other friends) Wasn’t quite sure what to expect. They dude (not Russian in any way I could tell) who greeted us called me “guy who’s never been here before.” That was funny the first few time, but lost the funny after a while. We were given forms to sign that basically said that if we died in the spa it was our own faults – these were roughly the same forms I signed when I went to the shooting range. Then we were given towels and hopefully-clean sandals.
After throwing on our bathing suits, yes we wore suits – it’s not THAT kind of spa, we headed for the hot sauna. I’ve done saunas before, but this place was roughly like being on the surface of the sun while inside a rain forest. The walls were too hot to touch, so you just sat on your towel and after a minute our so the monsoon-sweat began. I didn’t know I had that much liquid in me. Not knowing how long I should stay in here, the helpful guide gave me the specific instructions - “you’ll know.” He was right.
After we emerged came the most memorable part of the experience (kinda like the drill is the most memorable part of the visit to the dentist). Covered in sweat we jumped into a FREEZING COLD pool. My heart rate instantly shot up to like 300 and in a weird way my skin felt hotter than before. That soon changed and I was just a bald shivering guy wanting badly to hug the deadly walls of the sauna. There were lots of other cool things that day (pun intended) like a salt water bath where you couldn’t help but float, your typical hot tub, a nap room with awesome lounge chairs, and my favorite – a steam room with intense eucalyptus vapors that made me feel like I’d never have a cold again. Also, if you didn’t want the ice water bath there was an freezing shower thing where you pulled a chain and were dumped on with water so cold that I’m pretty sure chunks of ice bounced off my head. Pulling that chain was awful tough…
It was a great day, and hard to leave. We did 3 circuits of the different “stations.” And I left feeling surprisingly mellowed and relaxed (a little bit like a long church meeting). Russian Spa = AWESOME. Can’t wait to go back, but I’m wearing this next time: