Thursday, May 8, 2008

Therapeutic waters: Ode to soaking

My GF Susan wrote me today, "Two more sleeps until Body Blitz!"

Full disclosure: the traditional beauty spas make me really nervous. I find the treatments overpriced or silly, the atmosphere pretentious; the whole experience is not a treat for me.


Then I visited the hammam at the Mosque of Paris, and I went into the zone. In the exquisitely mosaic-tiled baths, I drifted, relaxed, experienced the exfoliating scrub (gommage). A simple, spirit-lifting, deeply female experience.

In this blissed out zone, I passed several hours, and left serene in the Paris twilight.
I looked for a hammam in my city, and one day a woman old me about Body Blitz, which is similar: an all-women therepeutic water spa.

Aside from the waters, they offer only a few treatments: massage, exfoliation, mud wraps. No Chocolate Chakra Thermal Stone foo-faw, no mani-pedi, and (yay) no Anti-aging Cellulite-blasting Bull-S.


You enter, turn off all electronics, shower, change into your swim or birthday suit, and begin a circuit (without strict time requirements) of salt-water pool (shown in the photo at top), steam room, cold plunge pool, sauna, green tea pool and finish in the salt pool.

You're surrounded by natural stone and wood, immaculate rooms. Graceful attendants bring you tea.


If your city has a hammam or a therapeutic-water spa, try it. Every friend I have taken longs for a return visit.

3 comments:

greying pixie said...

Your hammam experience is very tempting. I have a friend who regularly invites me to go with her on her annual week to a UK healthfarm but so far I have always refused on ethical grounds - how can one pay £1,000 for a week to lose weight when more than half the world is starving?

However what I would gladly pay for (and may keep it as my retirment treat) is a tour of the hot springs of Japan. The idea of bathing in naturally steaming hot pools in the tranquality of the landscape with snow all around is definitely my idea of heaven. Our local public swimming pool has an outdoor whirlpool but this is definitely not the same even when it's snowing!

I've made a note of your Paris experience and will investigate when next there. Do you remember the address?

La Belette Rouge said...

This is on my list of things to do in Paris. Oh, one of my dreams in life is to have a Japanese soaking tub. I am a Pisces fish who is happiest in water.
Your day of watery bliss sounds like heaven. Le sigh!!

Duchesse said...

See for all info and description of the experience:
http://www.parisist.com/archives/2007/02/01/the_hammam_at_the_grand_mosquee_de_paris.php

Location: 39 rue Geoffrey St-Hillaire in the 5e (right near Jardin des Plantes). Cost was 58E for baths, scrub (gommage), 30 min. massage and mint tea. Or bring your own masques, etc for much less.

Body Blitz spa is $45 for unlimited day's use of the waters.

Visited some hot springs in North America, the sulphur smell takes getting used to but they were sublime.