Scrub a Dub Dub, without the Tub – Metta Murdaya

19 Jan
The Scrub that Scrubs It All

The Scrub that Scrubs It All

Just last week I went for a Korean body scrub in Jakarta, patronized mainly by the Korean and Japanese expats of Jakarta. This bath house, (minus the Indonesian staff and architecture of the building,) was  typical of those you find in Korea in their bath houses. Unlike your typical pamper-me body scrub treatment with delicate music piping through, this was more like a no-nonsense factory setup of  the human skin smoothing machine. My friend said it was like scaling a fish, with you being the fish, of course, but that darn, it was worth it.

Step 1: Go into a sauna to soften your skin, or if available, sit in various hot pools in the bathhouse) This is the fun, relaxing, enjoyable and social part of the experience. An Indonesian twist – they offer you Ginger Tea before if you want, and unlimited coffee.

Step 2. Lie down on an assigned hospital gurney sized vinyl bed where a barely dressed no-nonsense woman in shorts and a tanktop (or only bra and undies in Korea,) basically splashes you down and scrubs every square inch of your buck naked (yep, showing them bits and all,) body with a special rough (yet strangely not skin-ripping) cloth, till all your dead skin and dirt gets sloughed off. You can even see the little clusters  of grey, dead, wet skin and feel it as it comes off between the intermittent rinsing with comfortably warm water.  Mind you, this scrub down is is not recommended for the modest. They get in all sorts of places, just shy of your hoo-ha, but these women are pros; I admire their tenacity and commitment to ridding you of all dead skin. Even the little areas behind your ears are not spared, as they ask to you lie on your back, side, front, and then the other side… nothing missed!

Step 3: Soften that skin… To soothe the newly rubbed down and rinsed skin, they then pour on and massage milk all over your body, which feels like a welcome contradictory feel to the previous scrub down. I am not sure if this is purely Korean or somewhat a local influence, but it is soft, creamy, yummy, and totally lovely. Then they pour honey all over your body, and also rub that onto the skin to soften and hydrate. Yes, I licked it off my arm to make sure it was the real deal, undiluted and all – and it was. An option to have a face mask of blended, fresh cucumbers to tone is available. This part is so awesome feeling you almost forget you’re on a vinyl gurney. Almost.

Afterwards, there’s a generally non-ceremonious end where you are handed a towel after a final rinse to dry off and change – and off you go. Did I like it? I thought it was interesting – I LOVED the way I felt after, but let’s just say it’s made way more awesome if you focus on the after vs. the during, and that never has milk and honey felt so good…

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