Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Natura Korean Spa L.A., even more of that West Coast decadence, great massage

Visiting my friends in L.A. is visiting my alternative, better life. In this sunnier existence, it's all about spa-going and parties and shopping and cooking and drinking, and all my friends are lesbians in the film industry or sex educators. To me, this is heaven. In my L.A. home-away-from-home, there is a Meyer Lemon tree in the back yard and a peach tree in the front. And people are inclined to take the day off work, just to hang out with me.

Like, Friday, LD and I went to the Natura Spa which is her favorite Korean spa. She likes it primarily because it has a mugwort bath of the right, hot-but-not-too-scalding temperature, and because most of the clientele is Korean. (Funny: we were surrounded by a group of three Korean women around our age at one point, who were speaking in English about breast-feeding and co-sleeping, and I was like, ha, conversation the same across all cultures!) I love Natura too. It's big, totally clean, gives you free admission when you order a spa treatment (we do scrub and massage), and has a wonderful dry sauna, an aromatic steam room, a large hot pool, the mugwort and an icy plunge pool. There's also a radiant heat floor in the chill out room where people take naps after, or sip hot or iced barley tea. Delicious.

Mugwort, by the way, is supposedly good for the menstrual cycle and uterus, eases aches and pains, and has benefits to digestion.

The scrub, which I highly recommend, is effected on a blue-vinyl table in a room off the main area, by a one of a fleet of Korean women in their black bra and underwear and is excruciatingly painful and takes off probably a pound of skin. It's a mystery to me how something so rough and agonizing can also put a person to sleep, but that's always the end result for me. It's like being intensely beaten into relaxation, which as a New Yorker, I need.

The massages, in these places, are not usually the most trained, but this weekend I had a life-changing one (ask for Jenny). Also heard a woman in the locker room talking about how determined her masseuse had been to get out her knots.

So, that's one of the secrets of my L.A. The spa is in Korea town and makes a good segue into Korean dinner at one of the cool BYO storefronts with delicious tofu or noodles.

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