Yesterday, I was reborn.

It was my birthday, and as a perfect way to celebrate the anniversary of my birth, I received a gift of a Korean scrub and massage.

If you’ve experienced this before, you’re probably already off enjoying memories of your most recent scrub…

For the rest of you who have yet to experience this wonderful Korean wellness practice, let me start by singing the praises of the diversity of ways in which the many cultures of the world have developed systems and methods to sustain the health and well-being of their people. We’re so lucky that these diverse methods are traversing borders, continents and oceans, so we can experience them or take elements that we like and incorporate them into our own personal wellness practices.

OK. Enough big-picture stuff. What exactly did I experience in this Korean scrub and massage?

First showered and soaked in the hot tub, bravely dipped myself in the cold bath for oh maybe .4 seconds, and lay for a short while in the dry hot room. Then back in the hot tub. This was all prep for the main event, where I got on a table and a middle-aged Korean woman wearing the universal Korean spa uniform (black bra and panties) scrubbed layers of dead skin off me. I literally shed my old skin.

Then I was soaped and rinsed like a baby, with the care of a Korean scrub-masseuse, who wore the universal Korean spa uniform: black bra and panties. And then she followed with a bit of shiatsu-style acupressure and then oil-based massage that included stretching on the legs. And then there was the hair-washing. And the cucumber-face mask.


I felt invigorated (thanks to all that hard scrubbing; great for the lymphatic system and circulation) and squeaky clean and taken care of by my Korean scrub-mother.

To another year of celebrating life!

(For a detailed description of the experience at the spa I went to, Imperial Spa in San Francisco, read this SF Chronicle article.)