Body neutrality is usually the first step into loving your body. Body neutrality is simply appreciating your body and its functionality versus its appearance. And if there is one place that totally allows you to put functionality over appearance, it’s a (fully nude) Korean Spa.
Now, I know for most people, especially plus size babes, the thought of being nude in a room full of people, even if it’s only women, does not scream “spa experience,” but I promise it wasn’t an “I forgot my pants nightmare!”
I was personally somewhat forced into becoming comfortable naked around my mom as an adult, due to a horrible injury where she needed to help me shower for months. She has always been under the notion of not only is it just a body, but my body made your body. So, nothing is weird because I’m your mom. Her attitude definitely helped calm my initial anxiety, but this was the first experience we had being fully nude together.
The particular Korean Spa we went to has the mogyoktang, or nude bathhouse area divided by gender, and then a jimjilbang, or co-ed area where you have to be clothed, and they even give you sweats to wear. Not knowing how the sizing would work, I brought my own robe and clothes, and I am glad I did, because I wouldn’t have been comfortable in how tight they were.
image via Canva
Wrapped in my own robe, I stored my personal belongings, giggled with my mom, took a deep breath and was fully nude, in public! I mean, not public, but more public than I have ever been. My stomach, my stretch marks, my breasts that are no longer as perky as they used to be, all exposed.
I quickly showered and then dipped myself into the hot tub as fast as I could, so at least my body was somewhat hidden, but that’s when I realized, no one cared about me or my body at all.
It was a collection of natural women, with body hair, scars, tattoos and wrinkles, all just enjoying themselves and giving their bodies some self-care. No one even looked up from their own zen.
I forgot I was Nude at this Korean Spa!
From the dry sauna to the wet sauna, cold plunge, extra hot plunge, and basic hot tub; the funny thing was at some point, I forgot I was nude. I stopped grabbing my robe when I took a break to drink water. I was truly just enjoying every inch of my plus size body uninhibited, unashamed and completely in it’s functionality.
Then, it was time for the seshin, a traditional Korean spa technique that uses a full-body exfoliating scrub. It lifts dead skin and boosts blood circulation. They told us to get into the hot tub 30 minutes before to soften our skin for the scrubbing. Then, they took us back behind a wall and we each had our own section, but again we were fully nude!
Once laid on the plastic bed, my masseuse began exfoliating every inch of me… and when I say every inch, I truly mean every inch. She was in between my fingers and toes, lifted my arms and repositioned my legs to make sure not to miss a spot. It wasn’t necessarily painful, but it was definitely vigorous.
Occasionally, she would throw a bucket of warm water over me to clean off all the dead skin and then keep scrubbing. I couldn’t even comprehend how much dead skin there would be, but let’s just say it was more than I expected.
There were a few moments I felt a bit self conscious with this women touching so much of my body, but then I tried to relax into it remembering she’s seen being doing this for years. They were in a bra and underwear and were completely professional.
I mean, I’m sure she has seen every type of body throughout the years and was completely unfazed that we were nude. You know that scene in “The Wizard of Oz” where they go to the “Wash & Brush Up” and have a team getting them ready for the Wizard? My mom and I laughed feeling like we were getting the Oz experience.
The treatment ended with a hair wash and conditioning and it didn’t take long after that to forget again at how exposed and nude I was, which I know seems a bit crazy.
Overall, it was such a unique and incredible experience that my mom and I will share and laugh about forever, and I am so glad I didn’t hold myself back because of my insecurities.
At the end of the day, we all live in real bodies. Bodies that droop, sag, scar, change and most importantly allow us to live. We owe it to our bodies, and to ourselves to make the most out of that life and even pamper them from time to time.
Have you ever been to a Korean Spa? What was your experience? Let me know, I am soooo curious if your experience was as freeing as mine!