I think it is important to regularly get awesome things done to your body that require surrendering your time and attention to feeling delicious. I’m going to keep track of good places to do that here:
Spas, Saunas, Exfoliations, Massages:
First of all RIP Osento, which was a female day spa with outdoor wooden saunas, a cold pool and a sun deck in the heart of the Mission.
Variety of alternatives include:
Kabuki – fancy fancy Japanese style day spa with indoor sauna, steam room, hot tub, cold tub, massage and facial/skin treatments. Downside is – it’s overpriced and kind of snooty the way folks are about sounds. Upside is – it’s deeply quiet, there’s lot of nice touches like cucumber water, rooibos tea, and sarongs. IF you get a massage book with Xavier.
Psy Health Town – a super amazing Korean Day spa in San Leandro. This is worth the 25 minute drive. The exfoliation is full body and includes a rub down, milk, oil, shampoo and conditioning, a facial, and massage. There’s a sacred jade room, a steam room, a hot tub, a cool tub, a reflexology walk – you leave the place feeling like you have a new skin on.
Piedmont Springs – this is great for a private session – alone or with a friend you want to have a good deep conversation with. Book the double room with the outdoor hot-tub and indoor sauna.
Kweli Tutashinda – for seriously deep chiropractic work including soft tissue from a philosopher. Kweli is a brilliant writer and thinker who operates on the border of Oakland/Berkeley and increases your back alignment while sharing life practices, stretches, and thoughts on revolution.
Southfield Family Sauna and Tub is the main one I frequent. It’s Finnish style sauna’s and about $30-40 an hour. I recommend the double room which has sauna and hot tub with a private shower. Spring the $1 for some eucalyptus oil for the sauna, and bring a big bottle of water. Phone: (248) 350-9351
Om Day Spa is a new favorite. It’s pricier, so requires savin up for the splurge. But they have this thing called a Vichy shower with some magical number of spigots that pour water down like a waterfall all over you. My bodyworker noted that I was groaning, always a good sign. Reservations at 313.565.9686
Recently reaffirmed: Russian and Turkish Baths is the first real baths I ever went to, the first time I learned the power of a cold pool and radiant heat. It’s still my favorite in terms of convenience and bang for the buck.
One of the best massage options in NY is a man named Tony, a Chinese Olympian-turned masseuse who works out of a basement in Chinatown. The rates are incredible – $30 for an hour last time I went. And he does deep tissue and acupressure work. Call 212-625-8996 to book.
Exciting discovery: a really nice clean Russian bath in Brooklyn! Check out Brooklyn Banya, on Coney Island Avenue. $30 for all you can sweat access to the saunas, hot and cool pools and steam room. Added bonus: pierogis, borscht, towels and water. Next time I’m getting the Vichy shower massage – $25 for 45 minutes.
Who knew? But I got to go to a gathering in Sundance, UT and the spa there was wonderful. All of their services are based in indigenous approaches to health, well-being and wholeness.
In Malmo, Sweden there is a sauna in the sea called Bjerreds Saltsjöbad. You walk out on a dock into the ocean, and at the end is a sauna split into male/female. There are three saunas to choose from, and then you jump directly into the ocean to cool off. It was only 6 euros when I was there, and gorgeous.
In Paris, France is the famed hammam at the Paris Mosque. This is one of the most beautiful steam/sauna experiences I’ve ever had, and its walking distance from most of downtown Paris. Ask to be exfoliated – it’s worth it.
I haven’t been to this one, but my sharkfemme homey Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha says when in Toronto, Body Blitz Spa is the place to be. She says: ‘olympic size salt water hot tub with waterfalls!’ I can’t wait to check this out