Thursday, September 08, 2005

Willow Spa

I have to give a shout out about this beautiful, serene place. Terrie and I had an appointment for their 2-for-1 Japanese Enzyme Bath with half-hour Thai massage. Neither of us really knew what to expect, but we were very pleasantly surprised. The place itself is beautiful, calming, soothing, zen-like. A cute little converted beach bungalow. You wish you could live there, it’s so peaceful. Everyone speaks in hushed tones and everyone is nice. It’s quite an escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

After changing into the “loungewear” the adorable Hugo provides you with, he gives you a little shot of this enzyme drink, then leads you to the bath area. The bath is a deep heating treatment that was originally developed in Japan for the athletes in the Olympics. It is a dry bath that consists of a combination of finely cut Juniper shavings, rice bran, and fruit and vegetable enzymes. Its purifying properties can assist the body up to five times its natural ability in detoxifying. And we all need to detox, right? Shoot, I know I do. You lie in this stuff and it ferments and heats up naturally. It has the consistency of potting soil, though not the smell, thankfully. It smells herby and woodsy. You are completely covered in it and it feels like being in the womb since every part of you (except your head) is covered and warm and soft. You lie there completely still for 20 minutes and sweat, but the adorable Hugo comes to you like an angel every 5 minutes or so to wipe down your face with a lavender-scented washcloth and give you a cup of water through a straw. I have to say here that I normally am not the type to tolerate a sauna or steam room since I just get too overheated and claustrophobic. It doesn’t feel good to me. But this was easy to tolerate and was actually very meditative and quite nice.

After rinsing off and donning the loungewear, Hugo led us to a separate room to lie on a mat with an eye mask on and earphones playing soft, Japanese type music in your ears. Then he starts the Thai massage. Now, being a massage therapist myself, I’m ashamed to admit I have never had Thai massage, but am a total believer now. He used his body weight to apply pressure to certain muscle groups in the thighs, while placing your legs in specific poses that offered a great stretch. Along with this comes an outrageous foot massage. I asked Terrie if it would be inappropriate for me to ask Hugo for his hand in marriage. But she reminded me that I am, of course, partnered with a perfectly good man. But can’t I have two? I asked. No, she replied. Well, a girl can dream.

We sat out in the garden sipping green tea afterward and reading smut mags. Like I said, you wish you lived there and don’t really want to leave. But we eventually did, with soft, smooth, glowing skin and a relaxed and serene disposition for the rest of the day. I highly recommend this place. It’s a little zen vacation, conveniently close in Santa Monica.

Willow Spa
3127 Santa Monica Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90404
Phone: (310) 453-9004
www.willowspa.com

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