Massages, facials, hot tubs. Oh my!


I find that I do not pamper myself as much as I would like. It’s not like I don’t have any opportunities. It’s just… well, I don’t really know. So when my friend Bea handed me a brochure from Olympic Spa and suggested we go, I accepted the challenge.


I scanned the pamphlet and decided I needed to be pampered.


There were hot tubs and cold plunges; massages and facials; packages of this and that. I scanned the multitude of choices and ultimately chose the Pure Bliss package. Our appointment was for 3:00 p.m. but we were to be there by 2:30. We got in Bea’s new Lexus and headed toward Koreatown, a place in downtown Los Angeles.


It was 2:40 when we arrived in the valet-attended parking lot. The Spa Divas were calling Bea asking where we were as we ran tippy-toe down the walkway into the bowels of one of the greatest “me” treatments EVER.


We had to pay before we were handed a towel, a hospital gown and a device that looked like an oversized watch with a number on it. Mine was 113. Go through the door; you don’t have much time; your massage starts at 3:00. Through the door, I blindly follow Bea into a locker room of sorts where nude ladies walked around in what appeared to be slow motion.


Some had on their hospital issue gowns. Some had only towels wrapped around their head like a babushka. There were mirrors on one side, lockers in the middle and something I wasn’t sure about on the right. I put my big watch on this black pad on locker 113 and saw a green light. I opened my locker, put my purse, shoes and clothing inside, and then proceeded to follow my friend into the wet room.


On the right were cubicles where I parked my gown, watch and towel. In front of me were women in the buff sitting and lounging on the floor inside and around tubs with steam emitting from them. I continued to follow Bea into the showers behind the cubicles. Notes are posted hither and yon that I must shower before entering pools.


Showers were lined along the wall. No doors, only walls separating one showerhead from another. I stepped into the shower and washed away the outdoors, then made my way into the world of pools.


One pool was a hot tub with jets swirling the water around. Another was a hot tub filled with mugwort, giving me the sense of being in a Harry Potter book. The water was a mahogany color and after soaking in it, I was convinced my skin had turned a darker shade. In the corner was another pool filled with cold water. I sat nearby cooling my face, not tempted to take the plunge. Along the back wall on the right was a steam room with an adjacent sauna to the left of it. Behind the pools are massage stations.


The staff ladies are dressed in black panties and bras. When my massage time arrived, a staff lady called out 113 and lead me to a plastic massage table where I laid face down to await my fate. I soon felt a bucket of water hit my backside, a warm wet and relaxing feeling. Ooh, so nice.


Then I felt my left foot being scrubbed by what felt like Luffa gloves. Luffas are scratchy but that did not stop my staff lady from bearing down on the soles of my feet.  Scrape, scrape, scrape every inch of my foot and ankle. She made her way up my leg, hip and back. Then bucketed again with the water and the perfect temperature. Scrape scrape scrape down the right side. Bucket. Scrape scrape scrape up the right side; bucket; down the left; bucket.

My backside felt like the top layer of dermis no longer attached itself to its foundation.


Turn over she said as she commenced the ritual on the topside of my anatomy. Up the shin, knee, leg lead me to believe she was heading straight for my chest of drawers. And how is that going to feel? Yikes. Here she comes.


But the rhythm of the scraping lulled me into relaxation. Her touch around chest of drawer knobs was done with professionalism and gentleness.


Up the shoulders and collarbone and neck lead her down the opposite side where she started to repeat the process to end it with a bucket. In one fell swoop, I was lifted into a sitting position. My hands were filled with a pink gel and I was told to scrub my face with it and go shower off. I did as I was told, like fulfilling a Genie’s wish. I looked down to see if my skin was still attached to my body and saw a pink hue instead of a mugwort mahogany.


As I rinsed off, I could feel the subtle sting of water on freshly scrubbed skin. I turned off the spigot and headed back to my massage stall like a horse returning to its stable. The staff lady inspected me to make sure I was rid of the dead skin she had worked so hard at to remove, before she instructed me to face down on the table. She proceeded to lather me up with some creamy salve and began to massage my muscles.


Her hands worked me over, front and back and on my sides, leaving no part of me untouched or unslathered.  She then wrapped a towel around my hair and began the artful task of painting my face with a thick mask, as if my face were a canvas and this her first masterpiece.


My hair was washed and rinsed right there on my plastic massage table. After having had time to dry, the mask was gently pulled off my face which was followed by a facial massage.


She swooped me up into a sitting position again, held my gown out for me to step into, handed me my watch, a gift of Luffa-like scrubbies and an envelope with her name on it.

I hugged her her perfection and began to float out to the locker room feeling like I was going to meet the Great Oz after being scrubbed, buffed, polished and left shining like a beacon of light.


It was then I noticed the platform I had neglected upon entering on the opposite wall from the lockers. Ladies were laying on little mats and pillows. I went over to inspect and saw Bea splayed out in a relaxed stupor. The floor was emitting heat, warmth. I too lie down and felt Pure Bliss.


Everyone deserves a day of Pure Bliss and happiness like I experienced. When will you book yours?



Ricia Vigil is a foodie attempting to survive on garden harvests while living in the Arizona desert. Beginning as a court reporter and ending as a captionist, she was immersed in a realm of words and the English language for work. Besides playing word games, she likes to travel the world and write about those experiences. Reading tons of silly chick lit is where she gets her motivation.