One memory stands out from my California trip- my first Korean spa experience! I absolutely love bathhouses, and always try to experience them when I travel. Favourites include the Russian Turkish Baths in New York, and any baths in Istanbul. LA, however, served up some strong competition: the Korean spa.

I chose the Olympic spa (http://olympicspala.com/) as per online sources, and ended up spending 3 hours (!) there. The entrance was 20 USD, and I didn’t get a treatment but they offer a selection with varying prices. Once you’re in, you get a towel and robe (for afterwards) and are sent off to explore, fully naked.

I did everything- steam room, clay sauna, pink salt sauna, mugwort bath, cold plunge, jacuzzi, and the “oxygen” room. The pink salt sauna was especially magical as it’s a room built from slabs of healing pink Himalayan salt. My other favourite was the mugwort bath, a trusted herb I often drink in a tea for menstrual health (also happened to get a much-needed period the next day, on the full moon!)

What really made the experience for me though was the womxn! All fully naked, all shapes, ages, sizes, and colours (not what I was expecting from a spa in LA, thought I’d be in sea of blondes). And all peacefully bathing, some in small groups, many alone, others with their daughters. It was truly comforting, so soon after the divisive U.S election, to see all these womxn taking care of their bodies gently and lovingly.

Now I’m back in Toronto and hunting for some good baths here. I’ve been to some of the big fancy ones like Hammam spa and Blitz, but I know we also have some little under-the-radar Korean spots and I’d love to see how they compare to the LA scene. In the meantime, I’ll have to stick to my at-home version- very salty baths with coconut oil and honey, maybe some goat milk thrown in, and ginger steams for the face.