My First Korean Massage – Exposed and Violated

Right before my “winter break” one of my coworkers messaged me and told me about a Korean spa/bath house called a Jimjibang. She explained it was only around $15 to enter for the entire day. I got excited as I read her message to me, until I read the words “Be forewarned, everybody is naked.” As comfortable as someone may be in their own skin, not everyone enjoys walking around with other naked people. I for one, DO NOT! I don’t want to see everyone’s junk all the time. I am not a fan of unnecessary nakedness and “Naked day” at the psych ER and a year and a half at the jail supplied me with enough nakedness to last a lifetime. 

Work couldn’t end soon enough, as I eagerly anticipated my hour long massage. I was blessed to be introduced to a Korean masseuse who spoke very good English so it made me feel more comfortable. She pointed to a tiny robe and shoes and told me to change and put my clothes in the cabinet. I pointed to what I thought was the changing room and she said “No, you change here.” That’s when I realized nakedness is not an uncomfortable thing for Koreans. The tiny robe barely covered me and the changing room left me exposed as I unclothed in front of people having a conversation in the other room. Awkward! I realized I would just have to suck it up and deal with it, or getting a massage would be a waste of time if I could not relax. So, I walked into the room to see a table with no comfy hole to rest your head and was instructed to lye down on my back. “Uh, what now?” 

Yup, awkwardness and discomfort circulated the room. She started by massaging my head and neck and then my shoulders. The awkwardness and discomfort slowly faded as I began to relax until she started massaging my stomach. It felt like she was doing the ninja turtles version of wax on wax off. Sudden, deep, hard pushes to my stomach left me wondering if I should be inhaling or exhaling and at one point not taking a breath at all. AWKWARD and WEIRD are the only words I have to explain this feeling, I don’t even know how else to try to articulate what I felt. 

“Brandeeeeee, can you flip?” So, I did just that. I rolled over as she was massaging my shoulders she stopped and then I felt the tiny Asian woman climb on top of me. Good thing she didn’t weigh that much, I can only imagine if my masseuse was significantly larger what it would have felt like to have someone climbing on my back. As she climbed back off, I heard her say “Okay, now we stretch, grab my snap.” “Grab your what?” “My snap.” Having absolutely no idea what she was talking about, I opened my eyes to see her pointing at her wrist.

After all the stretching, she placed a rolled up towel underneath my head. She lifted both sides of the towel, each side stretching from underneath my neck and covering my cheek and ear and began to do what I can only describe to you as something you would see used as a torture method in an episode of 24. 

It was the most awkward, uncomfortable, hilarious, yet very relaxing massage I have ever had and all the random extra’s made me feel like I visited the chiropractor as well. Score!

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3 thoughts on “My First Korean Massage – Exposed and Violated”

  1. haha – it is an experience you’ll remember forever! I have had a massage by blind men in China…I don’t know why, other than Fodors told me it was worth trying. False! That was the strangest 60 minutes of my life. I kept peeking to see if they were faking the blind thing just to get a few sneak peeks of the tourist. Then the massage I tried while in Morocco was even crazier. In a bathhouse with 50 naked Moroccan women of every shape and size. Let’s just say, its an American thing to be shy about nudity! Needless to say, it is now one of my favorite travel stories to share.

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