08 March 2010

Taking care of myself…

One of my favorite “just for me” activities is massage. Due to a really bad car accident in November 1990, I have lower back issues that can sometimes stop a sista dead in her tracks. As a result, once a month (at least), I go and get a deep tissue or (my personal favorite) a hot stone massage. I have been blessed to meet some amazing massage therapists who have great hands and I walk out of the massages relaxed and loose and feeling great. And because I cannot be anywhere without talking to people, it was through my interaction with my masseuse, Jarrett, that I found out about a Korean wellness and health center here in the Atlanta area. Jarrett kept telling me that I needed to check out this place: JeJu Sauna and Wellbeing Center in Duluth. Since Duluth is a bit of a hike from my house, I kept putting off going to visit. Then a co-worker of mine mentioned that he was going to JeJu in celebration of his 40th birthday and I was like, “Ok, this place keeps crossing my path – I must need to go.” I mean, if GUYS are talking about a place of relaxation as a destination – it MUST be worth the trip.

So, yesterday, I made the time to drive out to JeJu Sauna. Can I just tell you: The Korean culture KNOWS how to relax and put aside the cares of the world for a moment! It was wonderful. From the moment you walk into the place, you can feel your tensions melting away. For the low admission price of $25, you have full access to hydro-therapies (like hot, warm and cold Jacuzzis), dry and wet saunas, and then there are the co-ed sauna igloos – I cannot really describe it – you have to experience it for yourself. There is a restaurant onsite in case you get hungry or dehydrated. A swimming pool if you want to workout while there. And for additional fees, there are massages, sea salt scrubs (which one lady told me I HAVE to try, so you know I will on my next visit), facials, mani-pedi – I mean, talk about pampering yourself – you could definitely do it here.

I have to admit, I don’t feel like I maximized the benefits of my visit. I was so excited to be there and wanted to try everything and didn’t have as much time in my schedule as I initially planned. While I had a great experience, I felt like I rushed through my relaxation time. We "Westerners" don't know how to relax relax anyway, but I think I am ready to learn. JeJu is probably the place to learn. I was admittedly surprised, but pleased, by the vast diversity of the clients. I met people from as close as Stone Mountain and as far away as Poland. (I told you I cannot go anywhere without talking to people!) Young, old, Black, White, male, female - nice.

Talking about my experience later, a friend congratulated me on “taking care of myself” and I responded, “well, if I don’t do it – who will?” Every Christian knows that our bodies are supposed to be the temples of God – we are responsible for taking care of our temples. Exercise, diet, rest, (and in my case) massage – all of these are ways in which we care for our temples. We (especially women) have to do these things for ourselves in order for us to be able to take care of our families, friends and other obligations that pull and tug on us every day.

As I was laying in the salt sauna igloo, sweating a lot of toxins out of my system, I was thinking of friends and family who could benefit from an outing to JeJu, but who would probably not be interested because it is a little outside the “norm”. How many blessings do we miss out on because we will not step outside of our comfort zones? I’ll be extending some invites for people to join me at JeJu (already have) and let’s just see who will take advantage. If you are in the Atlanta area, I encourage you to check it out for yourself – and if you want a partner when you go for the first time, just call me up! I am sure I will be out there again…soon.

Website: www.jejusauna.net.

Be blessed.

© 2010 Kristina E. Smith
8 March 2010

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