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Tracy King's Blog

Spa Day

one of the many great things about Los Angeles is the huge variety and excellent quality of massage opportunities.

During the spring real estate buying season, it is often difficult for Realtors to take a day off, but necessary. After 2 weeks of working pretty much every day, taking a day off became mandatory for me. Luckily, one of the many great things about Los Angeles is the huge variety and excellent quality of massage opportunities. You can go to a hole in the wall Thai massage place, a chiropractor’s office, or a franchise massage provider like Massage Envy to a full on beauty spa like Burke Williams. You can have a massage therapist come to your home, or you can go to a “day spa.”
In Los Angeles, we have a large number of Korean Day Spas. Most professional masseuses cover your body with a sheet and only uncover the particular area they are working on. Not so with the Korean spa! You are naked and usually in a part of the spa room that is open to everyone. There is something curiously comforting about this. After all, everyone is naked except for your masseuse, who is generally wearing a black bra and panties. And while the quality of the particular masseuse you have can vary, the procedure is almost identical no matter where you go.
I have only been to a few day spas, but in general, they have hot and cold pools, steam and sauna rooms, and offer body scrub and massage services. A lot of them are connected to gyms and restaurants, like the Century Sports Club on Olympic. One new one called Wi Spa in West Hollywood has a family atmosphere with computer and game rooms so the whole family can go and relax and play. It’s open 24 hours, so some people even sleep there.
This time I decided to try a new (to me) spa that had good reviews in Yelp.com, Daengki Spa. It’s a small spa, open to women only, located in a small strip mall on Third Street in Koreatown. Daengki Spa was described as “the most like a spa you would find in Korea”. I’ve never been to Korea, so I had no idea what that might mean.
Most of the staff speaks limited English. The woman at the front desk was very nice and friendly, and gave me a quick tour of the facility. We worked out that I would have the “Special” treatment for $100 and she gave me a basket with a robe and a couple of towels and the key to my locker. Another woman came up and using very good English introduced herself as another staff person, asked my name, and said they would find me when it was time to have my treatment. She remembered my name when I checked out, too. I found that to be very impressive, but it was probably easy for her since I was the only non-Korean woman there.  daengki spa
If you’ve never been to a Korean spa, there are a couple of very important rules to know. No clothes or swimsuits are allowed in the spa room and you must shower well when you first go in the room and again before you go into the tubs after being in the steam or sauna rooms. It will add a lot to everyone’s experience if you are quiet and turn off your cell phone while you are there. If you can remember these rules, you’ll do fine. I have found that it helps to go to the spa’s website (and they all seem to have one) and read up on what they offer and what they have to say about their amenities. If you are looking for a quiet, serene experience you don’t want to go to the spa that has the games for kids.
Daengki is the smallest spa I’ve been to. It’s also the friendliest. The staff was nice, but the customers were really nice as well. An unusual feature is the V-Herbal Therapy, which they describe on their website as “A feminine herbal steam treatment using a variety of herbs to rid the body of toxins. This treatment is commonly used for women trying to conceive, or who have menstrual cramps, bladder infections, kidney problems, and more. It is a traditional Korean health remedy.” So if you have any of these issues, this is the place to go. One woman described the treatment in a Yelp review, so you can read up on it: http://www.yelp.com/biz/daengki-spa-los-angeles.
The facility itself is basic but clean. The mud and salt sauna felt very “old-country,” with rustic mud walls and salt crystals. There is also a marble steam room studded with crystals, a sauna, a hot and a cold pool. There is one small bathroom, four showers in the spa room, and no sinks in the dressing area. But for me, the experience was one of the best I’ve ever spent at a day spa because the massage was so fantastic! This woman seemed to know where all the knots and tense areas on my body were and she rubbed them out. It was exactly what I wanted and needed. For most people, the body scrub is the key to the Korean spa. It’s kind of torture because they scrub every bit of dead skin off your body with scratchy little mitts, but it’s a necessary step towards your ultimate well-being. Then the aromatherapy oil massage is firm and deep, but feels great. With The Special, you also get a cucumber mask, your hair shampooed and your head massaged. It’s a complete treat, and I left feeling clean, de-stressed, pampered, and serene.
Daengki Spa, 4245 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90020, (213) 381-3780 http://www.daengkispa.com/Home_Page.html. I parked on the street right next to the spa, but they say they have valet parking in the front.

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