I can’t say I’ve ever felt like a pottery project becoming permanent before — until now, that is. I’m sitting in King Spa & Sauna’s Fire Sudatorium, legs crossed, head down, and it’s hot. Not August-afternoon hot or even Bikram yoga hot, but “oh my goodness, I’m like a piece of clay sitting in a kiln and baking” hot. Some people who frequent the spa make it 25 minutes in this 170-degree pressure cooker, but as the beads of sweat running down my body start to mirror the beginning of a rainstorm with their quickening pace, I relent. Five minutes. Not bad, I decide.
I’m here at the self-proclaimed nation’s largest Asian sauna, curious to see the Korean slant on R&R. After a shower and a soak in variously heated whirlpools (they range from 65 to 115 degrees), I emerge in the pink uniform provided to me and head for the saunas. (A word to the modest: The shower/baths experience is required and strictly sans clothing.)
There’s no set order for visiting the nine sauna rooms, so I start with the first one I see: Bulgama. It’s designed with amethyst crystals and a special stone called elvan that when heated up promises to purify the blood, eliminate extra body fat, and produce healthier hair. That all sounds like something I could use. The heat (120 to 155 degrees) seems threatening at first, but I soon feel relaxed. Next, I meticulously make my way through the rest of the rooms, each one offering something a bit different — like the Yellow-Soil Crystal Room, made with pure yellow soil, which can only be achieved by baking the soil for 100 hours at 1832 degrees; the golden Pyramid Room, which offers improved mental power and concentration; and the Base Rock Bath Room (built for $1 million, says the attendant), which relies on the Siraka stone, imported from Japan, to heal a host of ailments.
After my scalding-hot venture into the Fire Sudatorium, the world’s largest heated sauna, I bolt for the 35-degree Ice Room and find it feels downright heavenly (I tried to replicate the effect after spending time in a few of the other hot rooms, but found it only really worked after the hottest of them all).
The next morning I woke up and immediately felt great — the soreness that usually pervades my muscles from thrice-weekly weightlifting sessions was gone, and my skin looked dewy and felt soft. Was my blood circulation improved, my metabolism quickened, and my immune system strengthened, as the signs promised? There’s no telling. But for $17, I got to (tentatively) shed my inhibitions in a clothing-restricted locker room, hang out among 350-million-year-old rocks, and survive being roasted in a kiln-like contraption.
That’s good enough for me.
Check It Out:
King Spa & Sauna
2154 Royal Lane
Dallas, TX 75229