The weather has turned drastically from summer heat to autumn rain; and many, like myself, are turning indoors to keep warm.
Looking to heat to recuperate for the week to come, we decided to visit the JJ Spa. It was my first time at a traditional Korean spa, let alone JJ, and I was lost because of it.
The spa isn’t located anywhere prominent, so you have to know to know where to go, to get there. You enter the facility and yield to the sliding door requiring you to remove your shoes firsts. You leave them there with a warning of theft, or take them with you, to lock and secure later.
Visits are by appointment only. So call ahead as capacity is limited, especially so given the current restrictions. Once you make an appointment you are texted the requirements of visiting and what you need to bring. Necessary items include your own towel to dry off with, slippers for the wet spaces so should you choose, masks for the dry spaces, body and hair wash to clean up after if you please, and bathing suits; but it is clothing optional.
You check in and are given a key for the lockers and a change of clothes for the shared space. A tee shirt and matching shorts in either purple or beige. Loose fitting and starchy they do the job, but don’t necessarily put comfort in mind. You are then directed to the gender specific locker rooms and left to your own devices.
Although, I wish they gave you a more thorough run down of the facilities. This is especially as I stated that it was my first time, and my companion was of the opposite gender, and therefore unable to guide me through the women’s only sections of the spa. There was a quickie laminated map you can reference at the check in counter. However it would have been nice to get the lay of the land, before you change and settle. And especially as I ended up missing some of the spa rooms below, a point I only noticed after and when writing this review.
The wet spa is what is split up into separate spaces for men and women. The hot tub, cold bath, steam sauna, and dry sauna. The following are the benefits of the latter two, as taken from JJSpa’s website. Followed by the rest of the dry sauna rooms.
Dry Sauna is designed as a place to experience dry heat sessions. It helps the body to cleanse itself through perspiration naturally. The high heat (average of 180¡Æ F) and the low humidity (about 25%) create an environment which promotes over-all perspiration and the deep cleansing of pores. This total perspiration helps maintain clear, healthy skin and provides a rosy afterglow.
Steam sauna has several positive effects on the body. The continued use of a sauna may increase the body’s metabolism and promote healthy looking skin. It is also believed that using the sauna may help to get rid of stress and relieve muscle tension. Steam heat is good for dry skin: it moisturize to open up the pores and soften the skin.
Mineral Salt has natural anion with excellent anti-biotic sterilizing power. It helps increase metabolism and recover the body from fatigue.
The Salt Room is also separated by gender, though requires you to wear their designated uniforms when entering. Every other space in the women’s or men’s changing room (respectively) is clothing optional. For myself, this room was constantly busy with groups of women lingering and chatting together. So as a one of, there was no room for me.
The following amenities are also included with your visit, but available to both genders at the same time. They are situated out of the private changing area, past the common space, within their own individual rooms. Once again as taken from their website.
“Soot” is a pure Korean work of Charcoal. It means “fresh power”. The most significant effect of Charcoal is the antioxidant benefit and restoration of the body. Soot has the power to sustain things for a long time and it also has outstanding restoration power to have everything activated and keep the body healthy and cured.
Slightly cooled, this room was my favourite for how sterile it felt with the cleansing effects of charcoal.
Since yellow soil contains a large amount of far-infrared ray that is essential for the growth of living things, it is also called as a storage of the sun’s energy, or ‘living thing’.
Set slightly warmer than body temperature, but not enough to force sweat from pores, this is the room to nap in. You would rest here for a longer period of time, get slightly over heated, and then head to the charcoal room to slowly cool down within. But for an icier chill look to the ice room below.
After staying in the hot rooms, your blood vessels will expand and your pores will be enlarged as well. At this time, if you use the ice room, not only will your dermovascular be contracted and makes your skin enable to stretch, it also protects your skin from dryness.
Hard benches, lack of comfort resting, plus a bone chilling temperature; had you making this but a pit stop.
As an add on to your spa experience, you can also sign up for and pay extra for massage and acupuncture services. However, we did not do so on this visit. I recommend sussing things out, enjoying the amenities and figuring out what is and isn’t available, and how the flow of traffic works before returning for a more concise experience. The full JJ experience that includes indulging in a massage, snacks from their in house cafe, relaxing on their couches in the foyer, and/or enjoying their outdoor garden on a sunny day.
Once you have had your fill of warning and cooling, you end your stay back in the changing area. Therein are traditional seated showers stalls with individual mirrors, step stools, and extendable and adjustable shower heads you can use to clean yourself, or a friend. It is also encouraged that you clean yourself before entering any of the pools of water above.
My only gripe about the experience was the condition of the place. You can tell that lots of work has been put into keeping the space clean and tidy, but the furnishings and the setting is noticeably worn. There is an age to the place and it definitely takes away from an otherwise tranquil spa day. But nonetheless if you can put that aside, and are looking for a quick and easily escape, JJ Spa is open to everyone with an appointment.
JJ Family Spa Plus
3000 Christmas Way, Coquitlam, BC V3C 2M2