Massages are supposed to be a therapeutic and a relaxing experience, not one that leaves you wondering “What the hell was that”? Just the mention of Napa Valley Spa sounds delightful right?
Napa Valley, Wine Country with an abundance of Spas at every corner of this beautiful region. Sign me up! I wanted the whole Napa Valley Spa experience, so on my honeymoon, many years ago, I booked a day of pampering; full body massage, whirlpool, mud bath, and a body wrap. Oh….this was going to be a glorious day that I would remember for years to come.
It’s important to know that although I felt I was a seasoned participant of massages; I was pretty new to the whole spa experience. I’ve heard from many people how mud is so great for your skin and how you feel like your skin is glowing for days. I read of others who raved about how calming the body wraps are; and what better place to immerse yourself in the spa experience but California.
After my brief introduction, I was given an explanation of my services and fees, a beautiful soft white robe and slippers. Nice so far, although I still was waiting for a glass of wine; I assumed this was obligatory in Napa! (Not so apparently)
I was introduced to my therapist who would take me to the Hydro Room. Lovely young lady. It was a large room with a whirlpool in the corner, two open showers. (no wall or curtain) I was told I could undress to my comfort level, wear a bathing suit or not.(I’m a bit self conscious but this is a spa and they are all professionals) I figured it was a mud bath and I was the only client, plus; I did not have a bathing suit on me. Au Natural it is!
I was carefully explained the technique of getting in the tub. Really? It’s a tub; I got this! Anyway, I was told to disrobe, sit on the side of the tub and very carefully put my bum down and flatten out as soon as possible so that you could “gently” sink in the mud. She explained that the bottom of the tub is very hot, so your really wanted to sink flat on your back as if you were in quick sand. Quick Sand? That doesn’t sound very relaxing?? The therapist explained that she would come in and assist you if you needed it. You would then relax in the bath for 20 minutes or so. Alrighty then!
After the therapist left I stood there looking at these 2 very large tubs of mud. After disrobing I tried following the instructions of sliding my very naked bum into the mud. “Oooooh dear, this is kinda hot. Is it suppose to be this hot”? Now I tried to slip in and anchor my right foot on the other side of the tub, while holding both sides of the tub with my arms. I was now in a very awkward position as you can well imagine. It was then I could hear the therapist coming into the room. Shit! I was NAKED, sprawled out like a spider monkey, still not in the mud. My shyness and self consciousness suddenly took over, so to avoid being embarrassed by my very naked unnatural stance, I stuck my foot in really quick. “Holy hell fires” My foot felt like it was suddenly submerged in molten lava. I instantly tried to take my foot out but as anyone who has ever gotten hot sticky candy on their hand; it does not stop burning. My reflexes had kicked in and now my butt was sinking in deep as i tried to get my foot out of the tub, oh mon dieu; this was not good.
Therapist being professional as ever, calmed me down, helped me flatten out and then she proceeded to rub the mud on the top of my body. This was becoming my worst nightmare, and this was not even the worst part. So after I was covered in mud, and sinking at a slower pace to get used to the heat, my therapist left me to relax with a glass of water. Okay?
Relax? Seriously? You had to see this thing. A big concrete box filled with mud, really hot mud. I closed my eyes and tried to meditate, after what seemed like twenty minutes, I opened my eyes to realize that approximately only one (1) very long minute had passed. Holy Cow this was going to be a long 19 minutes. Ok, Lisa, you can do this. So I laid back and attempted to think of all the good things about this experience, but all I could really think about was how this mud was probably seeping into every and I mean EVERY crevice in my body. It looked like poop, it smelled like poop. Someone could literally shit in there and no one would be the wiser. Oh, this was getting worse by the second, I really needed to get out. I then wondered how they had time to clean it and refill it for the client? Hmmm? And then my Light bulb moment came on--they don't!
Hello? Somebody? Anybody? Get me out of this thing? The nice therapist came back in and asked me if i was ok? I politely told her that I was too hot; so she helped me get out of the tub, which was not any easier or more graceful then getting in, but at least I did not look like a splayed cat trying to avoid the water in the bath this time. I was finally led to the shower, which was really just a hose attached to the wall, to clean up. I was left standing there hot, muddy, embarrassed and very undignified to try and clean the mud from every nook and cranny on my body. (not fun)
Needless to say, I won't be asked anytime soon to be a spokesperson for Napa Valley Mud Spas. Oh, by the way, my skin did not feel any different, I just felt really dirty and had to have two more showers and a bottle of wine to erase my memory bank of this not so glorious experience. Well my massage was next, surely that would be a better experience.
Lets just say that Thai Massage was NOT what I thought it would be.
*Disclaimer; This is NOT me in the mud pit; she actually looks relaxed.