My Terrifying/Amazing Spa Experience

I went to Okeanos Spa in Midtown East on Saturday for a massage and Platza treatment. The spa day was a gift and I had no idea what Platza was or what to expect. What ensued was both terrifying and amazing.

Okeanos specializes in traditional Russian spa treatments. This should have been my first warning that it would be intense. The spa is quite beautiful with a large locker room for changing, robe and sandals provided, a sauna, and tranquil massage rooms. My table massage was awesome and I felt completely relaxed afterward. Then, I was led into the sauna for my Platza treatment…

In the sauna, a ripped, shirtless little man with an eight-pack told me to lay down on a towel, stomach facing down. The sauna was already sweltering, but the intense little Eastern-European man (don’t think he was Russian) began pouring water into the sauna furnace which caused the room to become even hotter. As I lay there with my eyes closed, I could hear the rustling of leaves in the background. Then, I felt extreme heat as the little man began beating me ferociously with a stack of oak leaves that felt like they were on fire. No, I’m not kidding. As I stifled my screams, the little man began shaking the leaves above my body as extreme heat exuded from the “burning bush.”

Just when I thought I was going to cry out for mommy, the little man stopped beating me with the bush. I felt a shock as he placed freezing cold wet towels all over me. The relief from the heat was amazing, but the water was SO FREAKING COLD. I couldn’t believe it, but he asked me to turn over and expected me to go through the same thing on the front of my body. I weighed my options of begging for mercy or going through this experience once again. I decided not to anger the man would be my best course of action.

After another excruciating few minutes, the front side was over and I was handed a glorious glass of lemon water and led out of the sauna. The Platza master dipped his bundle of leaves in a freezing bucket of water and shook them all over my body, which actually felt amazing. Then I stood in the shower, held up my bathing suit bottom at his request, and had two buckets of ice water dumped on my body. This was followed by a freezing cold shower, from which I ran and screamed like a little girl.

After I stopped shaking, I felt incredible. My body was exhausted and invigorated at the same time. I chatted with the Platza guy for a few minutes and discovered his record is giving this treatment 16 times in one day. That is insane– no wonder he has an eight-pack. I don’t know if that is great for his body or awful for it, but either way it is INTENSE and he must be in nearly perfect physical condition. Apparently my treatment was less than 10 minutes, and I could barely stand it, but this guy receives the treatment himself daily for 30 minutes at a time. TORTURE! But, as he said I would, I “slept like child” that night.

Needless to say, this was somewhat of a traumatic experience. I don’t think I could ever do it again now that I know what’s in store. But I have to say, I’m glad I tried it… I think. Still not 100% sure what the benefit of the treatment is, though the guy told me the oil from the oak leaves is beneficial for your skin and bones. I did feel great after and slept wonderfully.

Bundle of oak leaves... scary.

If you think you’re brave enough for “Platza”, go for it: You’ve been warned!

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2 Responses to My Terrifying/Amazing Spa Experience

  1. Crissy Lewis says:

    NO WAY! This is too funny. I’ve been to the Russian Banya 2 times in the last year here in Denver. Isn’t it insane!? It’s seriously like half massage and beauteous and half complete torture. But completely rejuvenating.

    • It is absolutely insane. I think it was the most terrified I’ve ever been. However, I have proof in picture form of the most terrified you’ve ever been.. and it involves a log flume…

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