I mean, I guess there are folks who specifically go for a massage because they want it to be “weird” (if you know what I mean). And this concern can be doubly troubling when one is sojourning in foreign lands. But it is because of fear of weirdness that I’ve only gone for a massage on personal recommendation.
But when a friend called and told me that she had just gotten a job at a new Moscow massage salon, I knew that it wouldn’t be that kind of weird. She had done massage for my family in the past. But it was when she told me about the Herbal Steam Barrel, I knew I was going.
Actually, I was only told that it was something like a Herbal Barrel, and I only found out upon arrival that it was a Steam Barrel. I had thought about how it would be filled with water… and cleaned between customers. But no worries on that, much to my relief. 🙂
I love the Russian banya experience, and since this is Russia, I expected the heat to be extreme. Would I be less of a man to admit that I was happy that it wasn’t overly hot? They told me that the Herbal Steam Barrel was first invented in ancient times, but only came into it’s modern form in Russia during the 1970’s.
They also told me about the mix of herbs in the steam, now removing the toxins from my body. There was a whole list that I can’t remember, mostly from the Altai region of Russia.
There is a shower stall right there in the room, so I thought that I would jump in for a rinse before the massage, but they informed me that I was to immediately get on the massage table. Because that’s how it works.
They turned down the lights and put on some relaxing music. The lyrics of this particular song did cause me to chuckle a bit.
The massage was well, relaxing, and this affected my eloquence, but this is what I had to say.
I had lots more work to do that day, so I am happy to report that after some “reviving tea”, I felt great and ready to go.
I am thrilled to find a massage salon in my neighborhood in Moscow (it’s located between the Universitet and Profsoyuznaya metro stations) that is clean, professional, has some Russian uniqueness, but is also free of the “weird”.
What Russian spa treatments, other than the Herbal Steam barrel do I need to try? Let me know in the comments.