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01/01/2018 Special > Special

Title

Hampyeong Seawater Spa and Fatigue Therapy

New year, new body

전채윤

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http://www.hanyang.ac.kr/surl/stfS

Contents
It is the beginning of the new year, which means it is time to make the new year’s resolution and put them into action. For a lot of people, it usually includes fixing bad habits, making better plans, and making oneself a better person than the previous year. But what about the fatigue from last year? To start the new year fresh and light, the accumulation of last year’s weariness on the shoulders must be removed first. To do so, the spa is always a good option. In Hampyeong, Jeollanam-do Province, the traditional seawater spa could make the physical fatigue evaporate along with the hot steam of the sauna. Let’s greet the new year with a relieved, rejuvenated body.


The secret to becoming younger

Changing into the spa attire and entering the spa house, an individual can see rows of doors of small spa rooms. Each room has a wooden rectangular bath in the middle, the size of which is perfect for three to four people to fit in. Entering the room and sitting around the bath at the center, an epiploon with foremost mugwort inside floats on the water which creates the fresh scent in the room. A moment later, the door opens and a man walks in with a shovel full of red stones saying, “it’s very hot, please be careful.” Pouring the stones into the bath, the room fills full of clouds of steam coming from the hot water. An important note is that the bath is not to be entered, as the stones in it are heated to 1300 degrees Celsius, which makes the water steaming hot.
 
The combination of natural seawater and the broiling stones provides a miraculous remedy for fatigue. Each person is given a big and small towel, for the water is not to be directly touched; rather, the towels are to be dipped in the water and drawn out to press-squeeze the water with a round bucket, then placed over the shoulders and back for a relaxing foment effect. A beneficial tip is that wiping the face with the moderately-cooled towel will make the facial skin extremely soft and look rejuvenated because of the the foremost mugwort brewed in the natural seawater.

The steamy towel soaked with natural cure for knotted muscles along with the skin care effect will refresh not only the body but also the emotion, as being in the steamy room will make sweat ooze out. The hunched back and shoulders from stress and coldness will naturally unfurl. Having the effect of both a massage and skin care, the seawater spa can kill two birds with one stone.
 
The sulfuric stones are being heated in the fire.
(Photo courtesy of Korea Tourism Organization)
 
Stones heated to 1300 degrees Celsius are being put into the bath in the middle.
(Photo courtesy of the Korea Tourism Organization)

200 years of tradition

The seawater spa is a remedy which has its roots in the 19th century Joseon Dynasty era. It was a widely-used folk remedy for the well being of the body. It was recorded in the Sejong chronicles that stones with sulfuric components and some medical herbs brewed in hot seawater create a great effect for relieving neuralgia, postnatal care, arthritis, and dermatitis. Especially effective for those in their mid to late adulthood, the seawater spa has been the folk therapy for various defects.

Currently located in Hampyeong in Jeollanam-do Province, the 200 years of tradition has been well preserved, and now it has become a popular cultural attraction among Koreans. The way of enjoying the spa today is the same as it had been 200 years ago; thus, visitors can experience the true tradition of the precursors. It is the new year’s winter, so why not brush off the stress and fatigue from the previous year and greet the new one with a fresh, light body and mind?
 
After the water cools, the bath can be a foot bath and the water can be poured onto the body.
(Photo courtesy of the Korea Tourism Organization)



Jeon Chae-yun        chaeyun111@hanyang.ac.kr
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