Thursday, May 5, 2011

Spa World for all?

There is a cult-like phenomenon going on in the DC area called Spa World.
Spa World is essentially a Korean bath house. One half of the space consists of different types of saunas. The other half has several therapeutic wading pools. I've never seen or heard an ad for this place. It's a true word-of-mouth success story. They recently offered a Groupon and sold about 37,000 entrance tickets. Why does this place generate so much buzz?
When the name Spa World comes up in conversation, the word "naked" undoubtedly also comes up, followed by one's very personal opinion about "being around all those naked bodies". [In the pool area, which is separated into enclosed men's and women's pool rooms, there is a strict "no clothes" rule.]
While the very idea of this makes most people cringe, nothing seems to slow the popularity of this place. Why the success?

I think Spa World is a metaphor for the social climate in America these days: a desire for transparency and authenticity in every way.

We're tired of secrets and fine print. The economic downturn was due to secrets and fine print. Twitter and Facebook have created a new standard of communication that is more transparent and authentic. Obama got rave reviews after the White House correspondents dinner because he came across as a little more real & honest. Part of the satisfaction of the news about Osama Bin Laden is that he is no longer hidden.

This is why acupuncture is so relevant right now. Acupuncture is a process of uncovering the reason we get sick and revealing what triggers our stress, instead of covering it up with one more prescription. This can be scary, requiring a vulnerability of feeling and admitting what's really going on in our lives and our bodies... "my job is too stressful for me to stay much longer" or "my child's crying brings on my migraines". It takes courage to strip down to our bare, honest, authentic self.

Are you feeling brave today?

1 comment:

  1. Really great correlation of authenticity to the practice of acupuncture and overall well-being. It's amazing how most of the time you know when someone's being inauthentic... yet we're so convinced as a society that we have to cover things up in order to get what we want. Seems to be the same conversation around health as well: Symptoms are just way too inconvenient.