Siloam, evening

In Place description, Writing on 2013/07/27 at 15:03

I have entered the fomentation room (i don’t even know what that means) which is a large hall with a low ceiling, where people dressed in loose-fitting shorts and t-shirt, the men in all white and the women in red and orange, are lying or sitting on thin bamboo mats spaced out on the floor. This is supposed to be some kind of spa, but as far as spa experiences go, sitting on a bamboo mat is fairly underwhelming. Then I discover it, there is a series of doors along one wall, with signs on them saying things like “Jade Fomentation Room” or “Oxygen Room”. The spa experience is apparently to be had behind these doors.

When my girlfriend arrives, we start trying rooms, the first one is the jade room, the floor is strewn with bits of jade like gravel, and it is almost unbearably hot, I can only stay for a few minutes. In the second room the walls and ceiling are covered in ochre clay and the temperature is lower, more bearable, but boring. Room number three is like the jade room, but with salt crystals instead of jade gravel on the floor, I can’t stand the heat and quickly escape. The fourth room however, is a real jackpot. It is a salt room like the one before but the temperature has been turned down to a comfortable a level, I lie down, dig my feet into the salt, pour a handful of crystals onto my belly, then thrust my hands into the salt at my sides. I lie there, enveloped in warm crystals, and feel the blood pump in my hands until I am
drenched in sweat.

Room number five cools you down with air filtered through charcoal, and room six is just plain, room seven has some small tunnels inside were you can lie under an orange lamp with little effect but the last rooms are more interesting. We first enter a low door and go into a circular room bathed in an orange glow, it is hot in there and we sit on the floor, sweating in the dry heat. When it gets too much we
move to the ice room, a long, vaulted room lit by a cold blue light, there is a thick layer of frost on the walls, and a screen at the end shows -16 degrees, essentially a walk in freezer. I sit here for several minutes until I have cooled off, then back into the heat…


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