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Wash Your Mind with Twilight and Your Fatigue Away by the Sea

Wash Your Mind with Twilight and Your Fatigue Away by the Sea

Posted November. 25, 2004 22:41,   


With the cold winds blowing in the morning and evening these days, we think of something “hot” that will nicely warm up our body. I was glad to hear recently that there was a new place where you can experience something hot in an unprecedented way. It’s not the conventional hot massage rooms and onsen, but a seawater massage place called Sea Water World that was introduced in Gochang, Joenbuk. It is twenty minutes driving distance from Temple Seonwoon and is the best place to relax your muscles after winter hiking.

Hiking – Driving – Enjoying Setting Sun-

Gushipo beach in Gochang is not as well known as the Anmyeondo in Chungnam, but it’s the best place for watching the setting sun. The beach faces many small islands floating right across the sea and has a picturesque reddening setting sun. The moon rises up right after the sun as if it was waiting for its turn and paints the sea with its mystique moonbeams.

The wide sand beach hugs a natural cave that inhabited hundreds of thousands of locals and hundreds of wild pigeons for the half year during the Japanese invasion in the late sixteenth century. All along the shore are rocks and stones of grotesque and fantastic shapes, which is of course worth a view. This area is worthwhile for a family trip with Mt. Soenwoon nearby, called “Honam’s Sogeumgang” for its beautiful mountain ridges, and Gochangeup Castle, as well as the dolmens registered as world heritage landmarks.

Mt. Soenwoon attracts people during spring and fall, in particular, because of its camellia flowers and colorful autumnal leaves, but also boasts winter scenery with snow. The road that wraps around the mountain and arrives at the Gushipo beach is one of the best driving courses I have experienced. Driving on the road after visiting the serene mountain and the hot seawater massage near the beach while viewing the setting sun: this could be the best relaxation you can get this winter.

Sea Water Stimulates Cells and Blood Vessels-

The idea of the Gushipo Sea Water World was conceived by Ms. Ahn Sung-hoi, whose aged mother was often tired and sick due to giving birth to six boys and girls in her life. She overcame the feelings of fatigue and getting sick with massage with a blanket dampened with hot seawater and warmed up by a red-hot stone. The rest of the family experienced this and started having this traditional massage regularly.

The establishment looks like any other public bath from outside, but inside, it holds a variety of facilities of its own covering 1,150 square meters.

The Green Tea Bath with Bosung green tea leaves infused in it, the Sand Massage Room, which is adorned with yellow clay and hardwood charcoal and has the same effect as a real sand massage, the Mugwort Massage Bath, especially good for women, Bul-hanjeungmak Sauna heated up by pine wood for four hours… Among all of them, the best of the best is definitely the seawater massage.

The seawater is composed of materials similar to blood plasma within our body and therefore permeates into the body and stimulates the cells and blood vessels with high speed, warms up the five viscera and six entrails, and stimulates the blood circulation. The saltier the water is, the more effective the massage is. The seawater near Gushipo beach is known as the one of the saltiest waters in the nation.

Twenty or 30 Minutes after, You Feel Light-

You need thick-cottoned massage sweatpants and shirts to have a seawater massage here. It is almost too thick to wear comfortably, but it is a must since the hot water will burn you otherwise.

The seawater massage room greets you with a swooshing heat wave at your face as soon as you walk into it. The wooden floor panels contain seawater in between them just like well water. One might think it is not hot, seeing no steam rising from there. But the water is about 60 to 90 Centigrade. Never ever dip your hands or feet in it.

You instead dip a huge towel in the hot seawater and put it over your shoulders, waist area, or legs. If it cools off, repeat the same procedure. In the beginning, you feel like your heart is burning just by feeling the towel on your body, but as you repeat the procedure, you feel your body relaxing and heart quieting down. Twenty to 30 minutes is the right amount of time spent for the massage.

It is a big no no to go into a cold bath after this seawater massage. The massage is all about having the hot energy of the seawater into your body, and this effort will all be nullified if you blow it away with cold bath. Instead, have a cup of Sik-hae, a cooling Korean rice drink, with ice cubes. After the massage, you will feel completely drained, and this is the best time for energy-boosting meals such as smothered duck with medicinal herbs and Gochang’s famous eels.

Call Gushipo Seawater World: 063-561-3323

Written by travel planner Choi Mi-sun, tigerlion007@hanmail.net

Photographs by freelancer Shin Suk-gyo, rainstorm4953@hanmail.net