Woman relaxing at a spa
Take a day to relax at this Seattle spa

Fight a Low Mood by Getting Naked at This Seattle Spa

I wake up with quicksand sinking in the pit of my stomach. It’s Sunday, traditionally one of my most productive days of the week (day of rest, what?) and the depression starts flooding my system, rendering me pretty useless. 
This isn’t new or alarming for me. I’ve dealt with depression since grade school. Part of nav.ingmy life (especially as I’ve gotten older) has been finding natural ways to ease the edge of what can become debilitating if I let it run rampant in my body. 
Instead of wallowing in my sheets (which is a fine option, too), I called a dear friend who took me to yoga, and then followed it up with a few hours at Hothouse Spa & Sauna.

Let me hit you with some quick facts:

  • It’s a spa that includes a dry sauna, steam room, hot tub, cold plunge, and relaxation area. Massage therapy is also available if you can sign up before the slots are full. 
  • It’s a women-only space (which is glorious for days where I find myself irritable in every way at every moment).
  • You’re completely and totally butt naked (at least, most people are).

That last fact is key to this review. I’ve struggled with body love (or even acceptance) for most of my life. But I agreed to bear it all on a day I woke up hating myself, in the hopes that I could sweat out the bad vibes and leave them behind. 
As women, we are either hyper-sexualized or shamed for our bodies from a young age. So the thought of stripping down and walking into a chamber of judgement made me physically ill. 

But when you’re surrounded by women of all sizes letting it all hang out because we just want to escape the hellish scrutiny, every body just looks like a body. 
Note: I saw one person in a bathing suit, so if you’re really not feeling like stripping down, don’t let that discourage you from getting your much-needed relaxation on.

Free your mind without emptying your pockets.

Hothouse Spa is $18 for entry and use of all things listed above for up to 12 hours a day (a massage is extra). That’s definitely rad, especially with many “affordable” day spas starting at $40.

Keep in mind, there are no fancy mud baths or seaweed wraps, but you get to detoxify in extreme heat and extreme cold (and for the most part, extreme quiet). I’ll spend $18 monthly for that. Pro-tip: Get a 10-session punch card for $150.

Wellness should be accessible to everyone.

It frustrates me that things that are so good for your mind and body are typically unaffordable to communities that may need it the most.

People of color who have undergone hundreds of years of oppression resulting in cycles of poverty are often in desperate need of physical and mental relief—but spas aren’t usually on the list of things they can afford.
We all need a refuge from this loud, violent, busy world, and Hothouse creates a space for ladies who so often nurture and labor for others, but rarely find time for themselves. This is probably why I saw many women of color here. Because this affordable spa slays.

However, I can’t celebrate Hothouse’s inclusivity without calling out a glaring problem: Because of their women-only policy, Hothouse has given would-be spa-goers of the trans community trouble for not looking female enough. Some of the Yelp reviews have been amended to report that Hothouse has apologized and corrected their discriminatory issues, but there is still work to be done.

Final verdict?

Overall, it was a rejuvenating day. My skin felt incredible, the harsh weight of my depression lifted ever so slightly, and I felt a new level of comfort (dare I say, freedom?) in my birthday suit. See you next month, Hothouse.

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