A Lithuanian-American acquaintance from Seattle was in Vilnius this past week and invited me to go to Druskininkai on Friday for a spa day. Since I conducted three research interviews, met with two scholars who are doing related research, and sent another draft chapter to my advisor, I decided that I could take a day off.
We stayed at Eglė Sanatorium — which turned out to be quite the experience. It’s not a European-style spa for relaxation; rather it is a sanatorium for health treatments. Plus it is a Soviet-era facility and, although renovated and with friendly staff, still had a bit of the old Soviet-era feel to it.
After registering and receiving a a stack of paperwork, we had an appointment with a doctor. After determining that we didn’t have any particular health problems, she signed us up for the standard treatments. We were able to schedule times for a couple of treatments, but simply had to wait in line for the others. It did feel a bit like being run through an assembly line of treatments. However, by lunch time, I felt relaxed and well-scrubbed, so I got the results I wanted. Plus it was amazingly inexpensive — for about $100, I got a night’s stay, three meals, and the following treatments:
- “Pearl” bath — 10 minutes soak in a deep tub with jets in warm mineral water
- White mud treatment — my entire body was slathered in warm mud and then I was wrapped in plastic, aluminum foil, a blanket and more plastic for 15 minutes
- Oxygen cocktail — oxygenated and very bubbly herbal tea
- Inhalation treatment — 5 minutes breathing a steam honey solution to cleanse my lungs and nasal passages
- Back massage — only 10 minutes but wonderful