Assembly Line Spa Treatments

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

A view of our Soviet-era hotel from the fountain

The sanatorium grounds have small gardens and are surrounded by forests

I also had a bit of pet therapy from this friendly cat in the garden who insisted that I keep petting him


About amanda

Creating academic and public environments for the humanities to flourish Researching Soviet and Eastern European history Engaging people and ideas as a writer and interviewer Traveling as much as possible View all posts by amanda

2 responses to “Assembly Line Spa Treatments

  • Litlocal

    “…and, although renovated and with friendly staff, still had a bit of the old Soviet-era feel to it…”
    I feel a bit obliged to say that although the sanatorium (the building) was built at soviet times and thus it may have some soviet-era feel to it, the statue, the fountain (with the pool), the trash bins, the walkway, meadow, even forest (it was not cut out, what would be nothing special during soviet times) – all that is pure soviet heritage (style, shapes, mood, colors, and the time of creation, of course). Well, for me it’s pure lithuanian heritage, rather “vintage” one and that only adds more value to it, just it all was created during soviet times. What i would completely agree to be exactly soviet is (or, say, must be) the certain planning of the building, ammount of the certain rooms and their areas, and of course the materials used to build up the building. Plus the “must” of anything ‘soviet’ is presence of rude staff :D.
    As for “european spa”, “Eglė” was never supposed to be “spa for relaxation” or “hotel”, it is sort of “hospital for recovery”, and its value is exactly in that. I mean, “everybody knows that” 😀 . For relaxation there are the other options 😉 . I think your choice was the best, even if it “turned out to be quite the experience” 😀

    (Oops, sorry for that loooong post)

    • amanda

      The person who recommended Egle didn’t tell us that it was a sanatorium for medical recovery instead of a relaxation spa. She just said that it would be less expensive than a place like Spa Vilnius — and it was. “Everybody knows” but the foreigners and we have to trust that recommendations are accurate. 🙂

      And yes, the landscape around the sanatorium is very Lithuanian. Unfortunately it was quite cold and rainy so we didn’t go out into the forest or the gardens. My comment about the “Soviet” feel was directly a reference to inside the buildings (and they way they look outside). Also, we were sometimes being ordered about and herded through lines rather than treated like customers there to relax. Still, like I said, the staff were mostly very friendly (and wondering why two healthy women were coming for just a day to the sanatorium 🙂 ). We had a good time and received relaxing treatments — and it makes for a better story than if I went to spa like the kind you can go to in any country!

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