Spa visits gone wrong: Beware the blitz guss

Blitz Guss.  Two harmless words in a spa treatment description that sparked the most memorable spa experience I’ve had to date.

When I was invited to go for a relaxing spa getaway at a high-end luxury resort near Toronto, I jumped at the chance to go.

The spa’s signature treatment menu included a handful of exotic treatments like an organic chocolate body wrap, a caviar facial, a Native Indian hot rock massage, Japanese Ofuru treatments – and a detoxifying Swiss Cleansing Kur: a “1 hour and 15 minute treatment, including a body polish, a 12-jet Swiss Shower with Blitz Guss application, a body wrap with scalp and facial massage, and a body cream application.”

A few weeks later, I found myself waiting in the spa lounge waiting for my much anticipated Cleansing Kur treatment.  Citrus-infused water in hand, I was greeted by a cheerful spa therapist and led to the treatment room.

Step by step, she began to lead me through the treatment process for a Cleansing Kur. “First,” she said, “there will be a body scrub.  After, you’ll wash off in the soothing 12-jet Swiss Shower.  Next, I’ll apply the blitz guss treatment – you’ll stand in the shower for that,” as she pointed to the blitz guss treatment device.  

The machine attached to the wall had several meters and control switches attached to a long mean-looking hose that looked like it had put out a few fires in its day.  “Let me get this straight,” I asked with eyebrows furrowed, “you’re going to stand five feet away from me and spray me down . . . with a hose?”

Struggling to keep a straight face as she noted my intense curiosity paired with a slight tinge of horror, the therapist replied, “Pretty much.”  She continued quickly, “we’ll continue with a nice warm wrap and a facial massage, then you’ll get back into the shower and finally, we’ll finish with a nice body moisturizer and massage.  Sound good?”

MassageSlightly resigned, yet for the sake of journalism, I said, “Let’s do it.”

After my scrub, I found myself washing off the salt in the 12-jet shower, stalling as long as I could to avoid the blitz guss that was yet to come.  “Are you ready?” the therapist asked gently.  Cringing, I finally offered a “sure,” and opened the door, scrubbed down and naked.

“Please face the wall with your back to me, palms facing forward.”  Somewhere in my mind, I wondered whether this was a similar procedure to newly admitted prison inmates. 

“This hydrotherapy technique really helps to soothe muscles because the water pressure gets to the deep tissue,” my therapist explained.  The hose turned on and hit my skin with the water pressure like that used to spray down a muddy elephant or put out a fire.  Starting from my heels up to my shoulders, the strong warm stream of water beat down on me, easing the tension around my shoulders and painfully attacking the back of my knees.  

“Please turn around and we’ll do the front.”  I turned around and completely exposed, received the blitz guss treatment on the front.  Before I could throw on a towel and thank God for helping me endure my suffering, the therapist said, “We’re going to repeat the treatment again so please turn around, and this time it will be with cold water – it’s supposed to be invigorating and really wake up your body.”  

I begged, pleaded, negotiated and in return, my second round of the blitz guss application was only half as cold as it should have been.  In the final minutes, shivering and half bent over, it seemed that my spa therapist noticed my agony and quickly finished to end off the blitz guss treatment.

Crawling back onto the treatment table, we moved on to the body wrap.  With a eucalyptus-like mud spread on my skin and a warm shell to cocoon me in warmth, I began to ease out of my shocking experience and into a gentle relaxed state of mind.

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