The Mud Baths at Calistoga, California

categories: USA Travel

Relaxing in the Mud BathsIf you visit the Napa Valley, make time for a visit to the picturesque town of Calistoga. While you are there, a very traditional thing to do is to visit the mud baths as my daughter and I did during a recent visit.

Lets Get Naked

It is an experience. The girls are separated from the boys. You undress and take a quick shower to get your body wet. My daughter does not like me or anyone else to see her naked so she was not real comfortable walking around naked.

She said later, “That experience was so 1960’s”.  I said, “What do you mean 1960’s?”  She said, “You know, people in one room walking around naked.” I am still not sure what my daughter meant by that. Hippie culture maybe? I don’t know.

Let’s Get Muddy

So then you climb into this large brick tub – graceful I was not. If that didn’t inspire me to lose weight, nothing will. My daughter was next to me getting in the other tub and she could not stop giggling. As you sit in the mud, you don’t sink at all. Then the attendant tells you to lay down on the mud and she starts pilling mud on top of you.

Try to Relax

It is HOT. You don’t sink at all – you feel like you are suspended in air. Very odd sensation. Then they put cucumbers over your eyes and a wet towel on your forehead. It was hard to relax because it was really hot and I have high blood pressure. I was laying there wondering if I should even be in there.

You are only in it for 10 minutes. I figured I wouldn’t have a stroke within 10 minutes so I told myself to relax and enjoy it.  I couldn’t relax. So then I tried to envision laying on a beach in Hawaii. That was hard to envision since the mud stunk like sulfur – rotten eggs.

Then I started thinking about all the naked bodies that have been in this mud. The mud is not changed between clients. I am wondering if they had any bloody sores, rashes, infections, etc. I totally psyched myself out of having an enjoyable, purifying experience.

I started counting down the minutes until I would be out of the mud. I kept thinking I should have researched more about mud baths before I subjected myself, my daughter and my son to this treatment. The time was finally up. Then you have to push all of this hot mud off of you and gracefully (not!) crawl out of this giant tub with mud dripping off of you onto the floor.

The Payoff – A Message

You take a shower to get the mud off and then you get a whirlpool bath and then a massage. That part of the treatment was heavenly. Made me totally forget about the mud. I must say though – the staff was very professional and nice.

When to Go?

If you can go to Napa during the week, that would be much preferable. Highway 29 through Napa Valley was packed on Saturday and Sunday. (Although after experiencing San Francisco traffic, this was a piece of cake.)

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by Cynthia Bonney



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