The New Mid-Life: T.O.’s best way to defrost

Shaking off winter’s chill at the city’s top spot for a luxurious thaw

I don’t want to leave my bed, let alone my house. It is one of the coldest days in Toronto. Still, I get in my car (-21.5°C) shivering and wearing three layers of clothing to go to the Hammam Spa.

I have not felt warm in days. Even wearing two pairs of socks can’t keep my toes from tingling from the cold. I’m wearing a hat … in my house.

So I am excited to experience a traditional bathing ritual, originating in Turkey and the Middle East. The service I’m getting is called the Hammam Turkish bath treatment. It starts with a few minutes in the steam room, followed by an authentic bath performed in one of their Turkish suites, where I lie down on a white marble table, heated to 108 degrees Fahrenheit (Woot!) surrounded by candles.

Will this treatment keep me from shivering 24/7 at least for an hour? When I fill out a form for “any medical conditions,” I write down, “coldness.” There has been a spike in recent weeks of people going to the Hammam Spa, and I’m not the only one, surprisingly, that has written down “cold” as their “condition.”

First, I step into the steam room, and I feel so warm and comfortable, I don’t want to leave. The warmth envelops me like a great big hug … in Mexico.

Although this treatment’s purpose is to cleanse, relax and purify the body and skin using hot and cool water techniques, with exfoliation. (Thank god. No matter how many times a day I moisturize, I feel like a reptile. Why do I live in Canada, again?)

Michelle, my therapist, tells me that, as you age, it’s very important to exfoliate, as our skin becomes dull, and products won’t work as well on your skin.

The Hammam bath treatment is supposed to clear my mind (of the cold!), my body (of the cold!) and spirit (I have no spirit. We’re in the midst of a cold snap!).

I have never before laid down on a marble table, for a massage or any other procedure. It is nothing short of an amazing experience.

I feel like I’m going through a car wash. There are so many bubbles I can’t help but laugh. Michelle throws hot water on me, over and over, to rinse me off.

After the treatment, I feel squeaky clean and warm, oh, so warm. So, yes, there is ONE reason to leave your homes and get out of your sweatpants and Sorrels. I feel rejuvenated, refreshed and actually happy after my human car wash experience. I wonder if they’d notice if I moved in.