Barking Shaman: Our bite is worse

Come, treat yourself to a dreamy spa getaway that you will never, never, never forget. Ever.

Published August 23, 2002 7:00PM (EDT)

Welcome to the Barking Shaman day spa.

Here at the Barking Shaman, we know how stressful your life can be -- the boss! the kids! the mistress your husband swears doesn't exist! That's why we provide a smorgasbord of treatments to help you relax, get away from it all, and face the day refreshed, renewed and spiritually enlightened.

All our fashionably dressed estheticians have exotic-sounding names and accents and are certified in the art of catering to your every comfort. Each has his or her own specialty, aroma and theme music.

And at Barking Shaman, our treatments go way beyond your average Javanese lulur (pronounced "lu-lur") treatment (in ancient Indonesia, the pre-wedding ritual for blushing brides -- which included scrubbing the skin with turmeric, rice and jasmine, followed by a soak in a tub of fresh yogurt -- lasted 40 days and 40 nights, but ours just feels that way) or Scotch hose massage (you stand there while a "therapist" sprays you with strong jets of hot and cold water -- mmmm! refreshing!).

Here are a few of the special B.S. treatments we're proud to offer:

The Russian Roulette: This ancient gulag tradition begins with several hours of delicious sensory deprivation in a sumptuously padded "cell," where you can shut out the cares of the world. Then, you will be guided to another chamber in which you will enjoy a particularly strenuous massage (Rolfing's a cakewalk compared to this) at the hands of noted esthetician Mariana Ivanovich Thenscratchit (aroma: stuffed cabbage; theme song: "Back in the USSR"). Finally, you will soak in a luxurious tub of borscht, your eyes covered with bite-size blini. After a bracing ice-cold rinse in the imported waters of the Bering Strait, you will be pelted with shards of the Iron Curtain. If one lodges in the wrong place, well, it's curtains for you. Invigorating! B.S. price: $149/hour

Chinese Water Torture: Feeling a tad too tightly wound? This signature B.S. treatment -- overseen by our newest esthetician, Mr. Maothathurts (aroma: melted wax; theme song: "Splish Splash"), is a wonderful way to loosen your grip -- and your tongue! It starts with a slow and steady drip-drip-drip of water fresh from the Yellow River right between your eyes. After about an hour, you'll relax into a steaming cup of tea, released drop by drop in the very same spot. Then, just when you think the joy might be at an end, you'll be treated to a delicious bowl of egg-drop soup, also delivered with painstaking care to the delightfully sensitive area between your eyes. We guarantee, by the end you'll be begging for more. (That is more you asked for, right?) B.S. price: $79/hour

The Irish Potato Facial: Hungry for something spiritually filling? Starch your pores with this wonderful skin treatment, which traces its roots back to Ireland circa 1846-1850. First, esthetician Sean O'Boyitskillinme (aroma: loamy sod; theme song: anything by U2 -- he takes requests!) will place a moisturizing pat of warm butter (imprinted with a shamrock) over each of your eyelids and slather a heaping help of mashed po all over your visage, in sweeping upward motions, to stimulate bloodflow. Once that has been allowed to dry and begins to crack, Sean will hack the potato mix away with genuine chips of Blarney Stone -- a wonderful exfoliant! Then, after a lukewarm Guinness rinse, the whole process will repeat until you're so starving you pass out on the table. But not before you pay, of course. B.S. price: $119/hour -- and you buy the Guinness

The Sumo Massage: Slap on a 500-thread diaper and step into the ring with esthetician Honkinbooti (aroma: sweat; theme song: "Slap Happy") -- you surely won't step out the same. Honkinbooti, finding inspiration in the Japanese wrestling tradition dating back to the 15th century, will stamp his feet, glare at you and assiduously pound away all your troubles. And if pounding doesn't do it, he'll throw you up in the air, flip you around, bounce you on the mat and sit on you. You'll feel limp with pleasure. B.S. price: $69/30 seconds.

The Eskimo Flotation Chamber: Chill out with this fantastic full-body experience that begins with a leisurely soak in a freezing-cold tank of ice water. Its just you and the ice floes! Who needs a parka? Our esthetician Naqi Naqi Whosthere (aroma: dried fish; theme song: "Baby, It's Cold Outside") will monitor your body temperature, and when you start to turn nice and blue, she'll haul out your stiffening carcass and toss it into a womblike vat of simmering whale blubber. After one more round of this, you'll be swaddled in the skins of baby seals and encouraged to sip tea flavored with bits of caribou. Wonderfully delicious, Inuit? B.S. price: $169/hour (ask about our Baby Seal Club discounts!)

Seeking clarity and eensy pores? Travel as far as the Barking Shaman -- for those who like it ... ruff!

By Amy Reiter

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