Common Ground Wellness Center pitches itself as a community healing bathhouse. I’m not sure about the community healing, but I sure felt better. This quiet, clean, and well-run spa in the eastern suburbs of Portland is a must visit for anyone who cares about their body. It’s clothing optional every night and coed on most, including the night I visited. Other nights are dedicated to men only, women only, and transgender only. They are serious about their outreach and tolerance is expected. Wednesday nights have live music, and it is a normal coed night. A female duo performed acoustic original songs and covers like Tracy Chapman. It was as amazing as it sounds. After their set, they soaked for a little bit themselves.
Upon arrival, you check in and pay. My two hour reservation including towel rental was $25 – a steal. Then you hand in your personal belongings which go under the front desk, then get a quick tour. Once beyond the check in area, you begin disrobing and place your clothes in the lockers provided. There are no locks and you’ll be with a couple other people while disrobing before heading for the showers. Immediately, you’ll notice how clean and wonderful everything is: the tile, the smells, the shampoo that’s provided. No expense was spared. This is not a dive by any stretch. Showers are open and coed with four shower heads and soap provided.
After showering, you have your choice to head for the 20×10, open sky hot tub, or head for the sauna. During the tour, you are asked to shower after leaving either the hot tub or sauna and vice versa. During my two hours, I showered about 6 times. While you’re not required to be nude, you’ll be in the vast minority as everyone I saw with the exception of a younger couple and the performance duo were nude. Most people kept to themselves but were friendly. If you’re expecting a pick up place, this isn’t for you. At 10:00 each night, “quiet hour” kicks in when everyone must be silent.
Reservations are highly recommended as they only take 20 patrons at a time; I counted 16, evenly divided, and, in a true rarity, I was one of the oldest people there. You can also call and reserve a practitioner of a healing art, such as massage, reiki, and nutrition. I was stunned by my experience. This is a must visit and I’m hoping they open one a little closer to home.
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