When was the last time you had that consciousness of yours massaged? Been awhile? Well, the good people at Bricolage have got you covered. Their newest venture – the one-and-only Materfamilias Bathhouse in downtown Pittsburgh – offers a twenty-five minute spa experience that will recharge your mind and spirit.

Materfamilias – a spa that claims a “107 year history as the longest-running bathhouse in Western Pennsylvania” – runs a clean and clockwork-like organization. You ring the bell at your exact appointment time (latecomers are not accommodated) and are greeted by a friendly attendant, clad all in white, who confirms your registration and then reminds you of the spa’s primary rule: patrons must remain silent at all times. You enter the clean, tiled space, where upbeat music and the gurgling of a water fountain immediately put you into a more placid state of mind. You sign a waiver, stow your valuables on a cart, and enter one of the three changing booths, where you remove your shoes and socks and are instructed to don a specially-designed pair of headphones and goggles in preparation for your treatment.

L to R: Andrea Kozai and Michael Brewer. Photo by Handerson Gomes, courtesy Bricolage.

The treatment itself – well, I’ve made a promise not to divulge too many of the details, since the methods used are proprietary. In addition, because the treatment is deliberately fashioned to produce an individualized effect on the patron, the spa recommends that you shed yourself of expectations before arriving, so it would clearly be imprudent for me to set any expectations on your part by giving an overly elaborate description of how the spa achieves its effects.

Nonetheless, what I can tell you is that you’ll be gently led on a one-of-a-kind, multisensory journey, one that takes you into the depths of darkness before leading you out again into the light. If your spa experience is anything like mine – and I sincerely hope it will be – you may find that it pulls your mind temporarily out of your body, cleanses it of anxiety, fear, and stress, and leaves you, in the end, feeling mentally detoxified and existentially refreshed.

Appointments are available through the Bricolage website, for a limited time only.