Every year, spas and wellness centres around the world roll out a host of new offerings designed to help you chill out and hit refresh. Here are eight experiences within North America to put on your wellness wish list in 2018.
Where to do it: Saint Lucia
Among the most popular holistic offerings at spas these days is Ayurveda. Developed thousands of years ago in India, this ancient practice is based on keeping the three doshas—your natural life energies—in balance to ensure good overall health. The BodyHoliday in Saint Lucia offers a range of Ayurvedic treatments, including Shirodhara, which involves the slow and steady pouring of a stream of warmed oil on your forehead (third eye). Prepare to feel a prevailing serenity.
Where to do it: Boston
Wellness programs aimed at helping you unplug have become a major focus at spas and resorts, many located in remote, off-the-grid locations. But there’s no need to go into the wilderness to disconnect—at The Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Boston, the Digital Wellness Escape (an 80-minute treatment) begins with surrendering all of your devices, followed by a foot-cleansing ritual using shungite stones, thought to shield the body from electromagnetic radiation. A massage focusing on the shoulders, neck, head and eyes, along with a trigger point massage to the hands and feet to relieve strain caused by phone use, round out the session.
Where to do it: Vernon, B.C.
Thought to help reduce inflammation, aid in pain management and ease depression, cryotherapy is being hailed as a natural healer. But in order to reap the benefits, you have to brave really cold temps. Sign up for a session at KurSpa at Sparkling Hill Resort in Vernon, B.C., where you’ll don protective gear and move through three chambers, each one getting gradually colder, until you reach a bone-chilling -110 ˚C. The treatment lasts about three minutes, and a spa professional checks your body vitals along the way.
Where to do it: Miami
Popular in parts of Europe since the 1800s, halotherapy (halos is the Greek word for salt) has come to North America in the form of human-made salt caves, caverns and chambers. At âme Spa & Wellness Collective, located inside the Turnberry Isle Miami resort, the salt room is lined with Himalayan salt bricks, and a halogenerator grinds and disperses pure Himalayan salt into the space. You simply relax in the chamber, which is said to help ease respiratory ailments and skin conditions such as eczema.
Where to do it: Mexico
Around since pre-Hispanic times, temazcal ceremonies are gaining new popularity throughout Mexico. Temazcal is Aztec for “house of heat,” and in the Yucatán region, just a 30-minute drive from Mérida, Chablé Spa at Chablé Resort & Spa offers this traditional purification and healing ceremony guided by a local shaman. Sitting inside a steamy, dome-shaped hut for an hour, breathing in the scent of herbs (and perhaps reciting musical chants), you will not only sweat out toxins, but maybe, according to ancestral tradition, even experience a “rebirth.”
Where to do it: New York
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The term forest bathing, or shinrin-yoku, was coined in Japan in the 1980s and introduced to the country’s public health programs to reap the therapeutic effects of spending time in the forest. The idea is simple: take a mindful walk through wooded areas while focusing on your breathing and surroundings. The practice is said to improve your mood. New York State’s Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz is a prime locale for forest bathing thanks to its more than 135 kilometres of wooded trails. Guided walks with a mindfulness expert are also available.
Where to do it: Winnipeg
This centuries-old bathing tradition, also known as a Turkish bath, has become a common addition to North American spa facilities in recent years. One of the continent’s most authentic hamams can be found at Winnipeg’s Ten Spa. Here, a Hamam Fully Loaded treatment comes complete with all the traditional accoutrements: a gommage (exfoliating) glove, olive oil soap and cool water poured from an authentic tas bowl. While you lay on a heated, tiled bed, you’ll be lathered, rinsed, scrubbed, then rinsed, soaped and rinsed again, leaving you feeling squeaky clean and relaxed.
Read more: A first-timer’s guide to hamam
Where to do it: Arizona
Touted as yoga’s newest trend, goat yoga does, indeed, involve real-life goats. Arizona Goat Yoga offers these unique classes three to four times a week at The Welcome Home Ranch in Gilbert, Ariz. (about 30 minutes from Phoenix), with goats roaming around freely during the one-hour session. Prepare for baby goats nibbling on your toes or even walking on your back mid-pose. You’ll reap all the benefits of a typical yoga class with the added bonus of pet therapy—proven to relieve stress and release endorphins.
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