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Explore the Diverse World of Wellness Travel

When we seek wellness travel, it’s no longer just about a visit to the spa. The wellness industry is vast and encompasses everything from detoxifying the body to cleansing the mind, healing the heart and restoring the soul. This can mean your next wellness trip involves a hike in nature, a bath in a mineral pool, yoga on the beach or a plunge into an ice-cold lake.

There are many different wellness experiences you can add to your next vacation or that you can design your trip around. Here are a few of our favourite options to get you inspired as you get away from it all and get back to yourself.

Sound Therapy

A wellness vacation is the perfect time to heal your mind and leave you feeling energised with some sound therapy. “Just as there are sounds that weigh negatively on our nervous systems, other sounds have been proven to enhance it,” Matty Rainbow, co-founder of Sound Healing Australia, says. “Think the sounds of nature — running water, tumbling waves, the wind blowing through trees …”

Visit a sound therapist and enjoy the healing vibrations and restorative sounds of instruments such as singing bowls, tuning forks and gongs.

Some practitioners pair the sound therapy with movement and dance, while others require you to simply lie there and let the sound wash over you. “By having a calming effect on the nervous system, sound therapy can support participants to reduce stress, regulate hormones, improve sleep quality and duration, enhance the immune system, move through physical, mental and psychological trauma, reduce feelings of anxiety and depression, reduce inflammation, and much more,” Matty says.

Just Dance

We all know that moving the body is good for us, and music is a source of joy. Combine these two passions with a retreat that embraces the joy of dance.

SAii Resorts in Thailand recently hosted multiple workshops to celebrate Global Wellness Day, where the theme was Dance Magenta. The aim was to help people come together and discover the joy of dancing in three easy steps: “Dance with your Body” (as a form of physical exercise); “Dance with your Mind” (as a means of meditation); and “Dance with Life” (incorporate dancing into all aspects of your daily routine). Activities included dance aerobic sessions, guided mindfulness activities and dancing into new forms of culture with Thai origami. For more information visit saiiresorts.com

Digital Detox By Defalt

Sometimes the idea of taking something away when going on vacation can feel restrictive. If the idea of going on a digital detox makes you feel a little squeamish, why not visit a secluded natural destination instead? Embrace all that nature has to offer in a remote location that doesn’t have access to Wi-Fi or cell phone service and digitally detox by default while enriching your heart and soul in a beautiful wellness destination.
One that we particularly like is Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef, located on the northwest cape of Western Australia. Situated an hour’s drive from Exmouth, Sal Salis is an eco-luxe safari just metres away from the stunning Ningaloo Reef, with the majestic Western Australian terrain behind it.
Here, guests can disconnect from the digital and reconnect with themselves and the world around them as they relax in a hammock, laze on the beach, and snorkel, paddle or kayak with some of the 500 species of colourful fish that call the reef their home. For more information, visit salsalis.com.au

Celebrate Country

Imagine a vacation that fills you with knowledge, respect for Mother Earth and that heroes our beautiful wide brown land and the true owners of our country. As we seek to learn more about the Indigenous people of Australia, turning to tours and experiences that celebrate them is a natural choice. This is the sort of considered vacation by today’s conscious traveller who wants to make a difference.

One such tour is the Journey into the Old Country run by Outback Spirit, where participants travel deep into our nation’s heartlands to discover ancient rock art, bush medicine and some of the ceremonies and cultural traditions performed by the Yolngu people. For more information visit outbackspirittours.com.au

Get Hot… Then Get Very Cold

Hot and cold therapy, where you pair the steamy effects of a sauna with a plunge into a cold pool or ice bath, is a popular wellness experience. This can invigorate the heartrate, improve muscle recovery, boost endorphins, enhance circulation and also deliver one wild adrenaline rush that the traveller will remember forever.

There are many retreats that offer organised hot and cold treatments, but if you’d like to step out into nature, visit the Floating Sauna in Bresies Hole, or Lake Derby, Tasmania. This is Australia’s only floating wood-fired sauna. Step inside and heat up, then jump from the balcony into the icy cold water below. Bookings are advised to avoid disappointment, and you can do so at floatingsauna.com.au

Forest Bathing

Forest bathing has become popular in recent years for the many health benefits it invites into users’ lives. Put simply, this is the art of taking in nature through the senses.
“Forest bathing is a great way to invite listening, healing, reflection and accepting into our environment in a low-impact way,” Amanda Fry, Founder and Managing Director of the Experience Nature Group, says. “Learn how to find yourself in the company of trees, or more succinctly, master the practice of creating physical and psychological wellness through immersion in the natural environment.”
Forest bathing is an activity best undertaken with a guide, at least for your initial forays into the field. Take a short experience or commit to a longer natural adventure with a company like the Experience Nature Group, which offers weekend forest bathing retreats in a variety of different environments. “A typical forest therapy walk may take two hours but covers less than 0.5km of trail,” Amanda says.
Experience Nature Group works exclusively with experienced forest bathing guide Christie Little,
who ensures that tour participants connect to the present moment through a range of sensory awareness activities.
“The senses are the gateway to joy and pleasure, and too many of us have forgotten how to enjoy our lives,” Amanda says. “By drawing on the ancient practices of mindfulness and meditation, Christie creates the space for participants to pause deeply. The busier we are, the more deeply we need to pause.”

Yoga Retreat

Learn to breathe deeply, discover your inner strength and finesse your yoga practise with a yoga retreat. If you love yoga, a retreat that incorporates this time-honoured practice should be high on your to-do list.

There are many places that offer yoga retreats, many of which focus on a certain discipline or skill. Some yoga retreats combine yoga with other therapies (eg sound healing or meditation) for an experience that will truly cleanse your soul.

The COMO Shambhala in Ubud offers a range of yoga programs to suit guests’ needs. Classes are held in a natural pavilion with views of the leafy green Balinese canopy, making you feel as if you truly are at one with the world around you. Standard offerings include deep flow yoga, yoga nidra, wake-up flow yoga and more, and the resort also hosts regular yoga-focused retreats throughout the year. For more information visit comohotels.com

Hot And Mineral Springs

There’s something truly magical about hot and mineral springs. “First Nations Australians have had a connection to hot springs, mineral springs, sea and fresh waters for millennia,” Matt Sykes, Executive Officer for Bathing Australis, says.

“Through the process of colonisation, we saw the European tradition of sea bathing emerge during the 1800s, such as the East Brighton Baths which still continue to operate today. What we’re seeing in Victoria now is the emergence of a new chapter in bathing culture, which is set within our southern coastal environments but drawing upon learnings and traditions from all around the world from Nordic-inspired saunas to Turkish-style hammams, Australian body clay experiences and more.”
A soak in a hot spring can work wonders on aching muscles and tired bodies, leaving you feeling energised and at peace.

“Mental health and anxiety relief is also a common motivation, especially post-COVID,” Matt says.

When choosing a bathing experience, Matt recommends looking for a place that suits your purpose — whether that’s bathing with family and friends, some quiet time with a partner, or even solitude. “Also, think about how bathing can complement other wellbeing and nature experiences that you love too (like bushwalks or farm to table food experience or yoga and meditation),” Matt says. “Finally, it’s important to think about the local communities and environments that you’re connecting to, and ways to ensure that your visit promotes the wellbeing of the whole place (think supporting local businesses, acknowledging local First Nations people, driving carefully around wildlife, using a keep cup etc).”

There are many natural springs in Australia, including the infamous mineral springs at Hepburn Springs, where the luxurious Hepburn Spa Retreat is situated. Internationally, some of the best thermal pools in the world are located just a stone’s throw away at Rotorua in New Zealand, where guests can enjoy the health benefits of thermal bathing at many different resorts and natural hot water beaches.

Spa Sensation

A traditional trip to the spa shouldn’t be overlooked on your next wellness vacation. After all, massage and facials are proven wellness experiences that have been shown to reduce stress, better your skin, improve circulation and more.

The good thing is we are spoilt for choice today when it comes to spa experiences. Not only are there many different therapies on offer, but there are personalised programs available to help you achieve your health and beauty goals.

One place where you can create your own personalised spa program (and enjoy a world-class view while doing so) is with a Spa Safari™ at NIHI Sumba, Indonesia. Here, guests arrive in adventurous style, whether by horseback, safari jeep or after a spirited sunrise trek through rolling hills and expansive rice fields.

A tropical breakfast is waiting to nourish you, followed by a menu of treatments, from facials, to wraps, to head and foot massages, all accompanied by the gentle sound of waves crashing to the shore. For more information, visit nihi.com

Ozone Therapy

Ozone therapy is a relatively new wellness treatment that has become popular in some resorts in recent years. This new therapy is thought to have health benefits including improved immune support, improved blood circulation, protection from bacteria and viruses and reduced oxidactive stress.

At the time of print, there hadn’t been a lot of studies done on ozone therapy, but if you were interested in giving it a try, Four Seasons Maui offers an extensive spa wellness menu, in collaboration with Next|Health. As well as ozone therapy, which involves the separation and oxygenation of the blood and boasts benefits including encouraged bio-rejuvenation, the resort offers stem cell therapy, exosome therapy and a range of IV treatments including a sleep IV, a glamour IV and a supper immune IV, allowing you to feel replenished and recharged. For more information, visit fourseasons.com/maui

Mindful Matters

Retreats that focuses on mindfulness and achieving emotional balance are becoming more and more popular. Turn your attention inward and seek to better yourself while on your next vacation to ensure you return home feeling truly rested.
One wellness provider offering this service is REVIVO in Bali. One of their signature retreats is the REVIVO Mindfulness and Emotional Balance Retreat, where guests learn to find stillness in chaos and techniques to find balance. They’re also encouraged toward mindful living habits that will keep them focused in the present long after they’ve left the retreat. For more information, visit revivoresorts.com

Article featured in WellBeing Wellness Experience

Lauren Clarke

Lauren Clarke

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