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Showing posts with label Wellness Trends. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wellness Trends. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Five Wellness Experiences to Enjoy in Nature

There’s nothing like a global pandemic to wake people up to the wonders of Mother Nature, whether it’s in the form of countryside, coastline or mountains. And that’s not by chance. The science behind the benefits of nature is proven, to the point where both doctors and wellness practitioners are increasingly prescribing outdoor activities that reap medicinal benefits, without the side effects. This “discovery” of the healing power of nature has pushed wellness vacations in nature to the top of health-conscious travelers’ lists. Here are five ways up your wellness quotient naturally, on your next trip.

Find Open Sky

There are few things more awe-inspiring than gazing up at a night sky untouched by light pollution. Stars that you didn’t even know existed glimmer brightly, and constellations and the Milky Way are easily visible. Looking up at a dark sky is a stellar wellness experience, often resulting in a meditative, beta-wave state.

If you want to take a star trek, head first to the International Dark-Sky Association website. IDSA certifies places with night sky-friendly lighting. The best of the best are called Dark Sky Sanctuaries. There are only ten of them in the entire world, and only one is in the United States. Cosmic Campground is in the Gila National Forest in the western part of New Mexico. Those with a fear of the dark need not apply. The closest source of man-made light is about 40 miles away. There aren’t a lot of hotels around here, either. So, after gazing up, you might want to plunk yourself down in Silver City, which is about an hour away.

Woodland Wellness

Since being developed in Japan 40 years ago, forest bathing has become somewhat of a global sensation. We’re not just talking about a walk in the woods here. A forest bath is a total immersion into the sights, sounds and smells of the woods. Several American resorts now offer guided forest bathing experiences as part of their wellness menus.

The Lodge at Spruce Peak is a year-round resort located in Stowe, Vermont. Its guided excursion explores the Green Mountains. Don’t be surprised if the guide asks you to take off your shoes, as contact with the wet, cool ground is believed to create a stronger connection to nature. The Lodge at Woodloch in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains brags about its certified Forest Bathing Specialists, who lead two-hour jaunts that focus on breathing and mind-clearing.

Say Hay

Sleeping on hot, wet hay was first popularized in Italy’s Dolomites. Farmers who cut hay used to sleep on it after a long day of work. But the new version of the practice is not just a roll in the hay. Wellness-seeking straw sleepers will instead find themselves wrapped in bales infused with fermented mountain herbs. The active substances in the herbs have a calming and anti-inflammatory action, and are said to strengthen the immune system and promote circulation.

While hay bathing is offered at many resorts in the Dolomites and has also spread to some places in Eastern Europe, it’s not a wellness option easily found in North America. Right now, the best bet may be a visit to Chicago’s Piva Beer Spa. As its name suggests, this place offers soaking rooms with wooden tubs filled with a brew of barley, hops and brewer’s yeast. After soaking up the beer bath, guests are moved to a relaxation room, where they lie on beds of hay. For those who want to roll straight from the hay to a comfy mattress, the closest hotel is The Robey, located in trendy Wicker Park.

Hot Spring Bubbles

The healing powers of hot springs have been appreciated for thousands of years. The ancient Greeks, the ancient Romans and the Founding Fathers were all fans of natural waters warmed geothermally. Due to their high mineral contact, hot springs are reputed to have a number of therapeutic benefits, including boosting immunity and circulation, reducing stress and relieving pain.

There are plentiful natural hot springs throughout the Mountain West. However, many are hard to find, and don’t have facilities nearby. To soak without roughing it, check out the Colorado Historic Hot Springs Loop. If you follow the entire 720-mile route in the western part of the state, you can experience hot springs in 17 different destinations. Two of the top resort towns along the loop are Pagosa Springs and Glenwood Hot Springs.

Knee-Deep in Kneipping

Back in the 19th century, a German priest named Sebastian Kneipp revolutionized naturopathy. He came up with an idea to develop nature trails where people would wander barefoot through hot and cold water, and over sand, pebbles and forest ground. Countless Germans swear by the practice. While kneipping courses are abundant in the old country, Kneipp knowledge hasn’t seemed to translate to North America. So, if you want to try kneipping without stepping on a plane, head to a forest dotted with glacial waters and set your own course. Give kneipping a whirl, for example, in the Adirondacks or Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

A version of this article appeared on the Orbitz blog.

Monday, August 10, 2020

Shining the Spotlight on Wellness Real Estate

The wellness zeitgeist has been permeating our culture during the past decade. People run around the world in search of wellness practices. At home, they spend spend thousands of dollars a year on SoulCycle and smoothies. Yet, what has been largely overlooked as the movement has exploded is the wellness of one's physical home and the neighborhood that surrounds it.

As most of us have been spending 24/7 inside for the last few months, the realization that home is where the health is has become a reality. Suddenly, there is an understanding that the home environment itself should be healthy and healing, from the quality of the air to the availability of sunlight to the materials used in construction. And, as we take short jaunts around our neighborhoods, we are increasingly appreciating the lure of outdoor features like tree canopy, green spaces, water and walking trails.

Wellness Community, the new lifestyle reality to life a healthy ...
A running trail in Emilia-Romagna's Wellness Valley
Courtesy: Technogym

It's not surprising, then, that many experts predict that this pandemic will change the way people choose to live. Even before COVID, there were studies indicating that lifestyle and environmental factors account for nearly 85 percent of one's health outcomes. It's not a coincidence that during the lockdown, there’s been almost a primordial urge to return to arcadia, in the form of countryside, coastline or mountains.  At the same time, though, in isolation, people are realizing the importance of IRL connection and community.

That is why wellness real estate is set to experience its moment. The wellness real estate sector was already in a nascent state pre-COVID. But post-pandemic, the trend toward buying healthy homes and real estate in wellness communities will grow as more people take into consideration how their living environments support their physical, mental and emotional state of being. 

The Global Wellness Institute has been watching this trend develop over the past decade. According to Build Well to Live Well: Wellness Lifestyle Real Estate and Communities, wellness real estate was a $134 billion worldwide industry in 2017, and, at the time of the report, was expected to grow to $180 billion in 2022. Given that pandemic, expect that number to top $200 billion.

There are several important features of the communities that are actually walking the wellness walk. They include the use of natural and no-VOC materials in construction; the incorporation of biophilic elements in design, and an abundance of unprogrammed outdoor spaces (that means no golf courses and concrete-covered playground areas). A focus on community-building and social connection is another vital element of a true wellness neighborhood, one that is often overlooked by companies that are trying to glom on to the trend without really understanding the importance and the nuances of a holistic approach. This could result, for example, in larger front porches, smaller front yards and more communal spaces.

Over a series of blog posts, I will be exploring the key ingredients that every wellness community worth its salt must sport. Stay tuned.

Monday, October 3, 2016

 Spa/The American Club Resort
Spa/The American Club Resort
The spa tradition dates to Roman days, back when powerful men dropped toga to go for a spritz. In recent centuries, though, spa-going has been seen as more of a female affair, particularly around North America. But now, in Century XXI, the boys are back. Spas around the world are reporting increases in the percentages of men attending their facilities. As modern men focus more on well-being and appearances, spas are catering to this growing clientele by introducing new services, renaming old ones with more masculine monikers, and making the spa experience more gender-neutral. Out with scents of patchouli and rose petals, and in with cinnamon and pine. Separate waiting and relaxation areas for men are also becoming more common.
You can even find men-only spas — most likely either day spas in large cities like London or New York, or hotel spas throughout the Middle East. The All-Men’s Spa at the Four Seasons Riyadh at Kingdom Centre is considered among the best single-sex spas in the world.
Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh at Kingdom Centre
Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh at Kingdom Centre
While many spa menus are claiming to add ‘men-only’ treatments to the roster, the fact is, most of these are just the standard bill of fare with more macho names. For example, facials may be called a men’s grooming experience, rubdowns are called sports massages instead of Swedish massages, or — even brawnier — Kohler Waters Spa at the American Club in Wisconsin has a Woodsman Massage. The same spa has also designed a gender-specific hydrotherapy treatment called Rain Man. It includes hot stones and full-body exfoliation, along with the drenching.
Treatments focusing on aches and pains — especially those acquired from indulging in sports — are particularly popular. While the dilemma of a male versus a female therapist providing the massage is still an issue for many men, the actual idea of getting sore muscles rubbed out has become a much less threatening option.
Spas at resorts where outdoor recreation and sports are a large part of the focus have been among the leaders in introducing treatments. In appealing to golfers, Eaglewood Resort & Spa in Itasca, Illinois calls a massage “Golfer’s Therapy”. Pinehurst in North Carolina calls its golfer-oriented rubdown “The Champion’s Massage”. Several resorts specializing in rugged outdoor sports have spas with a range of athletic massages. For example, Red Mountain in Utah encourages men, after taking part in outdoor excursions like kayaking, canyoneering, and rock climbing, to go for a “Red Rock’s Hiker Massage” in its Sagestone Spa.
Spa/Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas
Spa/Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas
Las Vegas is another place where high-end spas tend to focus on male high-rollers. Perhaps the best bet is The Spa at the Mandarin Oriental, which has an extensive male-focused treatment menu including options for exfoliating and purifying. The ‘Tao of Man’ is a targeted therapeutic massage focusing on “releasing tense muscles experienced by active men.” It’s all designed to make guys feel like a million bucks, no matter how much they may lose at the casino.
For the ultimate in male rest and relaxation, the Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa in Palm Desert, California has a two-hour “Distinguished Gents Ritual” including a full-body scrub followed by a hydrating lotion application; an antioxidant-rich Cactus Detox Wrap; and a 50-minute massage. That’s topped off with a Gentlemen’s Facial involving exfoliation, a hydrating mask, and a hot towel treatment. If that doesn’t make the reluctant male a spa convert, nothing will.

Original Article Appeared on ShermansTravel.

Monday, August 17, 2015

New Spa Treatments and Wellness Trends

Interested in innovations in spa treatments? Watch me chat on Let's Talk Live in Washington, DC.  Click this link and take a look.


The Umstead Spa in
Cary, North Carolina
offers forest bathing, which
involves neither getting wet
nor getting naked.

The Spa Nalai at Park Hyatt in New York City
is one of the first places in the
United States where you can
indulge in a sand massage.

SpaFinderWellness named Cannabis, Forest Bathing and Islamic Treatments top wellness trends for 2015.

Monday, May 18, 2015

CNN Coverage of Wellness Trends

Marijuana and forest bathing: Wildest new trends in the wellness world

(CNN)Walking in the woods, cannabis day spas and rolling around in sand.
These are just a few of the hottest trends in wellness according to SpaFinder Wellness 365, which claims to be the world's largest spa media and marketing company.
But which trends will turn out to be fads and which will stick?
Strange as they sound, it's worth remembering that some pretty odd wellness practices have come and gone through the ages.
Cleopatra indulged in milk baths and mud treatments -- variations of which can still be enjoyed today.
For some reason, though, bloodletting and leeches didn't manage to survive the test of time.
Distinguishing a useful practice from snake oil is a far easier exercise in today's wellness world.
    "Science is now able to analyze wellness practices to prove which can be helpful and which are not," says Dr. Mark Liponis, corporate medical director for Arizona-based Canyon Ranch.
    "As a result, there will be a greater adoption of therapies when science confirms their value."

    Marijuana day spas

    Liponis points out that numerous studies are being conducted on the benefits of marijuana, such as its usefulness in stress management and symptom alleviation.
    SpaFinder's 2015 Report on Global Spa and Wellness Trends notes that cannabis wellness is experiencing a high.
    For decades, Amsterdam, with its "coffee shops," has been Cannabis tourism central.
    A recent visitor survey noted that 16.5% of visitors admit that coffee shops/soft drugs is one of the main reasons for visiting, although marijuana use is a legal gray area in the Netherlands.
    Given recent decriminalization laws in the United States, cannabis tourists may be trading out a Dutch treat for a Rocky Mountain high.
    Colorado has been ahead of the pack in terms of legalizing recreational usage, to the point where "bud and breakfast" inns, luxury cannabis tours and the "the world's first cannabis day spa" have sprouted up.
    Although state tourism officials deny the correlation, Colorado has been experiencing an increase in tourism since the law was enacted.
    According to SpaFinder, a 2014 study discovered that out-of-state visitors account for 44% of marijuana sales in larger cities and up to 90% in mountain resorts.

    Forest bathing

    Forest bathing, an import from Japan, has nothing to do with water and you don't have to get naked to do it.
    Basically, it's a wander through the woods, with all senses keenly open to the sights, sounds and smells therein.
    The Japanese government coined the term in 1982 ... a translation of "shinrin-yoku," meaning "taking in the forest atmosphere."
    Since then, the government has funded forest-therapy studies, showing impacts ranging from lowering blood pressure to alleviating depression.
    Research like this has made forest bathing a pillar of preventive medicine in highly urbanized Japan.
    But now, walking in the woods for wellness is taking root around the world.
    According to the SpaFinder study, South Korea is developing a multimillion dollar National Forest Therapy Center.
    In Canada, the Trout Point Lodge (189 Trout Point Road, East Kemptville, Nova Scotia; +1 902 482 8360) is a center for forest bathing, as is Armathwaite Hall in England (Bassenthwaite Lake, Keswick, Cumbria; +44 17687 76551).
    Um, didn't this used to be called hiking?


    Middle Eastern and Islamic health traditions date back more than two millennia.
    The hammam experience is the ritual the world knows best.
    The deep-cleansing practice of scrubbing, soaping and pummeling is now gaining steam beyond its traditional borders.
    For example, there's an authentic hammam circuit at the Hammam & Spa Oktogon in Bern (Weihergasse 3, Bern;. +41 31 311 31 01).
    In South Africa, guests can experience a Turkish-style hammam at Oyster Box Spa in Umhlanga, Durban (2 Lighthouse Road, Umhlanga Rocks, Durban; +27 31 514 5000).
    The latest Middle Eastern trend to go West is psammotherapy.
    This is the therapeutic application of warm sand to alleviate aches and pains.
    As far back as 1000 AD or so, the Persian philosopher Avicenna wrote about sand's anti-inflammatory properties.
    Back in the day, people just dug a hole in the sand and enveloped themselves in it.
    Nowadays, it's done with less messy sand tables.
    In August 2014, Spa Nalai at the Park Hyatt Manhattan (153 West 57th St., New York; +1 646 774 1234) became the first place in New York City to offer psammotherapy sand table massages.

    Silent treatments

    Silence may be golden, but its value is largely underrated these days.
    "In the past, luxury was defined by cushy bathrobes and the thread count of sheets," says SpaFinder chief brand officer Mia Kyricos.
    "But today's noise-saturated world, silence, solitude, space -- these are the true definitions of luxury."
    Finland is tapping into the rising demand for quiet with an entire tourism campaign centered around the tagline "Silence, please."
    Researchers at the University of Eastern Finland are even studying ways to make silence a tourism asset in the sparsely populated North Karelia region.
    Finland is far from the only place where silence is a virtue.
    Fogo Island Inn (Joe Batt's Arm, Newfoundland; +1 709-658-3444), which opened two years ago in Newfoundland, Canada, proudly promotes silence in its marketing material, boasting of "miles and miles of blissful nothingness."

    Sleep helpers

    Of course, silence is just one element in getting a good night of sleep.
    Staying well means sleeping well.
    But in today's 24/7 world, something's gotta give, and that something is usually sleep.
    At Canyon Ranch (8600 E. Rockcliff Road, Tucson, Arizona; +1 520 749 9000) in Arizona, there's an actual lab where visitors can be monitored with sensors to diagnose sleep patterns.
    Still, most places promoting "sleep therapy" are not hooking snoozers up to machines.
    It's more about comfort, environment and special lighting.
    For example, Stay Well Rooms at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas (799 S. Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas; +1 702-891-1111) are specifically designed to enhance rejuvenating sleep.
    Features include blackout shades; energizing light therapy, which exposes guests to short periods of blue-shaded lighting to increase energy; and a dawn simulator, which gradually awakens the body through light and sound.
    Clearly, there's a yawning gap in the sleep market in Vegas.
    Due to demand, Stay Well at MGM Grand has quadrupled its room count from 42 to 171 in less than two years.

    Journalist Laura Powell was one of CNN's original travel reporters. Her focus is on international travel news and trends. Read more of her work at www.dailysuitcase.com. Twitter: @dailysuitcase.