Whether they’re rooted in ancient ritual or new and unabashedly faddy, every culture has its unusual wellness treatments and experiences.
This Japanese relaxation therapy, in which grownups pay to be swaddled snugly like a newborn, is all about recreating the comfort of the womb. During “adult wrapping” the client lies on a large piece of freshly laundered cloth, hugging their knees into their chest while the therapist ties the fabric over and around their entire body. Once safely (or claustrophobically, depending on how you feel about it) encased inside, the client is then rocked gently back and forth for twenty minutes to improve flexibility and calm the nervous system.
Sleep is all the rage right now, as it should be considering how vital it is to our health. Some resorts have cottoned onto the very modern, stress-related issue of insomnia—like Maldives hotel Landaa Giraavaru, which developed the Om Supti Night Spa Ritual to help induce restful shut-eye. Over the course of 2.5 hours guests get a massage and facial in a jungle clearing, followed by a soak in a himalayan-salted outdoor bath, before retiring to a gently swinging bed for the night.
As global beauty pioneers, the Koreans are always finding new ways to tweak, refine and perfect their bodies. Every inch of them…
According to LA-based spa, Tikkun vaginal steaming is an ancient Korean practice dating back hundreds of years. Perched on a throne-like seat, naked from the waist down, the client receives a combination of infrared heat and steam infused with mugwort—an aromatic, anti-fungal plant that’s thought to be great for balancing female hormones. Despite getting the Gwyneth Paltrow seal of approval on Goop, the general consensus from western gynecologists is that this could actually mess with lady parts in a negative way.
Red wine fans, how does the prospect of bathing in your favorite beverage sound? Following a body scrub and grape seed oil massage, one treatment at Rumah spa in Bali, Indonesia, invites guests to soak in a tub of grape juice extract and red wine, strewn with flower petals.
The associating between red wine and improved health is rooted in scientific studies which suggest resveratrol, the antioxidant found in the drink, can help increase good cholesterol, reduce blood sugar spikes and improve sleep—when consumed in moderation, of course. The benefits of soaking in the stuff have not yet been studied, but it’s reputedly very relaxing nonetheless.
The solution for all the overstimulation we receive day to day is to seek the complete opposite—Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy, or REST. Devotees of flotation centers, like Lift/Next Level Floats in New York City, encase themselves voluntarily in pitch black pods—floating effortlessly in epsom-salted water that’s heated to body temperature. Researchers say it’s proven to reduce stress, pain, anxiety and depression while seeming to increase optimism and sleep quality.
The trippy, magical contraption known as a crystal bed was invented by a Brazilian spiritual healer named John of God. It’s composed of seven Vogel cut crystals, purposefully sculpted to a specific vibrational frequency, and positioned above the body’s chakras, or “energy centers”. Colored lights that correspond to the chakras (each one has its own hue) are projected through the crystal, and these concentrated beams are thought to restore energetic balance in the body. There haven’t been any scientific studies to vouch for the benefits, but advocates find crystal bed therapy a relaxing and reenergizing experience.
Many wellness treatments and rituals have roots in ancient practices, and according to Hotel Heubad in northern Italy lying in warm, damp hay has been a thing since 1903. The hay is harvested from alpine meadows (unfertilized, thankfully) and a variety of more than 40 grasses and flowers. The hotel says hay baths can help with “arthritis, sleeping disorders, digestive problems, and physiological or physical exhaustion.”
Otherwise known as sound bath, the reputed benefits of having resonant, overtone-emitting instruments played over your body can be profound and deeply meditative. Guest at Yaan Wellness spa in Tulum, Mexico, can lie back and relax while the sounds of shamanic instruments including Tibetan singing bowls, gongs, Mayan shells and didgeridoos wash over, around and through them in vibrational waves.