Water is the Earth’s most powerful element. It is found everywhere on the planet, from the polar ice caps to crashing waterfalls to streams striking through the woods.
The power of water is profound. Our bodies cannot function without it, but in a way, water feeds our emotional needs as well.
According to scientists, water induces a flood of neurochemicals, such as serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin, your brain’s feel-good hormones.
This, in turn, increases blood flow to the heart, inducing a state that makes us happier, healthier and calmer.
Cultures around the world have long traditions of ritualistic bathing, designed to promote healing and relaxation. From the Turking hammam and Japanese sentōs to the Nordic bath.
The classic Nordic bath ritual is based on thermal healing through hot steam and cold baths. Experiencing this sharp contrast in temperature, commonly referred to as Nordic or Scandinavian hydrotherapy is a centuries-old restorative practice.
The Vikings bathed at least once a week with this type of ritual.
The practice starts with working up a sweat in a wood-heated sauna, then plunging into an ice-cold river or outdoor pool.
Afterwards, some spend time enjoying the serene natural surroundings, while others repeat the process a few times until finally bringing their body back to itsegular temperature, relaxing in a spa or steam bath.
To enhance the experience, birch twigs and eucalyptus whisks are sometimes added to the ritual. These natural elements help exfoliate the skin and promote blood circulation with the added benefit of aromatherapy.
Although dunking yourself in an ice bath may seem extreme, practitioners claim the results are well worth it.
From stimulating your immune system to soothing muscles and joints and improving circulation and metabolism, the therapeutic benefits, when done under the right supervision, are clear to those participating.
Nordic baths are also fueled by mineral-rich geothermal springs, located in areas of natural beauty with spectacular views. It’s a great way to relax outside with friends and family and creates a special element of community.
What’s going to bring you a feeling of peace just by doing it?
It reminds us to slow down, savor the moment and you will almost always be glad you did.
Places to Unwind
Shou Sugi Ban House, Hamptons, New York
Inspired by Japanese principles of wabi-sabi and a spirit of openness and exploration, Shou Sugi Ban House offers spa, healing arts, nutrition, fitness and complete wellness experiences in a holistic, educational setting. We welcome diverse points of view and are especially galvanized by the strength of women and the wisdom of community.
Arctic Bath, Harads, SwedenSituated under the northern lights in winter, and the midnight sun during the summer months, Arctic Bath is a unique hotel and spa experience that welcomes guests to immerse themselves in the elements while leaving a minimal environmental footprint behind. Located just south of the arctic circle, this natural spa retreat is a reminder of the importance of forests for the entire country’s development.
Claiming a breathtaking stretch of coastline on the Lombok Strait, Amankila rests on a lush hillside beneath sacred Mount Agung. Connected by frangipani-lined walkways through the treetops, stilted suites offer spectacular views high on the hillside, while a three-tier infinity pool cascades at the property’s heart and the Beach Club leads to a private black-sand beach.