10 Healing Holidays

Pamper body and soul with healing waters and cleansing mud baths

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

Your skin deserves a vacation. It’s already taking a beating from the early winter cold, and while you’re lathering on extra layers of your daily moisturizer, it’s dreaming of a holiday in the Dead Sea. Natural remedies like hot springs and healing stones exist the world over and have been drawing travelers from near and far for restorative trips, whether it’s a pre- or post-holiday escape, or just for a major de-stress session. The added bonus is that most of these curative destinations are within a stone’s throw of some great (and healthful) local flavors like antioxidant-rich red wines in northern California and ceviche in Peru.

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Filled with natural sea salts and minerals like magnesium and potassium (which are used in anti-aging remedies), the Dead Sea is known to have natural healing powers. And after you soak the years from your skin, you can lay out in the sun without the fear of wrinkles, thanks to three protective ozone layers. Visitors can finish their day with a mud mask packed full of minerals, salts, and natural tar to rejuvenate circulation and make their skin glow. Bring back some Ahava sea-salt skin care products for the perfect holiday gift (or to keep for yourself).

With a horizon of craggy cliffs and moors, the English countryside constantly plays host to soul-searchers looking for meaning as well as natural remedies. The Mên-an-Tol stones are known as healing stones for backaches and other sicknesses. They are three stones — two upright and one circular stone in the center — that are thought to be the remains of a Neolithic tomb, and have displayed fertility and energizing powers. Some researchers maintain that the restorative powers are psychosomatic, while others have found an unusual amount of radiation in the center stone, which supposedly has resulted in a woman becoming pregnant and the healing of a sick child.

Created as a way to purify native tribes from European-introduced influenzas, Native American sweat lodges are still used today to restore and rejuvenate the body. Many sweat lodges have different properties, beyond the small fire pit always present in the center of each. Toxins are released and you’ll naturally soften your skin as you sweat your way through the experience. It’s also soul-affirming to make it to the end — sweat lodges can range from one to three hours for newcomers.

Turning off your cellphone and getting a massage is a good first step, but these remedies take going off-the-grid to a whole other level — a restorative level. You’ll return with a quieter mind, softer skin, and a toxin-free body. Perfect… just in time for the indulge-fest that is the holidays. 

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