Hot Springs: Iceland from 10 Healing Holidays Slideshow
10 Healing Holidays Slideshow
Hot Springs: Iceland
This volcanic island is home to a large variety of water-based remedies — from a 180-foot geyser to more than 800 natural hot springs that contain beneficial minerals. Locals and travelers alike can soak away impurities, relax their muscles and relieve joint pain, help eliminate toxins, and rid themselves of dry-skin issues.
With water temperatures reaching 150 degrees Fahrenheit, cool down with skyr, Iceland's traditional yogurt.
Sea Salt and Mud Treatments: Israel
Experience the sensation of floating in the Dead Sea, as the salt and mineral-filled waters carry you effortlessly. Then, get down and dirty as you coat yourself with a local mud mask that moisturizes with an anti-aging formula from the salt and minerals. After your long day in the sun, satisfy your appetite with Israel's nutrient-rich cuisine featuring ingredients like eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini, hummus, and the Jewish "seven species."
Even in the dead of winter, travelers flock to Budapest's bathhouses. The draw is their 118 natural hot springs, where locals and visitors can spend hours relaxing in the warm pools and steam rooms. The health benefits enjoyed from soaking in these baths and steam rooms include an increased metabolism, clearer skin, boosted circulation, relaxed muscles, loosened joints, and temporarily calmed respiratory issues. While you’re there, tuck into a hearty bowl of a traditional Hungarian Fisherman's soup.
Mud: Calistoga, Calif.
An abundance of volcanic ash from Mount Konocti's eruption (hundreds of thousands of years ago) is mixed with hot spring water (from geysers like Old Faithful) and peat moss to create a healing mud (and a fountain-of-youth mentality) in this small Napa Valley town. The mud cleans pores, improves complexion, and removes toxins from the skin and body. Visitors enjoy a steam, blanket wrap, or mineral bath afterward — and a glass of wine from local vineyards couldn't hurt, what with all those antioxidants.
Sweat Lodge: Tuscan, Ariz.
Sweat lodges are the sites of traditional Native American rituals of cleansing the body and soul. In a hut made of natural ingredients with a small fire pit at its center, you'll sweat out your toxins and reaffirm your sense of accomplishment — temperatures tend to be around 100 degrees. Small snacks of nuts and dried fruits are sometimes provided after the sweat, but heavy meals are discouraged for at least four hours.
Healing Stones: United Kingdom
The U.K. is home to a number of rock formations thought to have healing properties. From Stonehenge to Silbury Hill, these locations are said to hold extreme amounts of energy and healing qualities. Mên-an-Tol has been known to heal back and joint problems, the Rollright stones are known for aiding in fertility, and the Tolmen stone increases immunity levels. Dine on Jamie Oliver’s dishes at Fifteen Cornwall pre-healing.
On a visit to Morocco, dive into the local culture with a visit to a hammam. More than just a steam house, Hammams have three different rooms with varying temperatures: hot, warm, and cold. After a full-body exfoliation, you're soaked in hot, soapy water before the hammam. Visit Morocco's La Mamounia for its hammam and its much-acclaimed restaurants for French, Italian, and Moroccan cuisines.
If you are looking for a total retreat, book a meditation holiday in India. This spiritual country is bursting with yoga retreats, meditation centers, and travelers on soul-searching missions. Fill your mind with peace and quiet, and satisfy your stomach with mouthwatering vegetarian dishes like saag paneer and aloo gobi.
Visit the Peruvian Amazon and discover life as you have never seen it. In local Amazonian villages, shamans (or medicine men) use elements from nature and folklore to treat ailments, teach a peaceful mindset, and marry your physical and spiritual worlds. Continue the cleansing theme with locally grown quinoa, Peruvian fruits, and a classic, light dish of ceviche.
Healing Waters: Lourdes, France
The legend of Lourdes dates back to the 19th century, when the Virgin Mary is supposed to have appeared and turned the local grotto into a healing spring. Since then, more than 200 million people have visited in search of various cures to everything from fevers to more serious diseases like multiple sclerosis. The healing waters have even been discussed as an alternative medicine option for cancer patients. Near the grotto you can now buy bottles of the water to drink to further your healing.