Happy New Year! With the wellness juggernaut currently in full beast mode, there’s a mindboggling number of ways out there to become happier, healthier beings.
Whether you’re a newbie hoping to reduce that number on the scales, or a regular gymgoer who’s hit a plateau, there are plenty of new options for your fitness goals.
Once the purview of CSI-style investigators, DNA testing kits have gone mainstream. At REVĪVŌ Wellness Resort Bali , holistic wellness plans can be hyper-personalised with DNA tests which analyse the genes that affect your diet, metabolism and athletic capabilities. Does your genome prefer monounsaturated fats (avocados, nuts and olive oil) or polyunsaturated ones (chia and flax seeds)? Is your body built for endurance? Or should HIIT workouts be your new best friend? Throw in idyllic grounds, delicious nutritious fare and the delights of Nusa Dua on the doorstep, and it’s the perfect way to kickstart a new regimen that works best for you.
Finding an exercise you enjoy is half the battle, and what could be more fun than channelling your inner Ariel? Aquamermaid is one of the world’s biggest mermaid schools, operating across the US and Canada. As you master the art of swishing through the water in a sequinned silicone mermaid tail, you’ll be toning your glutes, quads and abs while getting a great cardio workout.
If those bags under your eyes could talk… they’d probably just yawn. With lack of shut-eye impacting virtually every other area of our wellness – including fitness, skincare and mindfulness – it’s time to make bedtime a priority.
Six Senses led the charge to provide help with sleep back in 2017, in partnership with sleep doctor Michael Breus, and it now offers dedicated sleep programmes at 12 of its properties throughout the world. At Six Senses Kaplankaya in Turkey, dedicated Sleep Ambassadors guide guests through a programme centred on yoga nidra, or sleeping yoga, which teaches you how to fully relax, meditate and address subconscious needs – coupled with ‘Dream Catcher Massages’, smart sleep-tracking technology and nutritional advice.
Can drastically lowering your body temperature really help you catch zzz’s? Dutch extreme athlete Wim ‘The Ice Man’ Hof says it absolutely can. At retreats on the Karkonosze biosphere reserve in Poland, Hof will teach you how to embrace the cold. At the end of an intense five days, participants climb a snowy peak in minimal clothing and soak in an ice pond. The Wim Hof method claims a huge spectrum of benefits – from improved sleep, cardiovascular performance and immune system control to helping deal with depression.
Housed within a gorgeous leafy estate in Luang Prabang, at the foot of the sacred Mount Phousi, Amantaka launched a new Buddhist centre in September 2019 to guide guests on their spiritual journey. Retreats are led by resident abbot Sengdao Santikaro, who will teach guests Buddhism’s five principles of good living through a combination of a baci cleansing ceremony, ancient Laotian bathing, a massage healing ritual plus chanting and meditation. If that doesn’t reset your zen, nothing will.
Take your spiritual journey to another plane of existence by visiting the shamans of South America. The ancient tradition of reaching an altered state of consciousness is helped along by the mind-bending ayahuasca – a hallucinogenic tea made from plant roots. The practice is said to help practitioners heal deep emotional wounds, gain clarity, clear emotional blockages and more – although be warned that the tea is well known for its emetic properties. Peru Shamans offers retreat options including a five-day ayahuasca retreat or an intense Shaman School in the arts of Andean cosmovision, Andean astronomy and the spiritual Inca world.
Credit: Angela Ho
Life is stressful – there’s no avoiding it – but there are a growing number of ways to manage and combat the problems of the modern age.
At the newly opened city sanctuary Fivelements Hong Kong , a range of sound healing classes, from singing bowl to mantra meditation, have been devised to help release stress and negativity. During a gong bath, Fivelements says, the sound induces a state of relaxation by letting the vibrations ‘massage your cells and harmonise your brain waves’.
There’s plenty of scientific evidence that shows being around animals gives us warm fuzzy feelings (or, in lab terms, reduces stress-producing hormones like cortisol). Goat yoga bounced onto the scene in 2017 – but the latest craze in upstate New York is cow cuddling. At the Mountain Horse Farm , owners Suzanne and Rudi Vullers – certified with the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association – offer 90-minute therapy sessions that involve petting, brushing and, yes, cuddling cows or rescue horses.
Hero image: Angela Ho