Health and wellness is an ever-growing, never-ending realm of knowledge and revolutionary discoveries. It seems every day there's a new fitness class or a new spice to add to your water to lose weight. Perhaps the answer to your health questions lies in the ancient archives of the world's history. These traditions are very powerful, if only because people believe they work and their ancestry has acknowledged that since the beginning. Travel the world and experience different cultures as you read about these wellness trends that have been around for centuries.
Japanese Forest Bathing: Shinrin-yoku, Japanese for "forest bathing," is a key part of health care and healing in Japanese culture. Just spending time surrounded by nature and taking relaxed walks can improve body function. According to Shinrin-Yoku, the benefits of forest bathing include stress reduction, improved mood and sleep, a clearer mind, reduced blood pressure and increased focus. The goal is to open your senses and allow your experience with the forest to help you meditate. You can experience forest bathing and its benefits at places like Blackberry Farm in Tennessee where wellness is the focus.
Islamic Nature-Based Healing: The Prophet Mohammed taught that God provided healing for the world in the midst of illness. He taught that mankind had to search nature for these provisions and learn how to use them. Nature-based healing combines natural herbs and their healing properties with scientific principles to carefully administer treatment where needed and maintain balance in the body's fluids. Arab pharmacology uses extensive observation and experimentation to determine what treatments hold value. (via Mother Earth Living)
Thailand Fish Spas: Fish pedicures shake things up a bit and make you the fish food. Customers place their feet in tanks of warm, fresh water, just like you would in a typical pedicure. The twist: Dozens of toothless Garra rufa fish are swimming around in the tank. Also called "doctor fish" or "nibble fish," these little guys suck and nibble the dead skin off your feet, stimulating blood flow, improving circulation, removing bacteria and helping to ease athlete's foot, leaving your feet healthy and refreshed. The downside is that many people fear that the fish will transmit diseases and bad bacteria from one customer to the next, causing infection, so many U.S. states have banned the practice. Still, the Health Protection Agency says those risks are low and ultimately depend on the hygiene standards each spa upholds. (via WebMD)
Mayan Sweat Lodges: This isn't your typical steam room or sauna. Temazcal is a spiritual practice rooted in Mayan culture. You strip down to little or no clothes and hang out in a dark, concrete room in the ground, sweating in extreme heat, while a shaman chants for two hours and burns herbs and incense. It's not for everyone, but those who have braved the initial shock and discomfort step out from the darkness feeling lighter and refreshed. It's an extended period of time where you lose yourself to the ancient ceremony and let go of your physical and mental load. If nothing else, your skin will feel great!
Egyptian Climatotherapy: The natural balance of sun, sea and sand in Safaga, Egypt helps with conditions like muscle tension, psoriasis and rheumatism. The salt concentration in these healing waters is 35 percent higher than you will find in most bodies of salt water, helping with blood circulation and providing therapy to your ailments. The mixture of minerals and chemicals in the water is great for the body and skin and local spas offer hydrotherapy and underwater massage to take full advantage of this natural resource. The Dead Sea is also a hot spot for climatotherapy unique because it is the Earth's lowest elevation on land.
Cleansing Thermal Springs: Natural hot springs found all over the world provide access to healing and relaxation in many forms. Geologists believe that the volcanic hot springs in Santorini, Greece are rich in iron, manganese and sulphur dioxide. These minerals are great for your skin and help with arthritis, rheumatism and other bodily aches and pains. The geothermal activity beneath the hot springs in Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia make a great end-of-the-day relaxation session in the midst of extreme temperatures of Uyuni's high-desert climate. The thermal baths in Antsirabe, Madagascar are considered to be medicinal. Here, you can get a massage and go for a swim in the hot water. (via The Travel Word)
Japanese Reiki: Prepare to let go of stress and relax. This technique is based on the idea that your life force is energy residing in your body and when it's low, you can get sick or stressed. Increasing your life force energy makes you happier and healthier and keeps you alive. The Reiki master has access to an unlimited supply of life force energy and uses hand positions on your body to heal you and allow life to flow from the source into you. Many people have found the practice to heal and restore balance in their bodies. You can find spas around that world that administer Reiki wellness services.