Top 10 Health, Wellness, and Spa Vacations in Asia and the Far East
You will become a bath or spa-hound in Asia with public bathing part of the cultural experience in many countries including Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Turkey. Otherwise journey to China, India or Thailand for some serious massage.
- Ayuverda treatments, India
This traditional system of holistic medicine has been practiced in India for more than 5,000 years and works on the principle that the body comprises five elements: fire, water, ether, air and earth. This treatment is offered around India but is particularly renowned in Kerala, Goa and in the Himalaya. The Ananda Spa near Rishikesh in the Himalayan foothills is considered the most exclusive place to take a treatment. Treatments can be mud wraps, Thai massage or an oil bath. There are special diets, a fabulous pool and gym.
- Ashrams, India
If you are interested in undertaking a spiritual journey, India is the perfect place to go. In ashrams across the country you will across some of the most distinguished spiritual and yoga gurus where you can stay and study. Ashrams are mostly located in areas of religious significance particularly along the Ganges River.
- Thai massage
Thai massage is offered almost everywhere, particularly in tourist centers. Just be careful about the establishment; you might be offered more than you bargained for! This kind of massage is usually done on the floor, fully dressed and involves passive, yoga type stretches and pressure point massage. It is supposed to release blocked energy and relieve tension.
- Taiwan baths
People have drowned in the Taiwanese baths thanks to a drowsy heat that has put many to sleep. Stay alert or go into one of the side rooms to nap. Taiwan has one of the world’s largest concentrations of hot springs and the Taiwanese delight in hot-spring bathing. Mineral springs are found all over Taiwan, both in the big cities and in remote places. Apart from hot spring soaking there is also a development of spa water treatment that centers in all tourist-frequented locations.
- Japanese baths
Taking a bath in Japan takes on a whole different meaning; it’s about far more than getting clean. You shed your clothes and daily concerns, lather and scrub, then rinse and sink into clean hot water where you can relax, contemplate and feel at harmony with your surroundings. Public baths (sento) were once used daily for people to wash and meet their friends. Even now that most houses are equipped with private bathtubs the public baths are still very popular.
- Chinese Massage
Massage therapists are ubiquitous in China, particularly those practicing reflexology. If you don’t understand Chinese simply look out for pictures of feet with pressure points indicated. This ancient technique uses pressure-point massage to restore the flow of energy throughout the entire body.
- Turkish hammam
Every town in Turkey has at least one hammam, an idea developed during the time of the Roman Empire and developed and tailored by the Arabs. The bath houses follow a progression through a series of rooms but are focused on massage, scrubbing, relaxation and hair removal. They are religiously clean, gallons of hot water are available and everything is provided - towels, flip flops, sarongs, shampoo and combs.
- Public parks, China
Head to any public park, particularly early in the morning, to join groups of people engaging in Tai Chi, a Chinese martial art that uses graceful, dance like movements. The idea is to regulate the breathing and unite body and mind to achieve mental clarity, balance and improved circulation – harder than it looks!
- Japanese Reiki, Shiatsu or Zen
These two practices are common in Japan. Reiki is a healing technique in which practitioners use their hands to bring energy into the body for deep relaxation and well being. Shiatsu is a massage technique where therapists apply pressure to specific points in the body to simulate and unblock energy pathways. Or undertake some Zen teaching and take a journey on the path to enlightenment.
- Korean Bath
Get ready for some serious nudity when you visit a Korean bath. There’s plenty of time to chat with your friends, loll about, scrub up or even do a salt bath. Utter luxury.