Wine baths, in­fra-red saunas and other new ther­a­pies

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“Well­ness” is a di­vi­sive con­cept. Is it a much-needed es­cape hatch from an age of con­stant dig­i­tal noise or, as Amer­i­can ac­tress Hari Nef quipped, “a thing that up­per-class white women in their 30s in­vented in order to bat­tle in­vis­i­ble demons that don’t ex­ist”? What­ever your po­si­tion, the world of well­ness is a very vis­i­ble $US3.7 tril­lion global in­dus­try, with well­ness tourism grow­ing more than twice as fast as tourism in gen­eral. Ac­cord­ing to in­dus­try body the Global Well­ness In­sti­tute, a great deal of that ex­pan­sion is hap­pen­ing in al­ter­na­tive ther­a­pies. “Things that felt so hip­pie-ish and ’70s are now ab­so­lutely the No. 1 well­ness trend in the West,” says the in­sti­tute’s direc­tor of re­search and PR, Beth McGroarty. “The more kooky or wacky the treat­ment, the big­ger it is.” Here’s a teaser. Crys­tal light bed ther­apy

For­get a balanced diet. These days it’s all about balanced chakras – or is that en­ergy fields? Don’t get too hung up on the de­tails be­cause ev­ery­one from Adele to Vic­to­ria Beck­ham is em­brac­ing the pleas­ing aes­thetic and pur­ported heal­ing prop­er­ties of pre­cious stones.

Crys­tal light bed ther­apy, which in­volves ly­ing on a mas­sage ta­ble be­neath seven rain­bow-coloured Vo­gel-cut quartz crys­tals (one for each chakra), first emerged in Brazil’s John of God heal­ing com­mu­nity. More re­cently, it has cap­tured the at­ten­tion of SoCal yo­gis and East Coast fash­ion­istas, who will gladly shell out $US120 (about $150) a pop for a restora­tive ses­sion.

Ac­cord­ing to Mo­drn Sanc­tu­ary (mod­rn­sanc­tu­ary.com), a lux­ury well­ness cen­tre in Man­hat­tan that spe­cialises in the prac­tice, the crys­tals “shine on/off in heal­ing rhythms to cleanse, bal­ance and align your en­er­gies”.

If noth­ing else, they’ll look great on your In­sta­gram feed.

In­fra-red saunas

The old­est known sauna is just a pit of stones in Fin­land but over the past two mil­len­nia, this an­cient tra­di­tion has un­der­gone mul­ti­ple face lifts. The lat­est and trendi­est in­car­na­tion uses in­fra-red light waves to cre­ate heat in the body in­stead of in the air. The lower tem­per­a­tures mean you can stay in there for longer – all the bet­ter for treat­ing ev­ery­thing from high blood pres­sure to arthri­tis, if you be­lieve its devo­tees.

Model Mi­randa Kerr has an in­fra-red sauna in her guest­house but the rest of us can sweat in style at Nim­bus & Co. (nim­busco. com.au) at Syd­ney’s Bondi Beach.

Cult fit­ness

The lat­est sta­tus work­outs are about more than rock-hard abs – they’re about spir­i­tu­al­ity and rock-hard abs. In New York and Los An­ge­les, The Class by Taryn Toomey (taryn­toomey.com) com­bines a vig­or­ous work­out with “clear­ing your space” (read: burpees with a side of cathar­tic scream­ing).

But for the real new-wave ex­pe­ri­ence, spend a day in LA’s Run­yon Canyon, hik­ing and breath­ing heav­ily with The Wild­fire Ini­tia­tive (thewil­d­fireini­tia­tive. com), a fit­ness club led by four gym bros who of­fer “cut­ting-edge pres­ence train­ing to usher in a new era of aware­ness and to man­i­fest the great re­al­ity”. Meet-ups are free to at­tend and hap­pen ev­ery Sun­day so there’s no need to feel in­tim­i­dated. Re­mem­ber, they’re just your av­er­age col­lec­tion of ac­tors, mod­els and Olympians get­ting out­doors, en­joy­ing one an­other’s com­pany and fine­tun­ing their per­fect tor­sos.


“The old model of ex­cess, the party men­tal­ity, is not as af­ford­able for peo­ple any more,” says McGroarty, cit­ing a new, health-con­scious breed of mil­len­nial trav­eller as an emerg­ing force in the in­dus­try. That said, ex­cess al­ways finds a way and it doesn’t get more won­der­fully ex­ces­sive than sip­ping a glass of wine while soak­ing in a bath of wine – you know, for the anti-age­ing prop­er­ties.

French beauty brand Cau­dalie was the first to spruik the skin­soft­en­ing prop­er­ties of grape seed polyphe­nols but to­day you can soak in a vat of vino ev­ery­where from Italy to Ja­pan.

Salt ther­apy

Let’s get this out of the way: there’s no sci­en­tific ev­i­dence that sit­ting in a room built from salt blocks will im­prove the symp­toms of asthma, arthri­tis, eczema or any other ail­ment – ex­cept, per­haps, an elec­trolyte de­fi­ciency (in which case, lick­ing the walls may help). Then again, one look at the salt cham­ber in the lux­u­ri­ous spa at Sirene Lux­ury Ho­tel Bo­drum (ho­tel.qan­tas.com. au/sirene­bo­drum), on Turkey’s idyl­lic Aegean coast, will see you check­ing any reser­va­tions at the door.

Sound bathing

Bizarre name aside, sound bathing, which in­volves re­lax­ing to the sounds of Ti­betan singing bowls or bowls made of quartz crys­tal, may serve as a use­ful med­i­ta­tion tech­nique for novices who strug­gle to reach nir­vana through breath­work alone. Think of it as med­i­tat­ing to a sound­track.

In South­ern Cal­i­for­nia’s Mo­jave Desert, tak­ing a sound bath in the In­te­gra­tron (in­te­gra­tron.com) – a domed struc­ture de­scribed by its cre­ator as “a time ma­chine for ba­sic re­search on re­ju­ve­na­tion, anti-grav­ity and time travel” – will trans­port you to an­other world be­fore you even close your eyes.

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