In advance of the Global Wellness Summit (GWS) in Tyrol, October 17-19, the international conference has highlighted Austrian wellness practices that overworked Americans have never heard of. When in Northern, Central or Eastern Europe, check out these treatments, or book yourself into one of these resorts to get expert attention and pampering.
1. Sauna Aufguss: Do you really know how to use a sauna? Dry or wet heat should be followed by cooling down to get the endorphins working. In German-speaking countries with Alpine regions such as Austria, the experience has become an event. “Sauna Aufguss” choreographed by “Saunameisters" can feature aromatherapy, precisely controlled heat and humidity, towel rituals, singing bowls, and even chanting and dancing. Some add music, laser lights and disco smoke! Experience Sauna Aufguss events at Aquadome, a 4-star spa and wellness wonderland of pools and saunas, and three-tiered sauna stadium.
2. The Mayr Cure: While we obsess over what goes into our stomachs, we pay little attention to the stomach itself. A century ago, Viennese doctor, Francis Xavier Mayr created the Mayr Cure, a digestive detox built on 3 pillars: rest; high-alkaline detoxification; and training. Today, guests at Mayr Method spas and resorts can also typically have daily abdominal and full-body massages, Kneipp water treatments, exercise like Nordic walking. You can now experience the famed Mayr energy surge at VIVAMAYR (Lake Wörthersee) or at their new, gorgeous Lanserhof Tegernsee (Germany).
3. Hay Baths: A traditional Tyrollean practice for 200+ years, hay baths were discovered when farmers who slept on bales of hay woke feeling refreshed. Today's more luxurious and hygienic hay baths involve wrapping guests in warm Alpine hay packed with healing high altitude herbs. Relax, sweat out toxins, and finish with an intense full-body massage. Try a modern hay bath at Austria’s Alpenresort Schwarz.
4. "Forest Bathing": Studies show that time spent among phytoncides, airborne chemicals emitted by trees, lowers blood pressure and boosts cancer-fighting cells. For example, exposure to the aromatic Austrian Stone Pine may improve sleep by saving you 3,500 heartbeats a night. In Austrian hotels, spas and products, you will find local wood everywhere to promote wellness, such as at Ecolabel-EU-certified, all-local-wood ZillerLodge. Austrian hotels even offer pillows stuffed with stone pine shavings, while at Der Wiesenhof resort, stone pine baths and wood scrubs are on offer. At Aquadome, there’s everything from “moon wood” massages with mountain pine oils to pinewood-infused bio-saunas.