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Pampering time in spas over winter

For some time now, the Christmas holidays no longer mean just family reunions, toasts with friends, reindeer jumpers and last minute runs in pursuit of the perfect gifts. Many people are waiting for the days between December and January to enjoy a well-deserved break between the autumn sprint and the beginning of the New Year.

The desire for a regenerating break from the rhythms of life at a high technological rate is growing, and the tourist market is growing, offering excellent services related to wellness. Far from the idea of ascetic or clinical retreats, today's luxury spas are designed to combine high-end hospitality with a wellness experience that meets the expectations of increasingly aware and demanding users.

Spa and well-being tailor-made

Among the current trends we discover the great success of the women only programs. These are packages aimed at an exclusively female audience, ranging from specific categories such as painmoons, stays dedicated to those who need to overcome a difficult period marked by the end of a relationship or a loss, to mumcations and menopause retreats. The former are designed to offer women a period of strictly childfree time, for example for those women who are put to the test by maternity. These are holidays to experience alone or with friends, without any sense of guilt, because when they return the whole family benefits from a more relaxed and happy mother with a regained sense of well-being. The second proposal is intended for those who, facing the hardships associated with menopause, want to find a balance through targeted care and solve specific problems.
In this case, these are programs that offer sessions based on meditation, yoga, holistic treatments, pilates, lymphatic drainage massages, skin treatments and detox diets. They have been designed to take into account the particular hormonal and metabolic needs of this phase of the female body. Unlike the standard programs, "women only" stays are designed to combine body care and inner well-being, and for this reason the offer also includes workshops, coaching seminars, and activities with personal trainers and tutors who follow the guests throughout their stay.
Wellness is not just for women, of course. Today, the spas offer a wide range of proposals to suit every need, including programmes for those suffering from chronic insomnia. More and more people around the world are suffering from sleep-related problems and science is taking this issue very seriously, multiplying its studies in search of innovative therapies. For the moment, a nice package dedicated to sleep can be a wonderful gift for those used to fixing the ceiling during the night.

Extreme well-being trend

Extreme wellness, on the other hand, responds to a new trend, namely the offer of internships to train to achieve extreme goals that can ensure physical and mental improvement. If you want to experience a type of wellness that goes beyond the usual canons, you can opt for a stay in which to challenge your limits under the guidance of a professional coach. This is the case, for example, of Wim Hof, nicknamed "Ice Man" for his ability to dive in icy waters. Author of the book The Power of the Cold and military consultant, expert in yoga and meditation, Hof holds courses around the world where he offers his method to those who want to have an extreme experience but, it is said, able to produce a radical and positive change in those who live it.

Well-being and extra-ordinary destinations

Returning to the theme of relaxation, if you are looking for a destination for a stay of well-being, the advice is to get out of the usual tourist routes, opting for places in the world where there is a well-established tradition of body care. The first suggestion concerns the Middle East, where Hamman and wellness treatments have an ancient tradition. From Morocco to Jordan, each country has a broader tradition of body care, massotherapy and beauty treatments according to local tastes.

Leaving in December for a warm destination offers a pleasant break from the rigours of winter, with a beneficial effect of relaxation on the whole body.

Among the most fascinating places to visit is the Sultanate of Oman, a pearl overlooking the Arabian Sea. Extending alongside the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Yemen, it is a place to travel safely, discovering its millenary history, the remains of Portuguese domination (which lasted until the fifteenth century) and the stories of pirates and adventurers. Between the sea and the desert, the cities offer corners of pure Arab culture, where you can listen to the songs of sailors or those of desert dwellers, taste the local cuisine (for which the shark is considered a delicacy) and visit cities such as Salalah, second largest city in Oman, Nizwa or Sohar, the place where the legend of Sinbad the Sailor was born.
Among the various destinations dedicated to wellness, the Shangri-La Al Husn Resort & Spa in Muscat, the capital of the country, divided into three hotels, offers a luxury treatment with its spa overlooking a private beach and the Health Club. The Castle, the most exclusive of the three hotels, is recommended. To discover another side of Oman, the right destination is Alila Jabar Akhdar, a resort nestled in the mountains of Al Akhdar, a natural paradise where you can relax between traditional spa and wild nature. If you want to combine body treatments with sporting activity, the Six Senses Zighy Bay is the place to be: located in the north, on the Musandam Peninsula, its villas with swimming pool and suites also offer a butler service, as well as a spa with integrated wellness services and a range of activities ranging from paragliding to climbing. All in the name of eco-design and attention to the environment.

Benessere glaciale in Islanda

Back in Europe, Iceland is one of the recommended destinations for a winter wellness break. It is certainly not chosen for its mild climate, but even in winter, the incredible surrounding nature offers unforgettable spectacles, including geysers and active volcanoes. In this primordial setting, the must-see stop is the Blue Lagoon, the most famous geothermal spa in the country and one of the most unstable in the world. It is an artificial thermal pool located in Grindavík, on the Reykjanes peninsula, not far from Reykjavík.
The highlight is the location, with a resort and restaurant overlooking an outdoor turquoise mineral pool, immersed in dense vapours. Moving from glacial outdoor temperatures to the warmth of the water is an invigorating experience but one that needs to be resilient. Of course, you can also treat yourself to a massage, a yoga session, an underground sauna or a complete treatment with algae and mud, ending with a dinner prepared by the private chef to be enjoyed in front of the fireplace of the exclusive Lava Cove.

Japan: well-being of body and mind

The third and final destination for a Christmas break is Japan. With its tradition of onsen (thermal baths), Japan is a country that has raised the well-being of the body to a collective ritual. The spas are widespread throughout the country and very popular. Among the destinations you can choose from, you'll find ultra-modern, hi-tech and minimalist design accommodation, the result of a refined taste, alongside the ryokan, which instead have maintained in every way the appearance and ritual of traditional Japan.

The onsen, as often happens in Japan, have rather strict rules of use, which the gaijin (foreigners) should know to avoid bad figures. For example, entry is forbidden to those who are tattooed, a rule that has to do with Yakuza, the Japanese underworld, whose members show off elaborate tattoos as a symbol of belonging to clans. In short, it's better to ask a local guide to make sure you respect the label.

Among the most interesting places to visit are Dogo Onsen, in Matsuyama, with its 3000 years of activity is considered the oldest spa town in Japan. It is a real institution, so much so that the Studio Ghibli of Hayao Miyazaki, the famous artist author of beautiful animated films, was inspired by this spa for his works. During the winter we recommend a visit to the Ginzan Onsen spa, in Yamanashi, one of the most beautiful spas in the country.

The illuminated and snow-covered city on the Ginzan River, in the mountain town of Obanazawa, seems to have come out of a soul and it is possible to walk along the streets of the city wearing the yukata, a "casual" version of the kimono that even a tourist can wear without running the risk of looking ridiculous. If one onsen is not enough, you can go to the nature reserve of Nyuto, in the prefecture of Akita, a district that boasts seven spa villages. It is a place nestled in the mountains where you can experience the toji (thermal treatments), to be combined with a stay detox and total regeneration, relying on the Japanese traditions of wellness and one of the tastiest cuisines in the world.

If Japan is famous for its beauty during spring, the cherry blossoming season, and autumn, the foliage show, in winter it offers the unique pleasure of natural spas, the enchantment of snow in rural villages and the comfort of hot dishes such as soups, ramen and udon, a real panacea for body and mind.

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