A naturopath form of medicine called Hydrotherapy has taken over my life for the past 10 years. I have sought out areas of the world that both offer and respect this form of healing waters therapy that soothes the mind as much as it does the muscles. I feel all must experience this easy way to find their own journey to relaxation and healing. While you can find it in a variety of places both near and far, somehow it feels just that much better if you travel far. Healing waters come in many forms from indoor mineral enriched tubs, hot springs, and variety of hydrotherapy areas. One can pick whatever floats their boat – or body in this case. Here are my top 9 places to experience healing waters of the world for relaxation and rejuvenation.
1. Bürgenstock Hotel & Alpine Spa, Lake Lucerne, Switzerland – Never has a place made me feel closer to heaven than the new Alpine Spa at the Bürgenstock Hotel overlooking the waters of Lake Lucerne. The location is so spectacular with breathtaking snow-capped mountains and stunning lake views that you would think it would be hard to match. But the Alpine Spa may have topped mother nature with its design, or at least matched it almost perfectly. Perched 1,640 feet above the lake, one can relax in various hydrotherapy areas including the dramatic panoramic infinity-edge pool. Wading in this pool made me wonder if I had become part of the sky or if it was all a dream. As the boundary between the water and sky appears to melt away, so does your stress. For someone who has traveled the world in search of healing waters, this spa exceeded all of my expectations. The three-level spa offers much more than I can name here, so let me tell you what stood out to me – or left me in awe more exactly – the already mentioned infinity pool, the ice room, the panorama sauna, the Kneipp baths, rock shower, along with the dual pediluvium (pebbled baths for the feet). Tip: Make sure to ask for a tour when you visit. I almost missed an entire floor on my short stay. This spa deserves an entire week with so many hydrotherapy areas to enjoy.
2 Baden-Baden, Germany –The true spa town of Baden -Baden Germany offers much to make one take a pilgrimage to this town full of vitality. Visiting the famous Friedrichsbad Roman-Irish baths was one of my greatest adventures. Through missed train connections, I was tasked with visiting during a co-ed time. Just know that the non-co-ed times are not completely separate woman or men’s areas and the attendants stay co-ed. In the 19th century this was the place to be to heal. It is the most elegant bathing experience one could ever hope for in their lives with painting meant for royalty at every angle. For accommodations near the Roman Baths visit the Villa Stephanie spa resort at Brenners Park-Hotel & Spa. My mother and I had the chance to spend a Mother’s Day there together and enjoyed everything from their spa to a spectacular breakfast. I still dream of both that spa and the breakfast – which included living herbs to accompany your omelet. Check out their newest amenity, a kill switch – which blocks out 96 percent of the surrounding Wi-Fi signals and radio waves. Their aid in your digital detox. Tip: Put your American ways behind and enjoy the experience here. You will have the spa journey of your life and definitely earn your honorary European badge – now if you just had somewhere to pin it.
3.Fairmont Le Montreux Palace, Montreux, Switzerland – Sometimes one just has to be close to the water to find the healing powers that it holds. How can one not feel more at ease and relaxed with swans at every gaze? The Fairmont Le Montreux Palace offers a Willow Stream Spa right on the waters of Lake Geneva. Whether in their newly updated outdoor pool, indoor pool and jacuzzi or while one relaxes in the spa lounge after their treatment, you can take in the effects of this famous lake – all while viewing the French Alps across the water. Tip: If you are a music lover this is the place to be for the Montreux Jazz Festival. Also, the song “Smoke on the Water” originated here.
4. Norwegian Bliss, Norwegian Cruise Line – My most recent healing waters experience was unexpected. I found that the power of the sea has healing properties for me. While recently on an inaugural journey of the Norwegian Bliss, I was blown away at the space allowed the spa onboard and the stunning views. While soaking in their vitality pool, I felt my blood pressure improving and my resting face feeling lighter. This Mandara Spa includes even more than healing waters to improve your zest for life – a salt room and an ice room completed my circuit that spa day. Tip: With such an extensive thermal suite be certain to schedule plenty of time before and after your spa treatment to enjoy all it has to offer.
5. Tabacon Thermal Resort & Spa, Costa Rica – On my list to visit next are the 900 lush acres of rainforest in Costa Rica that include their own healing waters. It includes five thermal springs in the natural setting of the rainforest where gravity aids in the flow of the water which in turn aids in the lowering of your stress levels. These healing waters are heated by the Arenal Volcano’s magma! Once you slip into this Zen-like garden of streams, faint sounds of wildlife and rushing streams are the soundtrack of your day. Tip: No worries about your carbon footprint here due to their 100% carbon-neutral “Green Program”.
6.Bath, England – My first time in Bath was almost 10 years ago and I am still inspired by the original bathing areas – which yes even included a hot tub that was warmed by water heated by an actual wood burning fire and sent through carved out stone canals to the stone tubs in the ladies only area. This city in southwest England is only a little over an hour from London, so everyone has the ability to visit if they find themselves in London even if for the day. The hot springs area was built almost two millennia ago by the Romans. While you cannot still soak at this World Heritage site, you can head over to the Thermae Bath Spa nearby which is the modern equivalent. Tip: Be sure to check out the rooftop pool at the Thermae Bath Spa so you can overlook this historic spa town while you soak in mineral waters as the Romans did over 2,000 years ago.
7. Warm Springs, Georgia, USA – The next is a place in American history in the state of Georgia. Warm Springs is where one of our most beloved Presidents, Franklin D. Roosevelt came to heal himself from his pain and paralysis caused by polio. These mineral springs flow at 88 degrees and assisted our president in regaining his strength. He is who named the town Warm Springs. The town now is the home of the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute. Tip: While public is not able to bathe in these same springs, the area has a wealth of outdoor springs and resorts to sooth your senses.
8. Kusatsu Onsen, Japan – Nearly 3 million visitors must be right! That is how many people take to the waters at Kusatsu Onsen each year. These Healing Waters are only a 2-hour drive just from Tokyo, Japan. Locals have made this place part of their culture they head here religiously for aid in healing their muscle pains, hypertension and a multitude of other ailments.
9. Station Blu, Quebec, Canada – If you are both an architecture lover and an outdoor buff, this is your place. I am neither but will always desire to return to a place where one can do an entire hydrotherapy circuit outside and relax by the fire all while viewing nature and snow on the ground while I staying warm in the healing waters. Where can one discover such a place – just 35 miles outside of Quebec City between Mont Sainte-Anne and Le Massif de Charlevoix. With ski slopes nearby this must be the perfect place to soak all those tired muscles after a day on the slopes. Tip: Their bistro has amazing small bites, wine and bubbles that I found extremely tasty and upscale. Just another way they enhanced your healing waters day.