8 Wellness Rituals From Around the World - Full-Time Travel

8 Wellness Rituals From Around the World

8 Wellness Rituals From Around the World

By Esme Benjamin

From a steamy Turkish hammam to Hawaii's soothing Lomi Lomi massage, virtually every culture has its own wellness-focused traditions and treatments. If you’re looking for a way to revamp your health beyond attempting Dry January and joining the local gym, these rituals from around the world provide a wellspring of inspiration. 

Yäan Healing Sanctuary's temazcal | by Juan Manuel Pastorino

Mexico: Temazcal 

Steeped in Mescoamerican history and spirituality, the temazcal (Mexican sweat lodge) has been used for thousands of years to cleanse and heal. Although the details of the ritual may vary, ceremonies are led by a shaman or temazcalero who may incorporate herbs and prayers inside the steamy interior of an igloo-shaped stone structure, heated by hot rocks. Said to detoxify and heal the body while clarifying the mind, you’ll emerge from the temazcal feeling brand new. Try it at Tulum’s Yäan Healing Sanctuary, where proceeds from moon temazcal ceremonies support indigenous youth through the Movida Maya Non Profit Organization.

Where to try it: Yäan Healing Sanctuary

Forest Bathing | By Ryutaro Tsukata

Japan: Shinrin-Yoku (Forest Bathing)

The soothing effect of nature is familiar to anyone who has ever spent time outdoors, but it wasn’t until the 1980s, when the Japanese coined the term shinrin-yoku, that taking a walk in the woods became a healing practice. Shinrin-yoku, or “forest bathing,” is essentially mindfulness and its benefits are similar to meditation. By applying sustained attention to the present moment – the scent of foliage, the gently swaying boughs, and the sound of distant bird calls – you can reduce your stress levels, lower your blood pressure, enhance your immunity, and boost creativity. The best part? It’s free and easily accessible; all you need is a wooded area and your senses (though forest bathing in Japan would be the dream, or course).  

Where to try it: Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Otemachi

Hammam roof | By Maria Orlova

Turkey: Hammam

The ritual of the hammam has played a steady role in Turkish culture ever since steam baths were introduced by the Romans in the 7th Century. Housed in intricately designed buildings with domed roofs and marble floors, hammams offer more than a place to bathe – they are also a social hub where people gather to build community in a relaxed setting. Getting a good scrub down with good company fulfills two primary well-being needs – self-care and strong social bonds – making it a worthy investment in your health regardless of whether it’s a one-off or once-a-month activity. 

Where to try it: Hurrem Sultan Hammam, Istanbul

Ayurvedic massage | Courtesy of Ananda

India: Ayurveda

If you like yoga make this the year you dive into the ancient Indian healing system of Ayurveda. Designed to holistically address each individual’s unique energetic constitution, or “dosha,” Ayurveda aims to restore balance via a prescribed set of physical practices, herbal remedies, and nourishing treatments. Though there are many dosha quizzes online, it’s best to work with an Ayurvedic doctor or practitioner like the ones at Ananda in the Himalayas to identify the aspects of your health that need work and implement a personalized plan incorporating things like pranayama (breathwork), yoga, herbs, and abhyanga (a massage incorporating hot oils).  

Where to try it: Ananda in the Himalayas

Water purification at Tirta Empul | By Ismail Hamzah

Bali: Purification water ritual

As the only Hindu region of the predominantly Islamic Indonesian archipelago, Bali is an island rich with festivals and spiritual rituals – many of which visitors are welcome to respectfully participate in. At the Tirta Empul (Bali’s holy temple dedicated to Vishnu, the Hindu God of water), locals and tourists wait in line to participate in a purification ritual known as “melukat.” After rinsing yourself under the holy spring water which cascades through a series of waterspouts, you will emerge feeling cleansed in body and soul.  

Where to try it: Tirta Empul

Breathwork in the dome at Frequency NYC | Courtesy of Frequency

NYC: Breathwork

From the Wim Hof method to the holotropic technique, therapeutic breathwork is having a moment in modern wellness. Rooted in the yogic practice of pranayama (controlling the inhalation and exhalation to harness “life force” and shift energy), breathwork techniques can have a powerful impact on the way you feel, physically and mentally. For that reason, they’re best practiced alongside a facilitator. Take a class with Frequency – online or at its New York City dome dedicated to breathwork and sound healing sessions – for a guided experience intended to “release, reset, and restore through breath.”  

Try it in: Frequency, New York City

A Cacao ceremony at Center Of Joy in Las Catalinas | Courtesy of Center Of Joy

Central America: Cacao Ceremony

Chocolate may not be the first thing you associate with wellness but participating in a cacao ceremony might just change all your perceptions. This Mesoamerican medicinal ritual is designed to cultivate feelings of groundedness and interconnectedness, employing the plant’s gentle stimulating effects to open the heart. Try it at Center Of Joy in Las Catalinas, Costa Rica, where facilitator Marian Paniagua (who has the guidance and blessing of indigenous elders) uses ceremonial-grade cacao, sacred fire, and medicine songs to create “a direct connection with the consciousness of the earth, the spirit of the elements, and the powerful loving vibration of the human heart.”

Where to try it: Center Of Joy in Las Catalinas, Costa Rica

Lomi Lomi massage | courtesy of Ho’omana Spa, Maui

Hawaii: Lomi Lomi Massage

On first impressions, a Hawaiian Lomi Lomi massage has a lot in common with other bodywork techniques – its long, rhythmic strokes helping to realign the muscles and joints, improve circulation, and soothe the nervous system. But it’s the spiritual and energetic foundations of this ancient massage technique that make it so special. Thanks to the healing intention and dedicated loving touch provided by the Lomi Lomi therapist, you’ll leave feeling better on every level. 

Where to try it: Ho’omana Spa, Maui

A lucky snorkeler watching a MASSIVE fever of Mobula Rays glide past him during a trip with @bajarawtours. The Mobula migration is in full effect right now in Baja. Every year from April to June, you can witness huge congregations of these animals along the shores of the peninsula. It`s truly an incredible thing to see.

Reel: @wandering.westerner

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Quang Phu Cau Incense Village is a traditional craft village located in Quang Phu Cau Commune, Ung Hoa District, Hanoi, Vietnam. The village has a long-standing history of producing high-quality incense sticks, and it is considered one of the oldest and most famous incense-making villages in the country.

Reel: @travelmina_

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An English fairytale in Canterbury. A wonderful spot for a picnic especially when the sun is shining.

Reel: @pocketwanderings

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As the only Hindu region of the predominantly Islamic Indonesian archipelago, Bali is an island rich with festivals and spiritual rituals – many of which visitors are welcome to respectfully participate in. After rinsing yourself under the holy spring water which cascades through a series of waterspouts, you will emerge feeling cleansed in body and soul.

Reel: @lksjohan_ljc

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Our team & @sassafranski just finished a whirlwind road trip throughout the state of Kentucky visiting some of the best museums and cultural destinations in the state. Below are some of our favorites stops that should be on your list next time you visit.

Stop 1: @bluegrasshall
Stop 2: @owensboromuseumoffineart

Stop 3: Paducah Floodwall Murals
Stop 4: Guided Tour of Metropolitan Hotel

Stop 5: @downing_museum
Stop 6: Bowling Green Murals

Stop 7: @flame_run_gallery
Stop 8: @frazierhistorymuseum
Stop 9: @oldlouisvilleky Walking Tour
Stop 10: @speedartmuseum

Visit @kytourism for your next trip to the Bluegrass state! #TravelKY #partner

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A hidden gem in Saudi Arabia, AlUla is a place where ancient history meets modern luxury. Reel: @hobopeeba ...

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Welcome to Season 4 of The Trip That Changed Me! Our first guest of the new season is @lauriewoolever, writer, editor, public speaker, a graduate of the French Culinary Institute (now the International Culinary Center) in New York, and former assistant to @anthonybourdain, with whom she co-wrote several books.

In this episode, Laurie shares memories from Sri Lanka, where she joined Bourdain (or “Tony,” as she affectionately calls him) on a shoot for the TV show “Parts Unknown.” For Laurie, this trip was part business and part pleasure; an opportunity to explore the lush island nation with her friend and mentor while working on a story about Sri Lankan home cooking, but it was especially significant because she was newly sober. Navigating triggers and travel rituals that involved alcohol was challenging, but the experience shifted Laurie’s perspective. To her surprise, the world was bigger and better without the booze.

🎧 Link in bio to listen to an interview full of wonderful, personal anecdotes about Anthony Bourdain the traveler, plus loads of insider tips that food-obsessives will appreciate.

Cover Art: @nelsonknatalie

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This enormous staircase took 200 years to complete. With 691 steps, it has nine decorated levels with pyramids and statues called the Courtvard of the Kings. It crosses the hill to reach the Santuário Nossa Senhora dos Remédios.

Reel: @bokehm0n

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Morning swim @borgobastiacreti

Reel: @victorsfitz

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Surround yourself in a picturesque scenery of cherry blossoms, tulips, pansy, viola and more at the rainbow colored flower field at Hinoyama Koen Park.

Reel: @1min.traveller

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Town between the mountains 🌊

The settlement of Ponta do Sol was founded around 1425, shortly after the discovery of the island by Portuguese settlers coming from Minho, the Beiras and the Algarve.

Reel: @ilya.somewhere

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From the picturesque canals of Friesland to breathtaking Flevoland, and the stunning Weerribben-Wieden National Park, there`s so much to explore in The Netherlands.

Reel: @kuhrmarvin

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Known for its colorful houses built on steep cliffs overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea, Positano is a small town located on the Amalfi Coast in southern Italy. Some people might consider it overrated because of its popularity and high prices. However, others might argue that its beauty and charm are worth the cost and crowds. Tell us, what do you think about Positano as a summer destination?

Reel: @rflcpl

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