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

Sunsets in Göreme, Cappadocia, Turkey offer a mesmerizing sight with vibrant colors against the backdrop of fairy chimneys and rock formations. It`s a serene and unforgettable experience, perfect for capturing stunning photographs and enjoying the natural beauty of the region.

Reel : @adrianbaias

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Vietnam is a stunning blend of natural beauty and cultural richness. From the lush rice terraces to the serene waters of Ha Long Bay, its landscapes are captivating. The warmth and resilience of its people add a unique charm, whether in bustling cities like Hanoi or historic sites like Hue. Vietnam offers a profound experience that merges breathtaking scenery with a vibrant local culture, leaving visitors enchanted and inspired.

Reel: @zayyarlin84

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Explore Madeira`s stunning coastline: rugged cliffs, volcanic formations like Ponta de São Lourenço, and charming fishing villages like Funchal. Discover the natural beauty and vibrant culture of this Portuguese gem!

Reel: @andrechaica

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Elevate your date night at The Venetian Resort Las Vegas! Start with a meal at one of the property`s 40+ restaurants, then head to the stunning new High-Limit Gaming Lounge in The Palazzo. Whether you`re spinning the slots or going all-in at the tables, you`re in for an unforgettable experience. Ready to get lucky? Link in bio! ...

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The pool at @krallerhof is an elegant and inviting oasis, nestled within the beautiful surroundings of the Austrian Alps. It offers a serene retreat for guests to relax and unwind, with both indoor and outdoor options available. The pool area is meticulously maintained and features luxurious amenities, providing a tranquil escape for visitors to enjoy during their stay.

Reel: @nichodebiasio

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Point Reyes: A coastal gem with diverse landscapes, wildlife, and stunning views. Perfect for hiking, beachcombing, and stargazing.

Reel: @tylerwayneglass

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The Busan Air Cruise, also known as the Sky Capsule Train, is a popular attraction in Busan, South Korea. This unique train ride takes passengers on a journey above the city, providing stunning panoramic views of Busan`s coastline, mountains, and urban landscape. The futuristic capsule-shaped cabins offer a comfortable and immersive experience, making it a must-try activity for visitors exploring Busan.

Reel: @belet_ryu

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"Checking into Estelle Manor, the closest thing to a Saltburn-esque staycation you`ll ever experience in the UK. Imagine a beautifully restored Jacobean manor on the cusp of the Cotswolds and nestled within 3,000 acres of Oxfordshire parkland, with extravagant interiors to match (expect bold artworks and intricate details around each corner), a Riviera-style pool to lounge by, and three different restaurant to sink your teeth into. The addition of the hotel`s new Eynsham Baths (an incredible spa modelled on traditional Roman baths) really takes the hotel up another notch, despite it already being in a league of its own." - @ginagoesto ...

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A scenic coastal drive in Africa.

Reel: @joshstrauss_

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At The Venetian Resort Las Vegas, HaSalon is the spot for upscale, experiential dining. With an energetic atmosphere, exceptional service, and the freshest eats, HaSalon nails high-end, upbeat interactive dining. ...

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Atlantis Ibiza: Famous for its cliffs and coves, perfect for adventurous activities like cliff diving and snorkeling.

Reel: @saltinourhair

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