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Travel Your Way To Better Health

Take your love of travel and combine it with a wellness goal – these five types of personal improvement getaways will have you coming home a better you…

By Karen Kwan

One of the biggest trends in travel is the shift towards bettering your personal well-being, both mental and physical, while on your vacation. Travel experts trace the popularity of this type of travel to the pandemic; our health became a first concern in the past few years and we continue to make self-care habits and longevity a non-negotiable. This is in contrast to pre-pandemic times, when caring for your health often got pushed down the list of priorities. 

Looking for a wellness getaway for yourself? From improving your sleep to dabbling with psychedelics, there’s truly something for everyone.

Sleep retreats

If you’ve been suffering from insomnia, get your bleary-eyed self to a sleep retreat to say goodbye to restless nights spent tossing and turning. These retreats are focused on finding the root of your sleep issues and developing habits to help you get a solid night of zzzs. Typically, you’ll consult with a sleep expert and also take part in fitness programs, meditation and sound baths, all while dining on a menu featuring sleep-promoting ingredients. At Rogaška Slatina in Slovenia, much of the program is centred on the area’s healing high-magnesium water – you’ll not only partake in thermal treatments in this water but also drink it in prescribed quantities.

Silent retreats

Meant to allow you to further develop your mindfulness practice, silent retreats involve escaping to a space away from everyday life where you can sit in silence and focus on the present moment, and also take part in gentle movement and meditations. The experience is meant to be restorative, allowing you time to look inward. At the Silent Stay Meditation Center in Montecito, Calif., you’ll take part in sitting and group meditations, practise yoga, journal and hike the property’s lush green grounds. 

Psychedelic retreats

You can find retreats centred on microdosing psychedelics in a safe environment while guided by doctors and experts in places like Costa Rica, Jamaica and Mexico (where many of these substances are legal). The experience is said to be transformative and is aimed at bringing you back into alignment. At Ayahuasca Retreats at Soltara Healing Center in Costa Rica, your all-inclusive stay includes a number of ayahuasca ceremonies led by native Shipibo healers. In Canada, at Dimensions Retreats in the Algonquin Highlands in Ontario, you’ll dive into using plant medicine to assist with therapy to treat everything from anxiety to addictions with a program that includes a range of immersive experiences including bodywork treatments (think reiki, cranial sacral therapy, acupuncture and more), BioSound or flotation therapy and breathwork.

Sexual retreats

Intimacy or sexual retreats allow you to get away from the everyday stresses of life at home and enjoy quality time with your partner. Programming differs from retreat to retreat, but you may find yourself learning about erotic massage, having open discussions about desire and boundaries, taking part in couples therapy sessions, practising yoga and breathwork, and simply enjoying some R&R. At Kim Anami Retreats, which are held in Bali and Mexico, you may even get a surprise delivery of sex toys or aphrodisiac truffles delivered to your room.

Blue Zones-inspired retreats

Thanks to humankind’s ongoing quest for longevity, and perhaps stoked by research on the five Blue Zones (a.k.a. places where people live longer than average) – not to mention the Netflix series on these areas – you can now book getaways that incorporate the Blue Zones lifestyle. At Kamalaya in Koh Samui, Thailand, for example, you’ll eat plant-forward meals inspired by the traditional diets of the Blue Zones while also practising the lifestyle habits of Blue Zones residents during your retreat.


KAREN KWAN is a freelance health, travel and lifestyle writer based in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter @healthswellness and on Instagram @healthandswellness.

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