Loren Christie on health and wellness vacations in Canada
Published Friday, November 16, 2012 10:44AM EST
Last Updated Thursday, November 29, 2012 2:17PM EST
Ever wondered what 110 Celsius feels like? Probably not. But it turns out, that in addition to just being plain freezing, exposure to the extreme cold temperatures is a recommended way to treat sports injuries and manage joint and body pain. Known as cryotherapy, this popular European wellness treatment has found its way to Canada.
The first cryotherapy chamber in North America was installed at a cost of $600,000 into to the Sparkling Hill Resort’s KurSpa in B.C.. At forty thousand square feet the spa is the largest in Canada. In addition to cryotherapy there are numerous leading-edge treatments offered here. There are a variety of baths, saunas and steam rooms available at no additional charge to add to the experience. Worth noting is the European Happy Hour, otherwise known asClothing Optional Hour, from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. daily in the steam and sauna area.
Located approximately 30 minutes from Kelowna, the Sparkling Hill Resort is a destination unto itself. Check out the thousands of Swarovski crystals embedded into every nook and cranny of the resort. I particularly liked the crystal fireplaces in the guestrooms.
As for the cryotherapy, I did feel a major adrenaline rush when I walked out after my treatment, but they say you need 10 treatments before you have any really noticeable effect. Cost is $40 for one treatment or $300 for a package of 10.
Some other great destination spas across Canada:
Ancient Cedars Spa at the Wickaninnish Inn in Tofino, B.C. has won the title of Top Resort Spa in Canada from the readers of Condé Nast Traveler Magazinefor the last two years. The spa’s team of internationally-trained practitioners and staff incorporate elements of the Inn’s natural West Coast surroundings into a slate of signature treatments. When I was there I tried out the Hishuk Ish Tswalktreatment based on the natural cleansing ceremonies of the West Coast First Nations.
I had the best massage of my life at the Willow Stream Spa at The Fairmont Banff Springs in Alberta. Reminiscent of the hot springs that beckoned travellers more than 100 years ago, the highlight is the pulsating waterfalls and the mineral pool in the heart of the spa, which rejuvenate tired muscles and soothe troubled spirits.
Ste. Anne’s Spa in Ontario was voted Canada’s favourite spa from 2006 to 2012 by SpaFinder readers. Located in Grafton, an hour drive east of Toronto, the Main Inn and Ontario spa cottages are situated over 400 acres of scenic rolling countryside. The Main Inn is a beautiful historic stone building where more than 35 spa treatments are available to guests. Other amenities include a seasonal pool and tennis courts, steam room, quiet lounge areas, miles of walking trails and fitness classes. Dining is also a delight with Chef Christopher Ennew preparing fresh meals and seasonally changing menus.
White Point Beach Resort, located on Nova Scotia’s South Shore, just re-opened their main lodge last week 362 days after a fire destroyed the original lodge last November. Guests can get revitalized and rejuvenated at White Point’s Ocean Spa, featuring many treatments inspired by the resort’s ocean-front location.