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Five must-try holiday activities with a wellness twist

After so much time spent at home, it’s important that your next holiday makes you feel fantastic. So rather than sticking with what you know, why not treat yourself to something new? To get you started, wellness industry expert Sarah Greenidge has curated five revamped classic holiday activities to ensure your next trip restores mind, body and soul


Instead of: scuba diving
Try: underwater breath work

Scuba lovers will get a kick out of this new underwater programme by the team at Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort in St Lucia. Designed to harness the power of breathwork through multiple breathing exercises and controlled yoga positions held under water, the programme enhances even experienced divers’ time beneath the surface. Starting at sunrise in calm and tranquil waters, its participants can expect to feel such benefits as a slower heart rate, lower blood pressure and an intense feeling of calm – as well as an overall reduction in stress and anxiety.

Take off to St Lucia

Instead of: a whirlpool bath
Try: a hay bath

Just 20 minutes from Innsbruck lies the Wellnesshotel Schönruh, a comprehensive hotel and spa offering an age-old boosting ritual that can’t be missed. Swap the noisy, cramped surroundings of a whirlpool bath for the ancient tradition of ‘hay bathing’, a practice that dates back more than 200 years. Established by local farmers who realised hay was a source of pain relief and an energiser for the body, the therapy sees guests strip bare and get wrapped in multiple layers of pre-boiled mountain grass. The process not only provides a meditative experience, but also open pores and stimulates the metabolism.

Take off to Innsbruck

Instead of: horse riding
Try: swimming with horses

Whether it’s pony-trekking in Iceland or horseback tours in New Zealand, riding remains a popular holiday pastime. At the award-winning Nihi Sumba hotel (a short 50 minute flight from Bali), equestrian experiences are a crucial offering, with guests encouraged to enjoy the therapeutic benefits of time spent with gentle steeds. Nihi’s horse whisperer Carol Sharpe helps visitors to channel the calm needed to handle horses by softening their steps and absorbing the creatures’ soothing nature. Once checked in, guests are invited to partner with a horse that has been personality-matched, who will then join them on the beach for play and riding weightlessly in the ocean.

Take off to Indonesia

Instead of: sauna sessions
Try: salt room therapy 

Before opting for another day pass at a spa, consider stopping by Montauk Salt Cave in Downtown New York. Surrounded by more than six tonnes of Himalayan salt, guests undergo ‘salt therapy’ – an alternative treatment that involves breathing salty air while sitting on hand-carved salt thrones. This ancient procedure from Europe has been shown to improve skin conditions such as rosacea, psoriasis and acne, as well as respiratory conditions such as asthma, coughs and colds. It’s a natural therapy that creates a feeling of peace and serenity while simply breathing.

Take off to New York

Instead of: hiking
Try: forest bathing

Those who enjoy a holiday hike may be familiar with the tendency to forget about their surroundings, instead focusing on the route, obstacles and logistics of the activity. Luckily ‘forest bathing’ (shinrin-yoku in the original Japanese) is here to help. These sensory hikes mindfully focus on the air we breathe, consciously inhaling phytoncides given off by certain trees and reaping their benefits. Proven results see a reduction in stress as well as a lower heart rate and blood pressure. Vale de Moses, tucked deep in the woods of central Portugal, offers retreats specialising in forest bathing, yoga classes, massage therapy and vegan dining, culminating in the ultimate mindful escape.

Take off to Lisbon