Beyond a Spa: Seven Places to Begin Your Wellness Journey in the US
By Janine Devine
Who doesn’t love a spa?
Most hotels today –- new and old — have spas. They’re no longer just a treat available at the Four Seasons. Spas are as commonplace as speedy Wi-Fi and swimming pools.
Originally the word came from the Latin, Sanus Per Aquam, or Health Through Water. Physical health and water are no longer core concepts attached to spas. Instead, we think of spas for relaxation, rejuvenation, or beautification.
The “new normal” has us thinking about our new goals. After the last two years, we’ve had, we deserve to visit the best wellness retreats in the world for our next trip!
We can break these goals down to
→ Detox and dietary regimens tailored to body type or genetics for nutrition
→ Movement for increased energy, muscle toning, and strengthening
→ Mental work for mindfulness and emotional wellness
Pamper yourself with luxe spa treatments as a rejuvenating reward for embarking on the road to wellness.
All work and no play make health very boring!
You don’t have to go to farfetched Mediterranean locales or even the Caribbean either. Some of the best wellness retreats in the world are in the continental U.S.
Don’t worry! You won’t be missing out. The diverse wellness experiences here will rival many of the legendary spas like Aro Ha in New Zealand, Sha Wellness Clinic in Alicante, Spain, Bodyholiday in St. Lucia, and others across Europe, Thailand, or India.
For now, you don’t need your passport to take restorative getaways at these seven retreats.
Tucson, Arizona; Lenox, Massachusetts, & Woodside, California.
Canyon Ranch in Tucson opened its doors in 1979. The brand’s world-class reputation is a testament to its value.
There are a vast array of activities: daily yoga, hiking, and biking. They all reinforce their holistic approach to optimal mind, body, and spirit health. There’s ample variety, compared to your usual yoga retreat.
Find support from board-certified physicians for almost any need. The range of therapies here is staggering.
You’ll find practitioners in Reiki, sleep analysis, craniosacral therapy, and traditional Chinese medicine including acupuncture. Some cost extra.
All-inclusive prices for a week start at $8,000. They include all-you-can-eat dining and gratuities. No alcohol is served here.
Hippocrates Health Institute
West Palm Beach, Florida
Hippocrates Health Institute features immersive three-week programs for health transformation. After, their education lets you take responsibility for your own health. It’s the heat and palm trees of Como Shambhala in Bali without that flight!
In this wellness center, private and group training sessions focus on rejuvenation, detox (including colon hydrotherapy), juicing, and the healing power of enzymes from “live” or raw vegan foods.
The Institute offers free phone consultations to help determine if it’s right for you. The onsite spa features typical nail, hair, and skin services with organic products. In addition, they have IV or platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapies, and cryo skin slimming treatments supervised by medical professionals.
Still, this is a wheatgrass-growing boot camp! No glamor here with dormitory accommodations. Although some hotel-style guestrooms have recently been added.
Pricing starts at $7,000 for the three weeks, dependent on accommodations.
Lake Austin Spa Resort
Only a 30-minute scenic water taxi ride from Austin in the Texas Hill Country, the Lake Austin Spa Resort is a destination spa honoring the ancient acronym of SPA.
You’ll discover the healing properties of water here with the lake and surrounding gardens. They provide a vista for relaxation and a venue for fun like kayaking. Their Full Moon Paddle & Prosecco is high on my list!
There are also swimming pools for therapy like gentle aqua stretching with myofascial release and the more vigorous aqua Tabata resistance training. Water infuses the spa treatments here, too. There’s floating meditation and classic ayurvedic treatments. You’ll find standard meditation, pilates, and yoga classes and feast on conscientious cuisine. Then, bring the concept back home with their cooking classes for some Michelin-starred style flair right at home.
Duos, like mothers and daughters, are especially welcomed. Husbands and wives can renew vows and rediscover their relationships.
Prices start at $1200 per room, per night, including all meals for two persons.
Tuscon, Arizona, Lenox Massachusetts, & Austin, Texas
Miraval might at first glance seem like it competes with other wellness resorts, but it operates in a league of its own.
Smaller and more intimate, Miraval focuses more on spiritual wellbeing and mindfulness. Miraval’s Equine Therapy is a popular (and unique) highlight. It’s not merely horseback riding. Instead, you and the horse move around the pen, communicating and collaborating.
Combine that with the balancing properties of Ayurveda, the Indian science of self-healing. Practitioners here run the gamut from dieticians, physiotherapists, yogis, and counselors to shamanaic healers, curanderas, and dream specialists.
Prices start at $1,000 per person, per night. Prices include food; wine is available but at an extra cost.
Pritikin Longevity Center & Spa
Pritikin is a plush resort with a world-class, clinical name. Likely it’s the only one on our list with a traditional medical program that Medicare will partially cover.
One or two-week programs led by medical doctors aid in weight reduction, help you manage diabetes or metabolic syndrome and lower lipids and blood pressure to protect your heart health.
The personalized regimens also include fitness classes, which are undoubtedly easier in a lavish resort setting just a few minutes outside of Miami. They provide golfers access to the region’s famed links courses. Healthy bodies also require healthy minds, and Pritikin offers behavioral change programs for guests and their families to optimize continued adherence at home.
A standard one-week, all-inclusive couple’s package starts at around $4,200 per person.
The Ranch Malibu
Set high in the Santa Monica Hills, The Ranch is a serious boot camp with a gorgeous view. Your detox journey begins long before you even get here with the Ranch’s elimination diet. Alcohol, caffeine, dairy, sugar, and artificial sweeteners at banned for 30 days so you can avoid potential discomfort when you detox at the Ranch.
With a repeat guest factor of 50%, the numbers speak for themselves.
Rates for a one-week stay start at $8,200 which include meals, activities, elective nutrition talks, access to the cryotherapy sauna, private accommodations, and a daily massage.
Ten Thousand Waves
Santa Fe, New Mexico
This 20-acre estate brings the hot springs of Japan and Iceland to the US. Known traditionally for treating skin, muscle, and joint conditions, the hot waters are naturally soothing.
Inspired by Japanese onsen, Ten Thousand Waves offers both communal and private hot tubs. Unwind with a soak. Tubs can be for day use, but one of the retreats’ highlights is Ryokan-style guestrooms.
Spa services include massage: true Japanese Shiatsu, Cannabliss with CBD, and Ketamine Therapy. Yep, you read that correctly.
Diet food is not on the menu here. Izanami, their izakaya-style small plate restaurant, is the area’s best Japanese restaurant. The artisan sake list is extensive.
Pricing was not available; there is a two-night minimum stay.
Start at One of the Best Wellness Retreats in the World
Taking the first step on a wellness program is daunting, but it is just a step leading to a series of others. Take one day at a time.
To make life changes, you need to accept the connection of your mind, body, and spirit. Each of the seven retreats here above is as unique as you are. Perhaps only one will be right for you. You might even love them all!
The first step is to book a stay!