Sometimes, old is gold, and in the case of health and wellness, ancient holistic healing traditions the likes of hydrotherapy are just as relevant today as they were thousands of years ago.
In fact, in an age where people are increasingly prioritising money, power and success over one’s well-being, the holistic approach to health and wellness may well point the way forward for those seeking a happier life. Perhaps we should take our cue from the ancient Greeks – the likes of philosophers Plato, Hippocrates, Socrates and Aristotle – who saw the mind, body and soul as one entity, and posit that the needs of the body and those of the soul should be treated similarly.
So before we stride into the second half of the year, take a step back to refocus and recharge. Chances are, you’ll see improvements in all aspects of your life – health, work, family, relationships. And rather than trying to keep up with fad treatments, pare back and revisit the simplicity of old healing traditions at these luxurious spas in Greece, which work towards a complete healing of the mind, body and soul with systems that marry the best of the old with the best of the new.
Embark on a personal transformation journey at the holistic Euphoria Retreat spa-hotel located in the lush mountainside of the west coast of Peloponnese. At the heart of the 3,000sqm complex is the four-storey Spa with stunning spaces and facilities designed to not just pamper the body – think a relaxing Sphere Pool with spherical walls lined with hydrotherapy jets and the beautiful marble Byzantine Hamman – but also soothe the mind.
Anchored by a healing philosophy, it offers a range of wellness treatments and programmes based on Greek and Chinese medicine. Its 50-minute Signature Five Elements Balancing Treatment, for instance, is rooted in the Five Elements Theory found in both ancient Greek and traditional Chinese medicine, which asserts that the human body is made up of five cosmic energies or “elements” (wood, fire, water, metal and earth) that are in constant interaction with one another; only when these forces are in harmony can one attain total well-being. Accordingly, therapists work on balancing them through different bodywork techniques, rhythms and pressures.
Canaves Oia Spa
No stay at the Canaves Oia luxury resorts in Santorini is complete without an hour or two spent luxuriating at the Canaves Oia Spa, a charming, cosy space converted from a 17th-century cave used to house wines. The select treatments here range from traditional Greek ones, such as the 60-minute Raw Honey Massage that helps to improve circulation as well as remove toxins from the body, to more unique ones such as traditional Arabian rasul thermal mud treatments the likes of the Terra Sigillata therapy (45 minutes), where three freshly prepared mineral muds, each with its own unique skincare properties, are slathered on the face and body and left to work their magic while the room fills with steam scented with herbs, which serves the dual purpose of drawing out impurities and relaxing your mind.
Myrthia Thermal Spa
Overlooking the Aegean Sea, Myrthia Thermal Spa in Miraggio Thermal Spa Resort focuses on the ancient Greek art of water healing using natural seawater as well as its own natural thermal spring water. Direct from the sea and warmed to 32°C, seawater fills two thalassotherapy pools – a large indoor one and another that extends into an outdoor infinity pool. There are also three natural thermal pools with geothermal water at different temperatures to stimulate the lymphatic system as well as soothe tired muscles. A wide range of facial treatments and ancient Greek therapies are also available, such as the Olympian Athletic massage (50 to 90 minutes), which follows the traditional therapeutic approach ancient therapists used on Olympic athletes. Many of the rejuvenating treatments here also use natural Greek products such as olive oil, honey and milk.
“Anazoe” is the Greek word for rejuvenation and Anazoe Spa, spanning 4,000sqm in the Costa Navarino complex in Messenia, the Peloponnese region, is dedicated to this sole purpose. The spa is known for its Oleotherapy Signature Treatments, which use what Hippocrates called “the great therapeutic”: olive oil. Based on the inscriptions of ancient local practices on clay tablets discovered at the Palace of Nestor, these build on ancient health and beauty knowledge while incorporating modern technology. The 50-minute Nestor’s Baths, for instance, was inspired by Nestor’s palace and the ancient tradition of welcoming guests with a bathing ritual. With this treatment, you get to relax in an aromatherapy-infused sauna and steam session before indulging in a hydromassage in a customised therapeutic bath. Another popular treatment is the 80-minute detoxifying Oleotherapy Trilogy, which begins with an olive-oil-based body wrap followed by a hydromassage in an herb bath, and ends with a massage using a nourishing cream mixed with the spa’s signature detoxifying oil. In line with the Greek belief in the ability of music to heal the body and soul, all treatments are accompanied by soothing music based on ancient Greek modes and scale