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Top wellness trends for 2024

Refresh your mind and body with these trending spa experiences around the globe.

By Shayla Martin | March 13, 2024

Self-care was once seen as just relaxing in the tub with a face mask or hitting your local spa for a relaxing massage. Now, it has evolved into a wellness practice of mind, body and soul. Travelers are seeking wellness treatments, too, like culturally inspired experiences, connection with nature, mindfulness, better sleep and even treatments that help them heal from grief and trauma. Spas around the world have noticed the trend and tailored their offerings accordingly. Here are five wellness experiences to add to your calendar this year.

Head spas

Our scalps are probably one of the most overlooked places on our bodies, yet so many of us aspire for healthy, luxurious hair. If that’s you, then look no further than a head spa, where traditional Japanese techniques focus on treatments from the neck up, including scalp and hair care that offer both deep relaxation and cosmetic benefits like dandruff reduction and hair growth. At The Scalp Spa in Sydney, Australia, the team offers Scalpcials, a facial for your scalp personally tailored for your unique skin and hair type. First, your aesthetician conducts a visual assessment of your scalp to identify any issues or address concerns you may have. It’s then followed by a treatment that frees hair follicles of oil and buildup before a relaxing wash, hair mask and scalp massage. The extended 90-minute option includes the above plus a facial with exfoliation, hydration and a neck and shoulder massage.

Healing crystals

If you’re looking to bring more balance into your life, adding a healing crystal or semi-precious stone can take your spa treatment to the next level. Often placed along the body’s seven chakras or energy centers, crystals can bring more alignment to emotions and help clear negative energy from the body. Popular crystals like amethyst (a stress-soother), rose quartz (a heart-healing stone) and obsidian (a grounding and rebalancing stone) offer another level of restoration after a traditional massage or reiki treatment. At Waldorf Astoria Spa Cancun, treatments celebrate Indigenous Mayan culture and focus on holistic wellbeing by utilizing local oils, fresh herbs from the onsite garden and healing crystals, including white howlite, rose quartz and scolesite.

Ice baths and cold plunges

Cold therapy is the type of wellness treatment that offers both mental and physical benefits, but treatments like cryotherapy, where you spend three to five minutes in a booth of liquid nitrogen at freezing or near-freezing temperatures, can be expensive and hard to find. Meanwhile, ice bathing and cold plunges offer similar benefits and are much more accessible. All you need is a frozen body of water where you can take a quick dip, or tons of ice and a bathtub. Benefits range from improving immune function and mental clarity to reducing muscle soreness after a tough workout, increasing circulation and decreasing inflammation. At Scandinave Spa in Montreal, the Thermal Journey embraces a hot and cold circuit: 15 minutes in the dry sauna followed by an as-long-as-you-can-stand-it dip in the cold plunge pool, then 15 minutes in the relaxation room while cocooned on a soft pod in a plush robe.

LED Light Therapy

If you’re looking for long-lasting effects for your next facial treatment, LED light therapy is the way to go. Light therapy works at the cellular level by promoting tissue and cell growth, as well as treating a variety of issues like sun damage, mild to moderate acne and the appearance of wrinkles. Red LED light therapy is the most popular as it reduces inflammation and generates collagen production for younger-looking skin, but each color has its own specific benefit. Blue LED, for example, destroys acne-causing bacteria, while green LED reduces pigmentation. The Harrogate Spa at DoubleTree by Hilton Harrogate Majestic Hotel & Spa features a LED + Nano-Dermabrasion Facial Treatment: a nutrient rich facial followed by wearable Boost LED devices on both the face and decolletage designed to plump and hydrate skin for a glowing complexion.

Grief recovery retreats

Grief is a common denominator in the human experience, whether you’re struggling with the loss of a loved one, a career or even a sense of self. Although talk therapy is a wonderful way to maintain a sense of groundedness through all of the curve balls of life, sometimes you need to get away from it all and give your grief, anxiety and stress some focused love and attention. This is where grief retreats come in. Gaining in popularity, these are wellness spaces designed to help you navigate life’s toughest transitions. The New Life Portugal wellness center offers a 28-night grief recovery retreat filled with counseling, meditation, yoga and group discussions all surrounded by the lush vegetation of Serra da Estrela Natural Park for the ultimate decompression.

Whether you want to give your body some well-earned TLC or plan to embark on a transformative overall wellness journey, these trending treatments are sure to get you on the right path.

Shayla Martin is an award-winning travel and culture journalist based in Washington, D.C. Find her work in outlets including The New York Times, Architectural Digest, Coastal Living, Hemispheres, Veranda Magazine and many more. She specializes in content about Black history and culture, luxury travel, historic preservation, wellness, interior design and personal narrative topics. She is also the founder of The Road We Trod, a bi-weekly newsletter that explores travel destinations through the Black gaze.

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