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The pool at Calistoga Spa Hot Springs in California's Napa Valley. Photo from Calistoga Spa Hot Springs.

The pool at Calistoga Spa Hot Springs in California’s Napa Valley. Photo from Calistoga Spa Hot Springs.

As we get older (yeah, I know, who wants to be reminded of that?), we need to focus more on our health: eating better, staying active, perhaps taking brisk morning walks or gardening.

I also ride an exercycle, handy for winter days in New York when I can’t ride my bike outdoors.

But travel can also play a big role. Wellness retreats, for instance, allow you to get away from your usual daily activities and focus on renewing your health.

Wellness retreats offer a wide variety of services to rejuvenate your mind and body. Most options are relatively inexpensive and provide an all-new way of relieving mental and physical stress.

From centers in the U.S. and abroad, you can find the ideal retreat to suit your needs — and your budget.

These specialty vacations typically center around a resort spa. They can involve anything from fitness, to acupuncture, to hot springs or even detox centers.

Below are some options for you to break up your routine and seek out some R&R.

Hot springs

If you’re looking for an unusual way to rejuvenate your mind and body, visit a hot spring.

At the Calistoga Spa Hot Springs hotel in the Napa Valley, California, where rates start at $197 per night, take a dip in the geothermally heated mineral pool where temperatures range from 80 to 104 degrees. Slipping into one of these special types of pools can have physical healing properties, kind of like soaking in a hot tub but with even greater effect.

A soak in a mineral pool relaxes your mind, relieving unnecessary stress and tension. Heat is also good for alleviating chronic aches and pains.

Adventurous spas

For those who are into being active, you can take the adventurous route and seek out the New Life Hiking Spa, located in Killington, Vermont.

The New Life Hiking Spa in Killington, Vermont. Photo from New Life Hiking Spa.

The New Life Hiking Spa in Killington, Vermont. Photo from New Life Hiking Spa.

Since physical activity can be a a great stress reliever, why not take the time to hike or practice yoga, one of the most notable methods of relaxation? Group fitness activities are offered as well, providing you the opportunity to make new connections with like-minded individuals.

For $259 per night, you can get all of the above, including healthy meals.

UK calling

You can also seek out wellness retreats in your foreign travels — they’re located around the world, from Costa Rica to Thailand, Spain to Oman.

Lifehouse in the United Kingdom, said to be the UK’s first real wellness retreat,  offers acupuncture and cranio-sacral therapy (yes, I had to look it up), said to gently heal the body from the inside out, deeply relieving body pain.

Spiritual and psychic healing are also offered, if you’re into that. A two-night stay including train transfers, class access and meals start at $491 per person..

Detox, anyone?

If you’re looking for a detox center, prepare to spend some serious cash.

The Annapurna Center for Self-Healing in Port Townsend, Washington,  provides gallbladder and liver flushing starting at $1,500 per person.

You can also try reflexology — massage that releases tension and treats illness using reflex points in the hands, feet and head —  for $95 an hour. An hour and  a half of therapeutic massage is offered at the same rate.

The bottom line: Spending some time in a wellness retreat can get you started on a more healthy lifestyle, but then you need to follow up when you get back home.

Meanwhile, though, you’ve had a good vacation, and that alone can be good for your health.


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According to government and private surveys:

  • Leading-edge baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1955) and seniors account for four out of every five dollars spent on luxury travel today.
  • Roughly half the consumer spending money in the U.S.--more than $2 trillion--is in the hands of leading-edge baby boomers and seniors.
  • Baby boomers (born 1946-1964) travel more than any other age group.
  • When asked what they would most like to spend their money on, baby boomers answered “travel” more than any other category, including improving their health or finances.

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