Wellness and self-care have been a priority in the Nordics for hundreds of years. Even the Vikings enjoyed soothing steam baths and saunas. Offering the chance to unwind and de-stress, it’s no wonder these Nordic spa traditions have become popular around the world.
A weekend in FINLAND’S Lakeland. (2019, May 02). Retrieved April 19, 2021, from https://thebrittainsarecoming.com/2017/12/12/a-weekend-in-finlands-lakeland/
Yes, you read that right! Voluntarily dipping into ice-cold winter waters might seem crazy, but a growing amount of people around the world swear by this ritual. Many people experience that cold water is a way to reset the mind and energize the body. Many regular cold water swimmers have managed to increase both their life expectancy and overall quality of life as it boosts your immune system, enhances your circulation, and reduces stress. Cold swimming also gives you an endorphin high as it brings us close to the pain barrier and endorphins are released when we’re in pain to help us cope. Who can say no to a few extra endorphins?
Lastly, and maybe most importantly, it’s a great exercise to do with your community. Most people practice it in designated clubs or groups where people say they experience a great sense of community. Besides, it’s a great way to make sure the activity is done safely!
Mobile Banya in Russia. (2010, January 11). Retrieved April 20, 2021, from http://www.odditycentral.com/pics/russian-entrepreneurs-mobile-sauna.html
When talking about cold water swimming, you can’t avoid talking about saunas. While saunas are popular all over the nordic countries, the Finns take the cake. It’s estimated that there are around 2 million saunas in Finland alone – that’s one sauna for every 2 persons! The practice is said to not only be relaxing but can also help with sleep and pain relief. You may also see birch twigs called “vihta”. You use these birch branches to massage yourself, gently hitting your back and limbs to increase circulation. Most commonly a sauna session is done in periods of about 15 minutes, and that is when the true Nordics will use the breaks in between to roll in the snow or jump into the cold water!
SAREK National park. (n.d.). Retrieved April 21, 2021, from https://www.nationalparksofsweden.se/choose-park—list/sarek-national-park/visitor-information/getting-here/
Walking in nature, Friluftsliv
The Nordic countries are home to beautiful landscapes and rich nature. For most Scandinavians, nature is right around the corner, and people take advantage of it. The practice of getting out into the wild, breathing in the fresh air, and enjoying views of natural landscapes. This can mean anything from hiking in Sarek National Park, riverside fishing, or sleeping under the open sky (ideally in one of Lapland’s glass igloos). Being in the great outdoors is also reported to have physiological and psychological benefits such as better recall of memories, increased energy, and a healthier heart. For many Nordics, being in contact with nature is an essential part of living. The term “Friluftsliv”, which means the same in Swedish, Norwegian AND Danish, explains it all, the combination of free, air, and life is what it’s all about.
Spy, P., & Spy, P. (2013, June 13). What is Swedish massage? Retrieved April 19, 2021, from https://goodspaguide.co.uk/features/swedish-massage
Swedish massages are seen in spas all over the world, but of course, as the name would suggest it has its roots in Sweden. The massage is a certain technique developed by Swedish Dr Per Henrik Ling that is designed to help soothe your muscles and improve your blood and lymphatic circulation. The techniques consist of long relaxing strokes which can help achieve deep relaxation. Its the perfect way to relieve stress and tense muscles
Lally, M. (2016, August 27). Say Hello To Hygge: The Danish secret to happiness. Retrieved April 19, 2021, from https://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/life/say-hello-to-hygge-the-danish-secret-to-happiness/
“Hygge” is an essential word in the vocabulary of any Dane. The word encapsulates the essence of Danish culture and might be the reason that Denmark is currently the second happiest country in the world (at least according to the World Happiness Report). So what is hygge? The word does not have an English translation, but the closest to a definition is perhaps quality time. It is that good feeling of being with friends or family or even yourself. The word is a celebration of the calm and happiness one feels in the situation. So if there is anything to learn from the Danes it’s hygge. It is recognizing those moments, living in the now, and having an appreciation for the simpler things.
Blue Lagoon in Iceland [Photograph]. @$uaucyMuva.We Heart It. https://weheartit.com/entry/313965022
Geothermal Spas, Iceland
If you ever find yourself in Iceland, a must-visit is a geothermal spa. Iceland’s volcanic nature has created its beautiful landscapes of mountains, lava fields, countless craters, and many other features. However amazingly the heat of the earth also creates grand pools of heated water. Visiting one of these pools can be a rejuvenating and unique experience. Of course, you can choose to try and visit one of these geothermal pools in the wild, but Iceland also hosts a great variety of luxury geothermal spas. among these are the blue lagoon, the Fontana Spa or the exclusive Retreat Spa.