Got the winter blahs? With the hustle and bustle of the holidays, family visits, school break, and parties it’s easy to take care of everyone else and forget about yourself. Even those who love shopping, hosting, visiting, and gifting with their whole souls can get frazzled trying to fit it all together. Throw in some rich food, perhaps a few cocktails, cold weather, and a lack of sunshine, and you’ve got a perfect recipe for burnout.
Treat yourself right, and put a holiday healing break on your schedule. Your routine will still be there when you get back, but you’ll be facing it from a calm, refreshed perspective. And with the nagging aches gone, you’ll be energized for another round with the world in all its glorious folly. One of these laid-back relaxation modalities might even feel so good you decide to make it part of your regular routine.
Here are some wonderful antidotes to the sensory overload of modern life.
Thai massage, also known as Thai yoga massage, is a technique blending Ayurvedic principles, acupressure, and assisted yoga poses, with roots going back some 2,500 years. The massage takes place on a floor mat, fully clothed, where an instructor guides your body into positions that lengthen and realign. By the end of the session, every muscle in your body will have been stretched. Bodyworker and licensed massage therapist Diana Seiler, proprietor of Hudson Valley Thai Massage,
has been studying the method for a decade and practices at both the Omega Wellness Center
in Rhinebeck and the Living Seed Yoga Center
in New Paltz; she also make house calls.
Yin yoga, also called Taoist yoga, is a contemplative, slower-paced technique that focuses on deep connective tissues through a series of asanas done sitting or lying down. Poses are held for at least three minutes, sometimes longer allowing you to really sink in—both physically and energetically. This gentle pace helps with loosening stiff joints, calming troubled minds, opening tight hips, regulating energy, and developing overall body consciousness. If you already practice a more active yang yoga style (such as Vinyasa), yin yoga is an excellent complement. You can find Yin yoga classes at the Sadhana Center for Yoga and Meditation
in Hudson, the Yoga House
in Kingston, Euphoria Yoga
in Woodstock, Vastu
in Warwick, and several other fine Hudson Valley yoga centers—apparently, a lot of people are finding Taoist yoga valuable these days.
Salt caves designed to mimic those that occur naturally in the Himalayas have a plethora of health benefits for all ages that are fully endorsed by both alternative and mainstream medical thought. Salt is antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory. Breathing dry salt air, also called halotherapy, will thin your mucous and blast your skin and respiratory system with negative ions, helping your body rid itself of toxins, boosting your immune system, and calming skin conditions, such as psoriasis and eczema. You’ll find restorative salt caves at Salt and Soul
in Saugerties and the Hudson Valley Healing Center
Aromatherapy, the holistic use of aromatic plant oils, is yet another “alternative” treatment that’s becoming more accepted in the mainstream, as recent studies have verified practitioners’ 6,000 years of experience. Even the Mayo Clinic admits
oils can help. There are many different methods of aromatherapy from bathing salts and face masks to room diffusers and inhalers. In Middletown, Orange Regional Medical Center
offers a complimentary aromatherapy program to patients. As with the salt, essential oil therapy is a pleasant way to absorb the nature’s medicinal molecules; each plant has its own healing properties, which can be used to improve health and well-being. aromatherapy is often incorporated into a massage session or yoga class. Find expert guidance at Joan Apter Aromatherapy
in Woodstock, Hudson Valley Body Works
in Kingston; or take home aromatherapy body sprays for a DIY treatment from DA Aromatherapy Collection
in Cornwall (the retail store’s closed for the winter, but you can still shop online.)
Sensory deprivation therapy in an isolation tank is a womb-like experience that induces utter calm and relaxation. The physical, mental, and spiritual benefits of floating in body-temperature salt-water, leaving gravity, stress, and stimuli behind, include relief from chronic pain and just about every stress-related ailment, which is an awful lot of ailments. Floating evokes the same theta brain waves that meditators hope to allow. Some find float therapy increases creativity. Float to your heart’s content at Zephyr Float
in Kingston or the Mountain Float Spa
in New Paltz.