Wellness activities with a difference

01 May 2019

Wellness is having a moment. It might sound like a fad for hippy types, but the philosophy behind the movement dates back thousands of years, incorporating traditions from across the globe.

With modern society placing a higher value on physical, mental and spiritual health than ever before, new and exciting wellness trends continue to evolve. Here are five of our favourites. 

Flotation tanks

These tanks date back to the 1950s, but in the present day they've really exploded into mainstream culture. The experience is a bit like floating in space -- by situating the body in perfect silence, completely devoid of light and sound, your muscles will loosen up, your thoughts will stop racing and you can settle into trance-like state of pure freedom.

Gong baths

Banging cymbals over your head might not sound hugely relaxing, but this form of music therapy is amassing a chain of A-list fans, including Russell Brand and Robert Downey Jr. The gong has been used within Buddhism to signal the start of meditation practice for hundreds of years, and practitioners say that sustained harmonic tones promote deep muscle relaxation and a feeling of mental clarity.

Running festivals

The natural world has been scientifically proven to positively affect our wellbeing, with large-scale studies showing significant health increases when we spend time in green spaces. Modern festivals have run with this idea -- quite literally --  by combining outdoor exploration with live music and expert-led workshops. Love Trails, for example, hosts guided runs through the pristine beaches and forests of the Gower Peninsula by day, with bubbling wood-fired hot tubs and live music at the campfire stage by night. 

Foraging courses

A deep knowledge of our natural environment is no longer necessary for our survival, but when we’re attuned to the changing seasons, we can learn important lessons about the passage of time and the nature of life in general. Wild food is all around us, even during the UK's most inhospitable months, and an expert-led foraging course can help you identify local, seasonal ingredients on riverbanks and hedgerows just like our ancestors did not so long ago. Still not convinced? Treats like sloe gin, rosehip syrup and elderflower cordial might just change your mind. 

Silence retreats

All you have to do is show up -- and shut up. A restorative week of quietude can help us escape from an ever-noisier world and, when combined with daily activites like yoga, chores and guided meditation, to notice the worries that preoccupy your mind. There are plenty of workshops in the UK, but if you want to practice the art of silence further afield, you can find international retreats from the lush and tangled jungles of Bali to the placid lakes of upstate New York. 

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