Three holistic holiday retreats that could improve your health

For many of us there is nothing better than getting away and swapping the stresses of daily life for a period of rest, relaxation and recovery. An increasing number of people are turning to specialist holistic retreats that promote well being, healthy bodies and clear minds. If you fancy a change from the usual beach break and would like to try something new, here are three ideas for holistic holidays that can revitalise your body and your mind.


Meditation practice in the South of France

Meditation is a means of transforming the mind and encourages emotional positivity, concentration and clarity. Regular engagement with nourishing meditation practice can deepen into profoundly peaceful and energised states of mind. Such experiences can have a transformative effect and can lead to a new understanding of life.

Several health benefits have been documented as a result of meditation. A recent study found that people who suffer from sleeping difficulties have reduced symptoms of insomnia, fatigue and depression after taking mindfulness meditation sessions. Other studies have found that meditation can reduce blood pressure, protect against heart disease and reduce pain sensation by up to 27%.

Dhamma Vihara, a meditation haven belonging to holistic experts Art of Meditation, is the perfect place to find peace and solitude. The group of isolated stone buildings is surrounded by natural forest in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of Southern France. The property boasts an ancient stone circle, adventurous walking trails and an impressive range of flora and fauna within its boundaries.

Isolated and reachable via private road, Dhamma Vihara can guarantee peace, silence, stunning views and a residential quality of high standard. The property’s environment provides different aspects of meditation practice. Whilst being able to seek guidance from holistic experts, you will also have the space to develop a deeper attitude to practice supported by the unspoilt scenery all around.

It’s important to remember that benefitting from meditation comes from a regular practise and continuous learning, but a meditation retreat is a perfect jumping off point for those interested in starting or expanding their practise.


Bathing in the Dead Sea in Jordan

The Dead Sea is a salt lake bordering Jordan to the east and Israel and the West Bank to the west. Its surface and shores are 423 metres (1,388 ft) below sea level, making it Earth’s lowest elevation on land. Containing on average eight times more minerals than seawater, the Dead Sea is the saltiest water mass in the world.

The Dead Sea is rich in magnesium, calcium, potassium and other minerals. These minerals, combined with the salinity of the water and sun are thought to have an extraordinary effect on psoriasis. Researchers found that the symptoms of psoriasis patients who bathed for an hour a day in the Dead Sea improved by up to 88%. Other reported health benefits include improved blood circulation, hair loss prevention, reduced stress levels and joint inflammation relief.

There are several health spas that have been built alongside the Dead Sea that offer further health treatments. The Dead Sea Spa Hotel in Sweimeh, Jordan has a spa and medical centre facility that draws upon the natural healing elements of the Dead Sea, providing therapeutic treatments such as anti-stress therapy, spa massages and hydrotherapy.


Tai Chi courses in Turkey

Tai Chi is a martial art that has evolved over the years into an effective means of alleviating stress and anxiety. It combines deep breathing and relaxation with slow and gentle movements.

The martial art discipline has its roots in traditional Chinese medicine and has long been considered to have several health benefits, particular to those with chronic health conditions. Tai Chi has been proven to relieve symptoms of heart disease, breast cancer and osteoarthritis in people between their mid-50s and mid-70s. Researchers from the University of British Columbia have said Tai Chi may be prescribed for patients with such illnesses in the future.

One of the most scenic places to learn tai chi is in the open air surroundings of a secluded mountain valley fifteen minutes from the Turkish yachting resort of Gocek. Instructor Gulay Arici offers lessons of varying expertise at the Huzur Vadisi yoga holiday retreat. You will stay in spacious traditional tents called yurts nestled among fig and olive groves. When you are not taking part in lessons you can explore the local area, visit archaeological sites and enjoy other holistic treatments such as massage and aromatherapy.