Wellness Travel: Meditation & Spa Culture in Prague and Beyond

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You’ve probably noticed that we’ve been writing about wellness travel more and more, and even have covered a few yoga retreat opportunities and getaways (my latest one being Jamaica). I believe in the power of yoga, the power of meditation, the power of stillness and the power of finding a space away from your technology and your daily grind where you can pause, reflect and get yourself back to center. You know…..the life balance thing.  It’s vital to you thriving in the world and it’s integral to the core of We Blog the World is all about — Transformative Travel. While India, Bali, the Caribbean and the South Pacific may be high on your list for trips of this nature, yoga retreats, meditation centers and R&R getaways are cropping up around the world. Eastern Europe is one such region where we’re starting to see a lot more emphasis on wellness travel. With that in mind, join me on a journey to Prague and the Czech Republic countryside.

Spa Culture in Prague

If you want to stay in and around Prague, the Lily Wellness & Spa Center in the Hotel Hoffmeister is a real gem. This incredibly elegant hotel is 1.6 km from Prague Castle and 2.4 km from the landmark Charles Bridge.

This world-class wellness and spa center, which I hope to experience in September, is open daily and is offered to guests of the hotel as well as visitors. They offer a wide variety of massage treatments including Hawaiian Lava Stone Massage, Swedish Massage, Aromatherapy, Chinese Pressure Massage, Chocolate Massage, Honey Detoxifying Massage and Shiatsu plus many more. Cosmetic treatments and wraps include Aqua Treatments with France-Laure Paris products, Facials with Payot cosmetics, Salt and Oil Body Peeling, Pepper Peeling, Paraffin Foot and Hand Wraps and more.

They also have unique steam baths where steam is generated by 650°C hot lava stones dipped into water (the maximum temperature will not exceed 56°C). Bring it on baby! They’re located on Pod Bruskou 7 in the heart of Prague. Prague’s Mandarin Oriental has a high end spa that won’t disappoint. Developed in conjunction with specialists in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and master aromatherapists, each signature therapy consists of a relaxing, hands-on body massage ritual that combines the powerful effects of oriental meridian massage with the therapeutic benefits of custom-blended essential oils. Each treatment begins with a private therapist consultation and the treatment and oils are then tailored to each guest in order to leave the body, mind and spirit in perfect harmony. Guests are also provided with nutritional and exercise guidance so as to extend the beneficial effects of the program at home.

The hotel is located in the Mala Strana district of Prague, in the Czech Republic. The neighborhood is quiet but perfectly central, and boasts a wide variety of shopping and eating options, from delicious street-cart snacks to the finest of fine dining. Just a few steps away from Prague Castle and the Charles Bridge, among the streets of Prague Lesser Town, there’s the Alchymist Grand Hotel & Spa.

Their Ecsotica Spa includes five intimately-furnished treatment rooms, one of which is designed specially for couples wishing to share a romantic experience. Guests can also enjoy a variety of Indonesian-inspired signature treatments, ranging from deep muscular massages and relaxation aromatherapy to bathing rituals, detoxifying wraps and Darphin facials provided by an experienced team of Balinese therapists. The circular Renaissance staircase leads you to a Gothic cellar — you feel as if you’re descending into an ancient temple.  In other words, this spa is not only about treatments and massages, but also about the interior and architecture — have a look!

The luxurious Grand Mark Prague provides a full range of massage and wellness treatments, which can be can be carried out within the comfort of your hotel room or in the Mystic Temple, located near the hotel.  Whether you are getting ready for a special event or merely seeking to indulge in a luxurious beauty treatment, you can take in a manicure, pedicure, facial treatment and make-up services or get lost in the Mystic Temple body care studio.  It’s decadence at its best.

Enter the Monsoon Spa, which boasts a ton of treatments, from a Finnish sauna, aroma saunarium, steam baths, Hammam, ice fountain, whirlpool, treatment and obelisks Thallasso oxygen therapy. Their European therapy includes Lavender autumn bark, individual physiotherapy, manual lymphatic drainage, Lymphatic massage instrument, Anti-cellulite therapy, Swedish massage, sports massage and Fresh therapy. They also have a wide array of Asian therapies and treatments, including Kobido, a lifting facial massage, Tokoriki, a ritual from Fiji, Hot Stone Massage, Shiatsu, Thai massage, Thai oil massage, something they refer to as Foot paradise, Baby massage and massage for pregnant women.

Photo credit: www.wellnessnoviny.cz.

Their Arab therapy includes traditional Hammam and Pasha. Additionally, they have Ayurveda Therapy, where you can get an Abyanga  traditional massage “head to toe”, Paada Abyanga – Ayurveda Reflexology, Kati Abyanga and a Ceylonese head massage.

Buddhism in Prague

Buddhism has been present in Prague for more than 20 years but a fairly recent opening is of a fairly large Buddhist Center called The Diamond Way, which has two meditation and lecture halls, a social area, library and a shop. It is a part of a worldwide network of Diamond Way Buddhist centers of the Karma Kagyu lineage that are based on friendship and idealism.  At the center, you can get basic information about Buddhism at public lectures and there’s daily meditation on the 16th Karmapa. They also organize weekend meditation courses, lectures and other events.

Photo credit: www.praha.bdc.cz.  

Spa Culture Beyond Prague

Beyond Prague, there’s a wealth of retreats and opportunities for the health, spa and mindfulness lovers among you. We;ll be exploring some new ones in the Fall so look for a Part Two to this post, but to get you started with planning and drooling at your Czech Republic countrywide options, let’s take a look at the Luhačovice — Třeboň Teplice and Lazne Jáchymov.

The Luhačovice Spa

In South Moravia, head to Luhačovice, which is known for its peace and quiet. Luhačovice is also known for its cold mineral springs here with their high sodium, calcium, magnesium and carbon dioxide content which makes it a haven for those suffering from ailments or simply want mind/body balance and a detox for awhile. People come here for health with breathing apparatus, the digestive tract, disorders of the metabolism and illnesses of the locomotor system, the heart and even vascular problems. Apparently, one of the most famous guests was the Czech composer Leoš Janáček, in whose honor a music festival is held here every July.
The Luhačovice Spa, the fourth largest in the country, is located in the middle of the green sea of the White Carpathians in the Nature Conservation Area. Sixteen unique curative springs with a high content of minerals rise in the territory of the Luhačovice spa resort. Because of its special mineral water, it is considered a top end European spa.
The Luhacovice Spa offers pearl baths, unique wraps, compresses, inhalation and relaxation massages. While you’re visiting the city, take in the culture as well. Architect Dušan Jurkovič created a completely unique collection of buildings in Folk Art Nouveau style. I love this — they have multicoloured houses with natural ornaments and beautiful dormer windows and gables. Oh so charming! The most important local building in the city is the Jurkovič House, which is a hotel today in the middle of the spa park. The Villa Jestřabí or the Music Pavilion, is also impressive, which looks as if it is standing on chicken feet.
Trebon Spa
Imagine getting your balance and spa “on” in a romantic Renaissance town, which is surrounded by a wonderful landscape of thousands of fishponds and gastronomic delicacies that will have the foodies among you as happy as a clam. Located in South Bohemia, the Třeboň Spa is apparently part of the Czech Republic’s family silver.
The Třeboň Spa specializes in disorders of the motion apparatus, rheumatic problems, post-injury and post-surgery reconvalescence and boosting the overall condition of the body and mind. The local specialty – natural healing peat, deposits of which are found near the town – serve both for treatment and pleasant relaxation. The peat is specially prepared and its unique effects can be enjoyed in the form of pleasant baths or wraps, during which your body is thoroughly warmed up.

There are two major spa hotels in Trebon, which offer treatment and accommodations – Berta’s Spa and Aurora Spa. Berta’s Spa is the older Trebon Spa, which has been around since 1883. It was founded by local teacher Vaclav Hucek who had a daughter who suffered from rheumatism. Aurora Spa has nutrient rich wraps and baths and is home to a hairdresser’s and pedicurist.

The wellness centre also boasts a swimming pool with mildly saline water, a children’s paddling pool, a water world full of attractions and a stress-relieving sauna and steam bath. For culture and history buffs, be sure to visit the Renaissance Chateau after your spa treatment, which has a permanent exhibition about Třeboň. You can also climb the Town Hall tower, which provides a wonderful view of the historical heart of the town. It’s also worth making an outing to the Schwarzenberg Tomb, the final resting place of 27 members of a famous family who in their day were among Europe’s richest and strongly influenced life in the Czech lands.

Teplice Spa

The Teplice Spa is the oldest spa in Central Europe with an almost two thousand year old tradition. Located in North Bohemia at the foothills of the Ore Mountains, it is in a quaint small town which is linked with the curative springs that were already known two thousand years ago. How cool is this? Apparently this fact can be easily evidenced by the archaeological findings of Roman coins in Pravřídlo and the findings of Celtic coins and jewels in Obří pramen by Duchcov from the beginning of our new calendar (AD).

Story has it that in the 18th and 19th centuries, Teplice used to be called Little Paris or the Salon of Europe, visited by many eminent individuals, such as Tsar Peter I, the Swedish King Gustav IV, the Prussian King Bedřich Vilém III, then Ludwig van Beethoven, Frederick Chopin and others. Today, it offers a comprehensive range of diagnostic and therapeutic options, such as natural warm to hot mineral waters and natural mineral waters with a bicarbonate- sulphate-sodium blend. This spa can be useful for adults and children with the following conditions and/or issues: endocrine, nutritional and metabolic diseases, neurological diseases, musculoskeletal diseases.

Lazne Jachymov Spa

How glorious is this? In a wooded valley at the foot of the Krušné Mountains, the spa town of Jáchymov is nestled. It was apparently the first radon spa in the world. The area actually has a strong mining past  and an incredible history. Back as far as 1864 when they were mining, they discovered what would later become a spring that would heal so many and be turned into a health spa. It wasn’t until 1911 that the first spa house opened and used the healing water which was brought down by a several kilometres long pipeline. Thereafter, the Radium Kurhaus Spa Hotel was built, known today as the Radium Palace.

Their spa is more medically focused, so much so that every year, they get over 20,000 guests who come for its healing properties, spending on average 17 days at the facility. They’re known for their Radon treatments, but you can also experience more relaxing options as well. Quite popular here is signing up for a package over the course of a week or two. For example, if you wanted to do a complete treatment, you could get a program set up for you by a doctor, which includes an average of three radon bath treatments a day.  They have different program options, but lodging is part of most of them (unless you opt for outpatient treatments), and an entry medical exam as well. They’ll also do lab tests right on-site, which includes testing your blood count, blood glucose, uric acid. On average, you can expect around 20 medical procedures over the course of a week, which include radon baths, and other treatments such as physiotherapy and massage procedures. Oh joy! Bring it on — sounds heavenly and very healing!


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