We all know just one weekend away from the city immersed in the crisp, fresh South West air does wonders for the body, mind and soul but why stop there? What was once mainly a destination for wine and beer, a recent surge of spas, saunas, and other alternative experiences is bringing a whole new slate of reasons to visit the region. As the cooler months set in, mix up your beach days, cellar door hopping and outdoor activities and incorporate some well-earnt wellness when not cosying up by the fire.

Header photo: Elise Taylor

Saunas and alternative therapies

Originating from Finland centuries ago, saunas are a simple, natural way to improve your overall health and well-being. Regular sauna use has been shown to have several benefits for your physical and mental health, from aiding in muscle recovery to reducing stress.

MEND Margaret River is a luxurious and welcoming premium Recovery Centre and Spa that fuses these ancient practices with modern technology providing a holistic health and wellness experience. Routinely used by both locals and visitors, owners Sam, Jordan and Todd saw the need for a recovery space that values lifestyle and wellbeing.

“Seeing people smiling ear to ear as they leave our space, levitating out with a renewed energy and lease on life is the most rewarding part of it all.”

MEND’s Hot and Cold Therapy allows you to recover, recharge and realign through periods of exposure to heat through the sauna or hot plunge, followed by exposure to the cold through either a plunge in the ice bath or bucket shower.

Plunge in an ice bath after your sauna session at MEND. Photo: Supplied

As well as their signature Hot and Cold Therapy, MEND also offers two differing massage experiences. The Bodyworks massage focuses on the alignment of mind, body and spirit with Samanmali – MEND’s Intuitive Myofascia Release Practitioner (Myofascia is the connective tissue surrounding our muscles). Or experience MEND’s Holistic massage with Sonya where breath awareness, energy healing and sound therapy come together for a restorative experience.

Stationed a little further north? Alchemy Saunas are positioned right on the Busselton Foreshore overlooking Geogrtpahe Bay. Create your own hot and cold therapy with a plunge in the ocean after your session.

Alchemy Saunas Busselton
Create your own hot and cold therapy with a plunge in the ocean at Alchemy Saunas. Photo: Supplied

Another truly unique and restorative down south holiday, Joy Trails Forest Bathing offers guests the opportunity to completely reset and appreciate the breathtaking natural wonders of the region through guided nature immersion. You may be asking, what is Forest Therapy all about?

Forest Bathing or Shinrin Yoku as its Japanese roots know it, isn’t about getting nude in the bush. It’s meditation, mindfulness and nature immersion all rolled into one. This science-based and suitable for all fitness levels practice has been performed around the globe for many years with Jacquie bringing it to the South West in 2021.

“During Forest bathing, we practice learning how to use nature to help us lower our heart rates, reduce stress and tackle anxiety.”

During Forest bathing, we practice learning how to use nature to help us lower our heart rates, reduce stress and tackle anxiety

A photo of tall karri trees with light shining through
Try a unique and restorative down south holiday with Joy Trails Forest Bathing. Photo: Ryan Murphy

These tailored, small-group guided experiences are held in stunning secluded locations within the Karri forests and the region’s beaches, where visitors experience the many scientific benefits of Shinrin Yoku, including a calm, peaceful state of relaxation. Leave feeling happier, creative, grounded and connected on this mini holiday for the body and mind.

Movement and mindfulness

The airy yet grounding SKUHLPT sanctuary invites you to pause and indulge in a moment for yourself. Owner Marcella Whelan has created a space that connects the body and mind where you can invest and dedicate a window of time to yourself.

“When we set out to design our sanctuary, our main focus was to create a space that felt calm, restorative and a little indulgent.”

Inside the SKUHLPT sanctuary, you’ll find a Pilates studio featuring 10 reformer beds. Their class styles range from a traditional Flow class, a heavier Strength class, a slow-paced Stretch class, and a Flow Begin class for Pilates newcomers. Whether you’re visiting for a weekend or longer, Skuhlpt offers holiday passes for those wishing to incorporate a little wellness into their getaways.

Pause and indulge in a moment for yourself at SKUHLPT sanctuary. Photo: Supplied

Enjoy the practices you know and love or explore alternative experiences with Yoga and Therapy with Amber. Trained in a range of therapies and skills, Amber’s unique offering of yoga, meditation, Cranio-Sacral Therapy and Sound Massage sessions can be tailor-made to suit your holiday, occasion or desired outcome.

For those unfamiliar with the practice, Cranio-Sacral is an advanced body and mind therapy that combines scientific, Western understandings of the body matched with mindfulness skills, and a unique type of touch helping give the body the ability to heal itself. Amber then combines this with the relaxing vibrations of Sound Massage allowing you to fully unwind. If you’re looking for something with a little more movement, Amber also offers customised private yoga classes to suit all needs and levels.

Sound Meditation - Untamed Escapes 4-Day Margaret River Yoga Retreat
The vibrations of the sound bowls mixed with Cranio Sacral therapy are soothing and relaxing. Photo: Supplied

Wellness and beauty

Now that you’ve nourished your body and mind from within, it’s time to look after your exterior.

Meraki Skin Studio is dedicated to skin health beyond the surface. Janelle and Kate have created a space for you to reset and recharge while they get to work. Passionate about treating the skin with integrity, Meraki focuses on treatments ranging from therapeutic to correctional, internal support to more advanced equipment.

Next, you can’t miss Corrynne’s Natural Skincare Dunsborough. Their natural, chemical-free, plant-based skincare products are handmade in small batches from plant-based recipes, and the essential oil soaps, cleansers, moisturisers, face masks, shampoo bars, and bath salts prioritise human well-being as well as healthy waterways. All perfect if you’re looking to bring a sense of your holiday to the home too.

Woman lying down on her back in a bed receiving a facial.
Relax as the ladies from Meraki Skin Studio pamper you. Photo: Supplied

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