The world seems to be suffering from an epidemic of relentless busyness. There are never enough hours in the day, days in the week or months in the year. There is always something on the go and something (or someone) to tend to more important than ourselves. Our wellness takes a back seat.
But stepping back and focusing on the things that rejuvenate and replenish us is a vital step in the journey to good health. Countries and cultures around the globe have rituals and practices that allow them the opportunity to slow down, take a breath and focus on themselves. From laughter yoga in India to the Swedish coffee breaks called Fika, it’s these simple soul-boosting moments that allow us to slow down and truly appreciate the good things in life.
Indulgent Hammams in Egypt, Morocco and Turkey
Hammams, otherwise known as Turkish baths, have their roots set deep in religious purification rituals. A traditional hammam consists of three interconnected rooms: a large domed room with glass windows and a central slab of marble with running water, a warm room, and a cool room. Separated into men’s and women’s, you begin with a cleansing full body exfoliation, have your hair and body washed in the second room, and end the treatment in the cool room with tea and relaxation.
Toxin-Releasing Cupping in Egypt and the East
Cupping, a medical practice first used by the Egyptians, now also commonly used in Eastern medicine, is the art of extracting toxins from the body by creating a suction with specialised glass cups. The cup is placed in the area that needs healing, heat is then applied, creating suction and drawing blood up to the skin, releasing toxins. It is used to treat blood infections, headaches, acne, and pain, among other things.
Energy Sage Smudging in the United States
If you’ve moved into a new home and would like to clear the space of past trauma or bad energy, you may want to consider smudging the space or yourself with sage. This Native American ceremonial ritual of burning sage is used to cleanse the air and protect your spiritual well-being.
Use a fanning motion to spread the smoke of the burning sage throughout your space, as well as over your own body. Always end your smudging ritual at an open door or window, ensuring all negative cleared energy is released.
India’s Healing Laughter Yoga
The much-loved practice of laughter yoga combines breathing exercises with a forced laughter. It is said to reduce stress, boost the immune system, help fight depression and anxiety, and increase happiness. Aside from rising endorphin and serotonin levels, laughter provides an excellent internal massage to your digestive system as well as improving blood supply to the internal organs.
Using the Power of the Forest with Shinrin Yoku in Japan
The Japanese practise Shinrin Yoku, meaning “forest bathing”, is a preventative method rooted in the belief of the many health benefits from living in the forest. Time spent outdoors is said to encourage clearer intuition, increase the flow of energy, deepen friendships, and promote overall higher levels of happiness. So plan that camping trip in the great outdoors! Always remembering to be respectful of the environment.
Inemuri Power Naps in Japan
In Japan, the practise of closing one’s eyes to rest for just a moment – anywhere at any time – from subway stations to coffee shops, is said to replenish energy, build up serotonin levels and promote an overall state of good health and less stress. Inemuri is not a full state of sleep, but rather an in-between state similar to daydreaming, and provides the body and mind with a much-needed power nap to replenish energy levels.
Volcanic Hot Springs in Iceland
Iceland is known for its unique mix of glaciers and volcanic activity, earning it the name “the land of fire and ice”. Thermal energy from the surrounding volcanoes heats pools of water, creating natural hot springs. Bathing in these hot springs is said to promote anti-ageing, aid in pain management, and increase endorphins and blood circulation.
Sonic Healing with Tibetan Singing Bowls
Sound healing in Tibet dates back centuries, and the age-old tradition of Tibetan singing bowls are used for precisely that. They create a vibration through the body that is said to heal in many ways. The sonic waves resonate with your brainwaves and synchronise to create a feeling of peace and tranquillity.
Swedish Quality Time with ‘Fika’
Fika is often translated as a “coffee and cake break,” but Fika breaks are more about the state of mind than the coffee and treats. Fika is a moment to slow down and share a coffee and bite to eat with loved ones to reconnect, socialise and relax.
Featured Image: Science Focus