Journey to Wellness

With a desire to seek serenity, boost health and practice some serious self-care, wellness-inspired getaways are more popular than ever.

After several years of uncertainty and unease, people seem to be craving the serenity and healthy boost a wellness trip can provide. According to a recent survey from American Express, 68 percent of travelers are likely to plan their next trip around improving their well-being.

“It was a great escape and, to this day, I still use the practices I learned then to help me reduce stress and anxiety,” offers Xochitl Jacques-Smith, an Ocala resident who experienced a stay at a wellness resort. “It’s an instant increase in vitality and brings perspective back into your life.”

Self-care, in its many forms, is now increasingly seen as something that is necessary, rather than as an indulgence. And wellness means a host of different things to different people. So, with that in mind, we investigated a few destinations with diversely different options to help you choose your lane and get on the road to recovery.    

Lap of Luxury
Carillon Miami Wellness Resort
In the category of luxurious indulgence paired with innovative wellness, this landmark four-star destination is more than just a well-appointed resort on a pristine private beach. Carillon is the largest spa and wellness facility with the most comprehensive program on the East Coast, located in the heart of Miami Beach. It boasts a 70,000-square-foot spa offering a wide variety of services including state-of-the-art Ayurvedic treatments, cryoskin toning, detox wraps, herbal medicine and acupuncture, as well as chakra balancing, salt baths and fl oat therapy. The spa’s European- inspired thermal hydrotherapy circuit includes multisensory rain showers, a Finnish sauna, purifying herbal laconium, crystal steam room, foot spa and the area’s only igloo, where you will move between hot and cold therapy suites to stimulate circulation, bring relief from pain, decrease stress and rejuvenate your body. They also off er traditional massage therapies and beauty treatments.

Carillon’s hydrobath for relaxation.
The Fitness Center at Carillon Miami Wellness Resort.
Carillon Miami Wellness Resort’s guest suite with kitchen, living room and city view.

The property also is home to the biostation, a leader in anti-aging and functional medicine. The all-encompassing preventive health center offers guests extensive diagnostic testing and personalized wellness plans with a range of medically focused therapies and services, from hormone replacement to IV therapy.

It is a “fitness-forward” environment, with an expansive fitness center, cardio and strength training sessions on state-of-the-art Technogym equipment and 250 fitness classes per week, including boxing, rock climbing, yoga, dance and spinning.

The philosophy is to nourish the body and soul by aligning your physical and mental health through a luxe wellness experience utilizing leading-edge treatments and personalized care.

Guests stay in airy, modern one- and two-bedroom hotel-style accommodations that are more like apartment living, featuring a living room, fully equipped kitchen and spa-like bathrooms.

With indoor and outdoor dining options, vibrantly fresh, organic cuisine using seasonal local ingredients takes center stage for healthy, beautifully presented dishes.

The Carillon Cleanse (available in a three- or six-day program) combines healthy, flavorful food with healing herbs to jump-start your health and reboot your metabolism, while the Your Ideal Weight plan helps balance hormones and body chemistry, assess inflammation and evaluate any behaviors that may be responsible for your inability to shed those last 15 pounds.

The resort also offers two ongoing retreat options: Jump Start Your Health & Wellness for individuals and Get Healthy Together for two. These four-night getaways feature a tailored itinerary based on your goals.

A concierge will work with each guest to ensure a trip to Carillon is designed to deliver the results you are seeking.

For more information, visit carillonhotel.com

Natural Healing
Hippocrates Wellness       
The iconic Hippocrates Wellness helped pioneer the wellness space and has been offering an evolving health and fitness program for 60 years through a nourishing, whole-body retreat. Nestled on 50 acres in West Palm Beach, the facility has more of a “wellness campus” than luxury spa vibe.

The center operates on the belief that, “Given the proper tools and environment, our bodies are self-healing and self-rejuvenating. That was a philosophy practiced by Hippocrates himself and passed down to us today from this father of modern medicine.”

A fitness class at Hippocrates Wellness.
A delicious and healthy snack.

It is probably apt to say this program is not for sissies but those determined to make a meaningful change in their physical health and well-being.

Described as “an immersive experience in optimal lifestyle habits and practices,” in which the staff guides guests through the process that will “assist you in taking full responsibility for your health,” the approach relies on the guest stepping up while they provide “optimal nourishment and education.”

The signature Life Transformation Program is a 21-day regime designed to help guests address any current health challenges, replenish nutritional deficiencies that may lead to rapid aging and optimize their health and immunity. It involves a raw, vegan diet, paired with custom workouts and holistic therapies.

“We cover all aspects of lifestyle, from the foods you eat to the products you use on your body, the ways you exercise and even the mattress you sleep on,” staffers explain, stressing that guests will inevitably encounter some challenging moments. “The Hippocrates experience is described as one of complete health actualization. All of our guests go through a detox process during their first week of the program. Every day isn’t always green juice and rainbows.”

The detoxification process is achieved through high quality, organic, enzyme-rich, plant-based nutrition, quality food-based supplements, alkaline elixirs, such as fresh-pressed organic wheatgrass and blue-green algae, as well as protein-rich, blood-building green juices.

Staff also will design a routine, including personal training, to help you achieve an increased level of fitness and shed pounds.

The program includes targeted psychotherapy to overcome trauma, anxiety and stress. Therapists trained in regression therapy also can work with guests to release past negative experiences and clear emotional blockage.

“People come to us from all over the globe,” explains Co-Director Brian Clement. “They’re trying to improve, trying to change. Athletes come here and movie stars, to get healthier so they can be better at their craft . We have some of the top CEOs who come on an ongoing basis and some have said to me, ‘I come here to clean out and to get deep rest so I make better decisions.’”

The goal at the end of the 21 days is that you will see and feel the results of eliminating bad habits and adopting new healthy practices that will become habitual once you return home. If you check out the reviews, you will see that most guests are thrilled with the results, weight loss and how they felt at the completion of the program. However, there are those who point out some red flags, so do your homework before you go and remember, this is no place for sissies!

For more information, visit hippocrateswellness.org

Restorative Retreat
Elohee Retreat Center   
The Elohee Retreat Center in North Georgia falls into another wellness bucket altogether. This unique property is not a resort or a stand-alone accommodation where one can book an individual stay, but a 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit experiential learning center and healing environment that hosts retreats directed by healers, teachers, facilitators and counselors, and offers a diverse range of personal development programs.

Becoming one with nature while sitting outside in the serene outdoors at Elohee Retreat Center. Photo by Thu Tran.

To participate, you simply need to review the upcoming retreats and book as part of the group that aligns with your goals.

A journey of personal development is at the roots of Elohee’s creation. While healing from a health crisis, Eve Cook and her husband, Michael, dreamed of creating a place they describe as “a container where people can retreat and find community in a nurturing and safe way—a place where the land becomes a partner with facilitators, guests and staff for personal growth and healing. Elohee’s mission is to provide a place for self-discovery and healing rooted in nature.”

“We are also conscious of operating in partnership with nature and respectfully draw upon nature’s inherently transformative power,” Eve Cook explains. “We honor the ways in which nature can help us awaken as individuals, helping us become the basis for further transformation in the world.”

Located in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains about 90 miles north of Atlanta and set on 216 wooded acres near the magnificent Chattahoochee River and famed Appalachian Trail, the center is set on a secluded 30 acres they call Landsong. Elohee is loosely translated as “sacred earth place” in Cherokee, which pays homage to the fact that the area was once inhabited by the Cherokee Indian tribe and is appropriate since the learning center is situated on top of a mountain that offers 360-degree panoramic views over the expansive North Georgia mountain range.

Meditating at Elohee Retreat. Photo by Thu Tran.

Elohee typically hosts groups ranging from 10 to 50 participants, with a kind of village of seven cottages and a charming house, all of which offer private rooms and double rooms. The house has two community rooms with fi replaces, a kitchen and dining room, as well as a meditation/yoga room. The outdoor patio has its own fi replace and overlooks a 100-foot waterfall.

Guests have access to three miles of hiking trails, the waterfall, reflection pond, spa, gift shop and a communal tea house.

The chefs are able to accommodate most dietary restrictions with a menu of healthy, seasonal and locally sourced foods.

Guests can partake in a weekend or a weeklong retreat, depending upon the upcoming offerings. This month, from April 8th through the 10th, the Cooks and other retreat leaders are off ering a Rest & Relaxation Weekend as part of an ongoing series. They invite participants to choose to do as little or as much as they would like with no schedule…no demands, just the opportunity to “be” on your own terms. They will have a variety of optional activities, including yoga, meditation, a guided nature hike and the ability to add massage therapy or reiki appointments.

Other upcoming retreats include a Recharge Retreat from April 29th through May 1st, offering “nourishing introspective classes” to support your nervous system through yoga, meditation and experiences with nature and the Reset, Re-align, Restart: Mind, Body, Soul women’s retreat, from May 6th through the 8th, offering a blend of body-based approaches and mind-focused interventions to bring alignment to body, mind and soul for women craving better health and who are tired of quick fixes.

There is a wide selection of other retreats to consider, including ones that off er ways to find your bliss, get in touch with your authentic self, practice self-care and ring in the new year during four days of meditative healing sessions, dancing and laughter and spiritual ceremonies.

For more information, visit elohee.org

Whether you are seeking transformative and fitness treatments, a long weekend away for some much-needed rest and relaxation or an extended getaway to seriously focus on your wellness goals, what matters most is that you take the time to focus on yourself and your path to true well-being.

Posted in Ocala Style Features

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