Asheville, North Carolina’s reputation as a destination for health and wellness dates back to the 1800s. Flash forward to today’s modern spa and health-centric culture where experiences range from the legendary 40,000 square-foot underground spa at The Omni Grove Park Inn—consistently ranked among the top spas in the world—to innovative, new age rejuvenation adventures.
HOT AND COLD CONTRAST
The mixture of hot and cold therapy has been used for centuries to aid in the recovery of mind and body. At Sauna House, one of the newest spas in Asheville, you can unwind in a healthy environment and explore the healing effects of sauna and cold plunge. The Nordic-style bathhouse is located in West Asheville. It’s a communal space meant to be shared in a social but calm atmosphere. You’ll start in the sauna, helping to remove negative tension in the body. Next is the cooling shower or cool plunge to decrease inflammation. Finally, you will relax and hydrate, allowing the body to self-regulate temperature and heart rate. Other services include deep tissue massage and Epsom salt footbath.
Nestled in the mountains surrounding Fairview, just east of Asheville, is Shoji Resort and Spa. Each Japanese-inspired private deck offers an unmatched forested view while the added salts and minerals nourish skin and enhance well-being. Order a pot of tea, provided by local favorite Dobra Tea, and some bites to indulge in during your time in the tub. With admittance to the private hot tubs comes access to the rejuvenating cold plunge, the cedar sauna, and all spa amenities.
Salt therapy, also known as speleotherapy, offers an unparalleled spa experience. Unwind in a tranquil cave formed of solely natural materials – nothing but salt, wood, and water – at the Asheville Salt Cave. Surprisingly, this relaxing experience is located just blocks north of downtown Asheville! The majestic atmosphere is comprised of salt crystals ranging in size from 6 ounces to 300 pounds. Each 45-minute session provides you with ample time to relax while reaping the benefits of this unique microclimate, which aids in the treatment of respiratory problems, digestive ailments, skin problems, sleep maladies, depression and more.
Just south of downtown you’ll find the Salt Spa of Asheville. This Himalyan Salt Therapy Cave gives you the opportunity to be pampered from a hot salt stone massage to energy healing. Every month in the cave, there are special events including Crystal Bowl Meditation, Gong Meditation and Yoga Nidra.
The Salt Water Flotation experience at Still Point Wellness is occasionally referred to as sensory deprivation, this enriching practice decreases blood pressure, slows breathing and heart rate, calms the mind and body, and boosts endorphin levels. Cast your apprehensions aside as you float, completely free from all outside stimulation such as light and sound, in 13 inches of skin temperature water loaded with 1,500 pounds of Epsom salt.
HIKING AND YOGA IN A SPECTACULAR BACKDROP OF FALL COLORS
In addition, Western North Carolina is fortunate to have one of the most vivid displays of autumn foliage in the world due to the region’s extreme elevations and unmatched biodiversity. With more than 100 deciduous (leaf-shedding) tree species, coupled with a wide range of elevations and a temperate climate where warm days and cool nights are possible, Southern Appalachia experiences one of the most colorful and long-lasting leaf seasons in the US. This year, biologists in Western North Carolina believe conditions are on track for a spectacular fall color display throughout Asheville and the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Surrounded by the highest peaks in the eastern U.S., Asheville is steeped in natural history, fall adventure and cultural legacies – including America’s Largest Home, Biltmore, and America’s Favorite Scenic Drive, the Blue Ridge Parkway. With elevations that range from 1,500 feet in the valleys to 6,684 feet at Mount Mitchell, the highest peak east of the Mississippi River, the Blue Ridge Mountains have more than 100 deciduous tree species, regularly placing the area among the nation’s top fall travel destinations.
When it comes to under-the-radar wellness destinations this winter, Ashville, with its fresh sunny days, stunning views, fireplaces galore and (occasionally) frozen waterfalls, is ideal to experience all things “well” in the mountains.