Acupuncture, yoga and deep tissue massages are just some of the traditional wellness activities and treatments that come to mind when dreaming of a relaxing holiday, and practices becoming ever more important in the fast paced, tech-filled lives we lead. Not a destination to stick to the norm however, Arizona, the birthplace of hot stone massages and home to the strongest healing energy on the planet, has a number of cutting edge and unusual wellness therapies to satisfy even the most serious shaman. From yoga with goats, exercises for the brain and a retreat dedicated totally to rejuvenation, Arizona is a haven for holiday health. Here are Arizona’s most unique and unusual wellness experiences to rejuvenate the body and the soul…
For animal lovers…Goat Yoga
Yoga, an ancient practice aimed to improve flexibility, energy levels and muscle strength has been taken to whole new caprine heights with the introduction of Goat Yoga, which sees yogis and goats pose together to relax and de-stress. During the guided yoga classes, run by Mesa-based Sarah Williams, the gentle animals roam around as participants get into downward dog (or perhaps downward goat) with the goats then carefully placed on the guests whilst holding poses, to ease stress and reap the benefits of being around calming animals. Participants have reported that the unique yoga class clears the mind and offers a chance to release endorphins from exercise, whilst increasing oxytocin from pet therapy. In the summer months goat yoga raves and pyjama parties are also on offer.
Arizona Goat Yoga offer classes from $12 (approx. £9) for an hour long class (with additional time afterwards to mingle with the goats). http://goatyoga.com
For good vibrations…Sedona’s Vortexes
Travellers come from all across the globe to experience the vortex energy centers of Sedona, an area which has become a spiritual mecca and haven for healers and spiritual guides owing to this powerful energy emitted by the famous red rocks. The vortex energy is said to connect with the inner self of any person within half a mile of each vortex, and depending on their sensitivity to the energy can heal past emotional wounds, bring positivity to the self and help people embrace a loving and open way of life. There are four main spiritual vortexes in Sedona, at Bell Rock, Boynton Canyon, Airport Mesa and Cathedral Rock.
Pink Jeep Tours Sedona offer a ‘Touch the Earth Vortex Tour’, a 2.5 open-air jeep tour which takes in Mystic Vista, Vultee Arch Road and Airport Mesa, and views of Cathedral Rock and Boynton Canyon, whilst guests learn about the history, science and metaphysical beliefs around the famous vortex sites, with the chance to experience the healing energy for themselves. The tour costs $105 (£81) per adult, and $95 (£73) per child (ages 1.5 to 12 years).
For golfers…Golf Ball Massage
Designed especially for those who need to limber up before or unwind after 18 holes, the Four Seasons Resort in Scottsdale offers the golfers massage, a therapeutic treatment which involves stretching techniques to knead tight muscles and ease golf related stiffness, and warm golf balls rolled along the neck muscles and either side of the spine to relieve tension and soothe the key muscles used in a golf swing.
The massage costs from $165 (£127) for 50 minutes and $230 (£177) for 80 minutes. www.fourseasons.com/scottsdale
Set within the four Sacred Mountains that define Dinetah, the traditional Navajo Native American homeland, Restival Arizona works closely with the community leaders of the Navajo tribe, to put on a festival retreat, which aims to combine the ancient cultures and traditions of the region connecting people to the land, with health and wellness practises for both the mind and the body. From drumming, dancing, resting, creating art, mask making, astronomy, full moon and harvest ceremonies, practising yoga and meditation, sweat lodges, gong baths and body treatments, the festival is designed to help people switch off from the digital madness of our modern era. Festival-goers camp in beautiful eco-luxury bell tents under the vast desert skies, and can feast on delicious organic local produce and elixirs over the five days
Prices start from £1,200 per person to take part in the festival retreat and includes five nights’ accommodation on an all-inclusive basis, shared experiences, all organic meals, water, elixirs, tea and bullet coffee, airport pickups and experiences (excludes flights, some additional bespoke experiences and alcoholic drinks). For more information and enquiries, visit www.restival.global
For jet lag…Zero-Gravity Nap Pods
Jet lag can be a real nuisance when travelling abroad and frustrating when you want to hit the ground running on arriving in a far flung destination. The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess have found a solution to this annoyance with zero-gravity nap pods for stress relieving ‘adult naps’, that are said to reduce jet-lag in just a half hour session. Nappers can select from an offering of aromatic essential oils, which are placed on key pulse points to enhance the slumber.
The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess offers Therapeutic Adult “Naps” from $49 at their Health Spa Retreat.
For more than a massage…Naga
At Miraval Resort & Spa near Tucson, guests can play an active role in their massage, with Naga. A Naga Thai massage sees the therapist support themselves from hanging silks, entwining and suspending themselves to support the guest through stretches and various Eastern and Western healing techniques to increase blood flow, energy, body awareness and postural alignments.
A Naga experiences at Miraval Resort & Spa costs $215 (approx. £165) for 50 minutes and $275 (approx. £211) for an 80 minute treatment. www.miravalresorts.com/spa/energy-oriental/
The Arizona Office of Tourism can be followed on Twitter www.twitter.com/AZTourismPR or on Instagram www.instagram.com/visit_arizona. Become a fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/arizonatravel or check out pictures of the Grand Canyon State on Flickr www.flickr.com/groups/arizonapassages/ or Pinterest www.pinterest.com/arizonatourism/. The Arizona Office of Tourism also has its own YouTube channel www.youtube.com/user/ArizonaTourism.