Published on December 31st, 2019 | by James Drew0
Elaisa – Where New Year’s resolutions come true
Are you among those who still make a New Year’s resolution, writes Martin Banks?
If so, there’s a good chance it could involve something about seeking a healthier lifestyle.
The problem is that most New Year resolutions struggle to make it to the end of January.
Let’s face it, we all need a bit of a leg up to make them happen but, if your resolution is for a healthier 2020, there’s a unique place in Belgium that can help.
Elaisa is a wellness centre – though not exactly quite the traditional type – that is set amidst the beautiful nature of the Nationaal Park Hoge Kempen in Limburg, Belgium’s eastern most region,close to the Dutch border.
It prides itself on differentiating the way it treats each guest, many of whom currently come from Flanders and the Netherlands. But, if you want to “manage” your wellbeing, beauty and health at what Elaisa calls a “deeper level”, it strives to do just that.
Aiming to “broaden and deepen awareness and consciousness” its approach is based on five “pillars”: nature; wellness; geometry and crystals; health and, finally, personal development.
But, be warned, if you want to experience everything, you are going to need time so that means distinguishing between the many different available options.
It is not easy choosing but, for the first time visitor, there are three good selections: the “sound ceremony”, a “clay” session and the “halotherapy.”
During the sound ceremony you lay on a bed and what are called “sound masters” create music on over 15 different instruments. The 50-minute session is particularly relaxing.
The Halotherapy, another recommended option, is a salt room with a body-restoring microclimate. The entire room is clad in mineral salt stones and grains of salt from the Himalayas. Participants are sprinkled with medicinal salt during the session, which again lasts 50 minutes. Halotherapy is said to have a positive effect on one’s resistance, sleep patterns, vitality and athletic performance.
Infrared heating is used to warm up the room.The heat works its way deep into the body and helps with circulation, relaxes the muscles and tightens skin.
What better way to work off those Christmas-induced excesses!
In the clay sauna, meanwhile, participants are given a pot of natural clay which is applied all over the body. The idea is that this imbues the body with clay’s beneficial properties.
The centre is also filled with other features which include two outside swimming pools, a mineral bath and a couple of restaurants. There are several saunas each of which have a different theme.
Each are attuned to a specific “chakra” while the sunset sauna, with its 12-metre stove, is described as the only one of its kind in Europe. If you are lucky enough to visit around sunset, you must try to experience the lovely view of sunset over the surrounding woodland.
Everything is aimed at making the guest feel relaxed and that even extends to your arrival where a free shuttle collects you at the Terhills Cablepark parking and takes you back after your visit.
One of the different features about this place is that you are allowed to take part in everything in the raw. Yes, that is totally naked.
There really cannot be anywhere else in this country where you can do this at such a venue.
For those who feel a tad inhibited at such things you should know that there are also ‘swimwear days’. On Wednesday and Thursday guests are able to wear a bikini or swim shorts. On all other days swimwear is not allowed so everybody is naked.
A spokesman said, “We do not want to mix these days up because it can be unpleasant for guests that are naked when there are people in swimwear and vice versa.”
While wondering around the complex,which stretches over a huge 7,500 square metres, bathrobes and towels are allowed and, indeed, obligated. Guests are asked to put on a bathrobe when they walk, for instance, from sauna to sauna.
The centre spokesman added, “It is very common that people choose to keep a towel wrapped around their body when they are in a sauna but some people prefer to just sit on their towel.”
Whatever your preference, naked or covered, people are advised to come as early as possible because this is a big building with so much to see and to do.
As it admits a limited number of guests each day it is essential to book in advance. “This allows us a restful visit for everyone,” said the spokesman.
The entrance is €45 (including parking and shuttle service) while the evening rate (Mon-Sun, from 5pm) is €29.50. The student rate is €39 and entry includes use of 10 saunas; use of indoor and outdoor swimming pools; access to rest areas; parking; shuttle service and a daily scrubbing session.
Of course, the tradition of relaxing in saunas, baths, steam baths, complete with massages and treatment, goes back centuries but the latest and best place to promote such philosophy is right here in Belgium, at Elaisa, which opened just three months ago.
Its “sunset sauna” directly overlooks arguably this region’s best known “landmark” – a coal slagheap. Unglamorous it may be but this is a permanent and still fond reminder of Limburg’s coal mining past.
So, if you are one of those set on making a New Year resolution dedicated to personal wellbeing give Elaisa Wellness a go. It is likely do you a lot of good!
Elaisa, Nationaal Parklaan 7
089 39 09 96