An array of therapies
Wellness tourism in Chile: health and relaxation
The different natural resources offered by the Chilean geography not only invite visitors to travel from north to south to enjoy its tourist attractions. The quiet atmosphere of some areas favors relaxation and meditation, ideal alternatives to get rid of the stress of modern living.
Wednesday, June 09, 2010
Alternative therapies, as a complement to traditional medicine or simply for recreation and relaxation, are in growing demand today due to the multiple benefits they provide. In Chile these types of activities have become popular and there are several different specialized centers where you can practice them.
Some of these are the numerous thermal spas that exist all over the country. But there are also wellness centers, whose concept is to provide well-being to people in all aspects – physical, emotional and spiritual. Fitness, medical and aesthetic treatments and even meditation are part of the array of services that can be found in these facilities.
According to connoisseurs, Chile is a privileged country due to various magnetic centers, among the most important being the region of Elqui, located 90 km south of La Serena. In particular, Cerro Cancana, in the locality of Cochiguaz, is known for the high concentrations of magnetite y quartz that are found there.
There are two centers in this area that are set up to provide peace and rest. Spa Cochiguaz offers herbal baths, different types of massage such as reflexology and therapeutic massage, reiki and reflexology sessions, in addition to horseback riding, a restaurant with natural foods and comfortable rooms.
Hospedaje Sundari, in turn, is situated in the locality of Vicuña. This natural space offers different types of therapy such as Ayurveda, aloe vera and phytotherapy, in addition to sessions of meditation and Tibetan gymnastics.
In the Choapa valley, 90 km away from Los Vilos, the Centro Holístico Salamanca offers personal growth sessions, dance therapy and Bach flower therapy. In the midst of an oasis of old trees and carefully tended gardens, it is possible to participate in activities using body work techniques, sacred singing, meditation, psychodrama, reiki, use of oracles, rituals, Gestalt dialogue and creativity, among others.
Also in the region of La Serena, 20 kilometers toward the mountains along the side road toward the Quilimarí valley is Miravalle. There it is possible to disconnect from day-to-day routine through a series of activities such as meditation, outdoor jacuzzi, swimming pool, quartz pools, organic cooking, mud baths and oil massages, in addition to practicing disciplines such as yoga and Ayurveda. The latter advocates a more holistic approach to reality, where medicines, mainly from plants, are chosen for their ability to harmonize the balance between the patient and his/her surroundings.
And if a mystic place is what you’re looking for, Canal Om is a relaxation center that offers complete detoxification of mind and body in the midst of beautiful beaches close to the coastal locality of Pichidangui to the south of Los Vilos.
Up till a few months ago this facility was only visited by spiritual masters, yogis and apprentices from different parts of the world, but today the center is open to the general public. A series of indoor and outdoor activities can be practiced, such as yoga, thalassotherapy, excursions, horseback riding, jacuzzi baths, tennis and baby football. Also provided is shiatsu, which is one of the most sought-after therapies according to the owner of the center, Gustavo Ponce.
This refuge, unique in South America, was mentioned in Great Yoga Retreats, a guidebook that highlights the loveliest refuges and yoga centers in the world, from Mexico to India and Tuscany to Big Sur.
Options close to Santiago
It isn’t necessary to travel many kilometers to get out of the rut. Near the capital, Santiago, in the Cajón del Maipo, is La Cascada de las Ánimas, a beautiful spot where, in addition to offering tourist packages of the area, visitors can have access to a variety of therapies and massages such as yoga, Chi-Kung (Chinese “meditation in motion”), herb therapies, acupuncture and biomagnetism.
The town of Peñaflor also offers a space for resting, relaxing and detoxing. The Centro Naturista Peñaflor provides a wide array of services aimed at achieving well-being, such as steam baths, saunas, heliotherapy, reflexology and even lacto-ovo nutrition. All in the midst of a lovely patio full of flowers and rooms equipped with private bathrooms.
South of Chile
More to the south, 18 kilometers away from the city of Pucón on the road to the Termas del Huife, is the Centro de Relajación Tierra Nueva, where different types of therapies are offered such as quantum touch, magnetotherapy, lymphatic drainage and cranio-sacral therapies. A preferred ritual is a steam bath known as temazcal. The surrounding area is full of natural attractions and is an opportunity to get to know one of the most beautiful locations of the south of Chile.
Finally, in the sector of Manao, in Chiloé, is the Centro de Salud y Desarrollo Anchimalén. Directed by a psychiatrist, Adriana Schnake, it is a place where everyone is welcome, especially those who wish to deepen their self-knowledge and find harmony with their surroundings.