Thermëa by Nordik Spa-Nature is a Scandinavian-style spa in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
Focused around the concept of “thermotherapy,” Thermëa is a secluded getaway located in the heart of the city of Winnipeg. Like many other spas, you can get massages, facials and other body treatments performed by licensed professionals. But there is one thing that sets Thermëa apart from your average day spa. It’s called The Thermal Experience.
Jess and I got the opportunity to check out Thermëa for ourselves and explore the unique benefits of this outdoor spa. Janis, Thermëa’s marketing director, gave us an exclusive tour of The Thermal Experience, as a crowd gathered outside waiting for the spa doors to open. Despite the spa being at maximum capacity that day, it wasn’t crowded and the mystical steam rising up over the outdoor pools provided a sense of separation from the other guests.
Read more about all the benefits of thermotherapy, and why it’s an awesome form of self care for moms.
What is Thermotherapy?
Thermotherapy is a type of physical and psychological therapy powered by temperature. Heat therapy is known to have many benefits, and has been used by medical professionals, physical therapists and athletes for decades. The process of alternating heat and cold is known to speed up recovery in cases of muscle injury. A rapid change in body temperature can also eliminate toxins from the body, increase blood circulation, relieve stress and strengthen the immune system.
Thermëa offers a unique way to experience the benefits of thermotherapy. The outdoor spa is a beautiful maze of pools, saunas, steam rooms and various indoor and outdoor rest areas – all available for use with one daily pass. The Scandinavian style of the spa, with it’s minimalist wood and stone elements, fit perfectly against the backdrop of Winnipeg’s ever-changing weather. The bare trees and snow covered ground made it feel like a mountain-top retreat away from the noise of everyday life.
As breath-taking as the grounds of Thermëa are, they’re not just for show. The layout is actually designed to encourage guests to follow the 3 Step Thermal Cycle.
The first step in the thermal cycle is to heat things up. Exposing the body to heat helps to open up the pores and causes you to sweat out all the bad toxins in your body. There are two dry saunas and two steam rooms to choose from for the heat cycle.
The popular Finlandia dry sauna holds Aufguss rituals every hour, during which a staff member infuses the stones with ice and essential oils and then uses towels to circulate the hot air and steam around the room. These sessions do get crowded, so make sure you get there early to choose a spot. And keep in mind that the higher up you sit, the hotter it gets and the faster you’ll sweat it out.
The two steam rooms are located in the Vaporo building, one infused with eucalyptus, the other with orange essential oils. The steam in the rooms is incredibly dense and as soon as you walk in the door you can feel it take over your entire body. After a cycle in the steam room, there are scented exfoliating salts available to scrub all over your body and a shower to rinse them off. This helps to get rid of dry skin and wash away the layer of gunk that you’ve just sweat out.
Most importantly, remember to drink lots of water, especially after a hot cycle! You will need to replace a lot of the fluid you’ll be sweating out. Throughout Thermëa you will find delicious flavor infused waters, and you are encouraged to bring your own plastic refillable water bottle. (Jess and I thought we were drinking enough water, but we didn’t, and ended up with headaches at the end of the day – so drink twice as much as you think you need!)
Once you’ve completed a hot cycle, you now need to expose your body to a cold temperature. This will improve your blood circulation, close up your pores, speed up your heart rate and boost your adrenaline levels. If you’re brave enough, plunge through the Polarbër pool which is extremely cold and works really fast. Or you can stand underneath the Icebër waterfall for a few seconds.
As shocking as the icy water might feel, try your best not to scream. The main areas of Thermëa are silent, and if you missed one of the hundreds of signs that say “whisper” a staff member will gently remind you (Jess took the liberty of testing that theory out for herself).
If you’re not a fan of submerging yourself into icy cold water, the Tempër pool is comfortable but still cool. If it’s a colder day outside, you can simply walk around or sit by one of the many fire pits instead. The cold cycle only needs a few seconds to work, but you can literally feel your heart start pumping and the adrenaline rushing through your veins.
And finally, our favorite part of the thermal cycle – the rest cycle. Resting after exposure to heat and then cold will turn all that adrenaline into endorphins. Increasing our endorphin levels can help relieve stress, improve our mental health and create an overall sense of calm and happiness.
The Gëser hot tub was, by far, the most popular resting spot on this cool spring day. There are also several outdoor areas, including Fläm, a little wooden cottage with a fire pit in the middle surrounded by Adirondack chairs and cozy blankets. One of the most unique features to relax in were the heated hammocks. You can zip yourself right into them and take a nap or just swing and relax in complete bliss. (In fact, some people were zipped up so snugly that it was hard to tell if there was anyone in there at all – the best way to tell is to look for empty flip flops on the ground!)
The Relaxa relaxation chalet consisted of two different areas. One had comfortable heated benches with tons of natural sunlight and was perfect for reading. It even had ropes to help you get comfortable in the seats without too much effort. The Tellura section was warm, dimly lit and stocked with heated mattresses, perfect for meditating or napping (which we totally did)! Just outside the room, you can help yourself to a variety of organic teas – supplied locally by Cornelia Bean.
The Restö on-site restaurant was another great place to relax while enjoying a gourmet meal made from locally sourced ingredients. If you’re visiting with friends, it’s one of the few places where you don’t need to whisper. There were several different places to sit but all the areas are heated and closed to the public so fine dining in a bathrobe was the ultimate luxury.
We choose to have our lunch in the newer lounge area and enjoyed the view through the floor to ceiling windows. These window panels actually open all the way up during the warmer months to provide a unique indoor/outdoor dining experience. Make sure to load up some money on your electronic bracelet when you check in so that you can dine at the restaurant wallet-free. (I highly recommend ordering a pitcher of the White Sangria!)
After you’ve had a sufficient rest period, you can begin the thermal cycle all over again. By completing the cycle three or more times, you can enjoy the maximum benefits of thermotherapy, as well as explore all the different features that Thermëa has to offer.
The facility is open from 9 am until 10 pm and guests are welcome to stay for the entire day. Interestingly enough, the atmosphere seemed to change constantly throughout the day. The early morning sunrise brought a sense of peace and serenity. By the early afternoon, it felt warm, sunny and uplifting. We ended our visit around 4 pm but would have loved to stay longer and see how beautiful the place is when it’s lit up at night.
There are no time limits, schedules or restrictions, which was a welcome change to our normally busy lives. You’re welcome to take a 2 hour nap in your favorite spot or hang out in the hot tub all day long if you want to. Everything is self-serve and you can wander throughout the grounds as you wish. It was clear that the staff worked hard to maintain the environment of peace and relaxation. They were constantly restocking, discreetly cleaning, tending to the fires and gently reminding everyone to keep their voices down.
Why is This So Good for Moms?
Thermëa is an amazing place for all adults, regardless of age, gender or physical limitations. But moms in particular can benefit greatly from using thermotherapy on a regular basis.
Both pregnant and postpartum moms can get relief from muscle aches and pains (obviously, check with your doctor first).
It tones the skin and increases elasticity, which will help restore post-pregnancy skin.
Encourages better sleep and helps ward off fatigue and exhaustion.
Reduces stress, anxiety and tension.
Increases mental clarity, concentration and memory.
Detoxifies the body which boosts the immune system. This is especially important for moms with school age kids who bring home all kinds of germs.
A spa day is the ultimate luxurious self care option for moms and a visit to Thermëa or one of Groupe Nordik’s other thermotherapy spas should be on every mom’s bucket list. After spending the day at Thermëa, including a hearty lunch and an afternoon nap, I felt completely renewed and refreshed. And as we drove away, I was simply counting down the days until I could return again.
For less than $60 CAD, you can spend an entire day enjoying The Thermal Experience, but make sure to arrive early, especially on weekends and holidays! To learn more about Thermëa, including accommodation packages and to purchase online gift certificates, visit their website https://www.thermea.ca/