On Wednesday afternoon, my friend, Meredith, took me to Le Nordik spa scandinave in Chelsea (Quebec). It was the best afternoon I have had in a long time. It is a traditional Scandinavian spa. First, you spend 10-15 minutes in one of the two hot areas: a steam sauna or a dry sauna. The dry sauna was closed for repair when we were there (which meant that we got a two-for-one pass for next time!) so we obviously used the steam sauna. After that you go directly into one of the two cold pools. You can choose to stand under a big freezing waterfall or plunge into the smaller pool that the waterfall feeds into. After you do that you spend 10 or 15 minutes 'resting' to bring your body temperature back to normal. Then you repeat the whole cycle 3 or 4 times. The waterfall, cold pool and a big hot tub are all outdoors in a gorgeous paradise in the Chelsea bush with big outcrops of rock and a gorgeous patio with Muskoka chairs everywhere and an outdoor wood stove. It was beautiful.
The first time we stepped into the steam sauna we weren't so sure about the whole process. When you first go in there, the smell is overwhleming (eucalyptus I think) not to mention that you can't see a thing because the steam is so dense. The heat was really intense. We only lasted a few minutes before we decided to start off with a sit in the big hot tub. After that we decided to try again. It was better. We lasted almost 10 minutes. Then came the first plunge in the cold pool. Let's just say that there was some cursing. Then we rested on the lounge chairs outside.... in March... in Quebec... in our bathing suits. Sounds crazy, I know. But the sun was on us and it felt great and we weren't cold at all.
Then we repeated two more times. Each time the steam sauna was less intense and more relaxing. One of the things I liked the most was that the spa asks that no one talks in the saunas so it is truly a relaxing experience.
The whole thing was great and we're going to go back in a few weeks. At the end of the afternoon I felt like I had had a 90 minute massage I was so relaxed. And all this for $35! I highly recommend it if you are in or around the Ottawa area. Just great!