Wellness retreats come in all shapes and sizes with New Age healers and Gurus continually creating methods that aid your personal development, help you work through past traumas and allow you to balance your masculine and feminine energy in order to live a more harmonious life.
The thing is, we are all human and are all totally unique, therefore, different retreat types will suit different people. For some, a yoga and meditation retreat that talks about chakras and energy may seem whacky, while for others a Shamanic medicine-fuelled journey in the Peruvian Amazon will feel like a walk in the park!
Thankfully for you, we here at MTA love all things retreat-y and always want to hear about the unconventional wellness practices that could help change people’s lives. We’ve therefore scoured the globe to uncover some of the most unusual retreats that gaining on popularity so that you can decide which weird and wonderful method is the one for you. Let us know in the comments below which of those retreats trends for 2021 and 2022 you are willing to give a go.
1. Laughter Retreats
Laughter retreats are based around the health and happiness movement of laughter yoga in which you use giggling hysterically to help reduce stress and boost your energy. The group therapy sees contagious laughter spread around the room, lowering participant’s cortisol levels and oxygenating your body and brain.
2. Orgasmic Meditation
Orgasmic Meditation, also known as OM, is a wellness practice that uses mindful orgasm to help you connect to your body and sexuality. The catch is that OM is usually practiced with two people, one partner gently stroking the other for around 15 minutes, with no eye contact and no goal in mind.
Whether you opt for a luxurious spa in the south of France or a more down-to-earth experience in Japan (where you can bathe in wine, coffee, sake and green tea!), vinotherapy is a practice of soaking yourself in red wine to benefit from its anti-ageing properties and rejuvenating minerals.
4. F*ck It Retreat
F*ck It Retreats help people to be unashamedly themselves by saying “F*ck It” to society, judgement and expectation! By spending a whole retreat living and breathing this concept, you are able to feel stronger in yourself and head home ready to say “F*ck It” to people-pleasing or other limiting beliefs and actions.
5. Ayahuasca/Psychedelic Ceremony
Ayahuasca and other psychedelic retreats help people to break through boundaries that might be otherwise impossible through normal talking therapy, by taking you out of your mind and body and helping to rewire neural patterns in your brain. Using these natural medicines in a Shamanic setting allows you to see and feel things you might never have done before.
6. Crying Retreat
We all know that we feel better after a good cry but what if you took a retreat to focus on reducing stress and releasing emotional pain through dedicated crying? Crying therapy is commonly used in southern Japan (ruikatsu – tear-seeking) to remove emotional blockages and improve wellbeing.
7. Wim Hof/Cryotherapy Retreats
Cold therapy retreats are all about stepping out of your comfort zone and testing your body with extreme temperatures to see what you can really handle when you put your mind to it! Wim Hof, aka the Iceman, is the most famous cold therapy practitioner who leads crazy retreats in which you dive into frozen lakes and do yoga in the snow! Alternatively, you can go to a cryotherapy spa where you can sit in cold chambers with average temperatures of -120°C!
8. Shamanic Sound Healing
Sound healing comes in a variety of formats, from sound baths and vibrational therapy to Shamanic sound healing techniques that go back centuries. Shamans use sound healing to connect to spirits, frequencies and energies in order to open the channels of divine power and create vibrational shifts within you to facilitate healing.
9. Silent Retreats
Silent retreats are one of the oldest retreat styles in the world, with 10 days spent meditating in silence. But for people in the West who are used to juggling hundreds of balls at a time, it seems like the strangest concept known to man! Silent retreats vary in intensity but Dhamma Vipassana courses – in which you spend 10-11-hours a day in silent seated meditation – are the most renowned.
Inner Engineering is a healing concept created by Sadhguru, one of the most famous yogic healers in the world. The process uses online or in-person courses in which you work through personal blockages and shift your perspective of life using the science of yoga. Inner Engineering retreats combine breathwork and lectures with live music, hiking, nutritious meals and the Shambhavi Mahamudra Kriya yoga practice to help improve your overall wellbeing.
11. Snake Massage
The Ada Barak Snake Spa in Israel offers one of the most unusual spa treatments in the world! A snake massage is thought to help soothe and calm patients, relieving them of migraines and aching muscles. During the therapeutic treatment, small snakes are used to offer a gentle fluttering sensation, while larger creatures such as corn snakes knead your skin to provide a deeper healing massage!
Somatic healing experiences are said to work with frozen, unresolved energy that is stuck in the body and which manifests itself as physical pain. Through massage, chanting, sage smudging, energetic cleansing rituals and therapeutic awareness sessions, somatic healing can cure people of physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual pain and blockages.
Ecstatic Dance may look somewhat intimidating to a newcomer, with dancers whirling around a room with their eyes closed, but in actual fact, these dance retreats are both welcoming and healing in their own way. Ecstatic dance allows you to connect to the rhythm of the music, consciously moving and tapping in to your divine feminine energy. The release of intoxicants, self-conscious judgement and fear allows you to find your true self and connect to the oneness of the room without even talking to anyone!
The idea of voluntarily fasting and self-administering colemas may seem like some people’s idea of hell, but the health benefits seem to keep people coming back to detox retreats year after year. Each detox retreat has their own schedule and system but many ask participants to replace food with juices or detox drinks to help flush their system and begin afresh a new relationship with food.
Which of these unusual retreats are you interested in to take part in 2023? Do they sound too wild for you or are you willing to give anything a go? Let us know in the comments below.