TURN UP THE HEAT
Feeling the need for a little wellness and relaxation? Notwaste Outdoor Centre in Quinte West has a thermal experience where you can unwind without the crowds. Situated on 27 acres of mixed forest they offer an outdoor sauna experience, forest therapy walks and tennis court rentals in the warmer months. We went out to spend an afternoon reaping the wellness benefits of the Banya (outdoor sauna). This Slavic spa experience is a great gift of relaxation right here in the Bay of Quinte region.
THE BANYA EXPERIENCE
When you arrive, you will park in front of their family home. The owner and host, Rivendell, greeted us and brought us back to the sauna that was all ready to go for our experience. We purchased the basic package which includes the use of the Banya for 3-4 hours, a traditional tea and jam break, topped off with the magical benefits of the venik.
The sauna runs between 95-100 degrees with 80% humidity and is heated by a wood stove with firewood that’s been sourced and cut on-site using sustainable forest management practices. Take the lantern into the sauna with you, and when you’re settled turn it off to sit in the dark hot sauna and concentrate on your breathing and relaxation. When you’re ready, steam up the sauna by using the small ladle and sauna bucket to douse water on the hot rocks. Each heating cycle in the sauna is followed by a cooling cycle… better known as dumping a bucket of cold water on yourself. Be brave, take a deep breath, and dunk!
FULL OF BENEFITS
Steam saunas have many wellness benefits including boosting your immune system, increasing blood circulation, aiding in rheumatism and joint pain, and of course, relaxing sore overworked muscles. After three rounds of the thermal cycle, Rivendell brought us a spread of tea, jams, and honey. While we enjoyed this traditional spread, he explained the venik to us. In the simplest terms, the venik is a bundle of dried leaves that you use to move air and smack each other with in the sauna. Although practice itself felt a little strange to participate in, I could instantly feel the benefits!
I really appreciated the concentration on maintaining environmental practices and practicing “zero-waste.” Driving away from my sauna experience I felt incredibly light and relaxed – it made an excellent date activity. Pair this experience with a trip to Wild Card Brewing Company or Gogi Korean Grill in Quinte West to complete your day.
PACK YOUR BAG
Before you head out for your day at the Banya, make sure you pack these essentials so you have the best experience possible:
• Bathing suit (make sure there are no metal pieces as they’ll get really hot)
• Robe to keep warm when you aren’t in the sauna
• Wool hat to wear in the sauna for temperature regulation
• Water bottle – it’s important to stay hydrated!
• Book to enjoy while relaxing between heating cycles
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