Winnipeg’s newest hot spot is Thermea by Nordik Spa, a company with only one other location, the largest of its kind North America, the Chelsea Nordik Spa in Quebec. The Scandinavian influenced thermotherapy spa is a combination of hot and cold pools, saunas, steam rooms, and relaxation areas. The facility located on Crescent Drive, Winnipeg, on a piece of land that used to be part of the golf course, providing the perfect urban oasis. Embedded in the surrounding nature, the facility also boasts a private fully licensed restaurant, for spa users only, with a local inspired menu that features vegan and gluten aware dishes in addition to succulent French/Canadian local cuisine. It’s a world class facility that has been designed with every detail in mind. The only thing I’d suggest they need to build on would be literally to” build on”. While it has reached capacity on busy Fridays and Saturdays already, with the growing popularity, expansion is definitely on the horizon.
What’s the thermotheraphy experience all about?
Essentially, thermotheraphy is heat therapy and its benefits are both physical and psychological. From Aboriginal sweat lodges to Morrocan hammams, Roman baths, to Russian banya’s, thermotheraphy has been an important aspect in many cultures for thousands of years. The Thermea experience encourages a cycle of a hot, cold, relax and repeat. The key is doing a “hot” (sauna, steam, or both) for a 10 to 15 minimum and doing a cold shock-either by going outside if it’s cold but preferably, dipping into one of the cold pools! Read my recommendations at the end of the post! Mon-Thurs, the Thermea experience is $45/$56 including a robe. Fri-Sun $49/$60, which is great value seeing as you can stay as long as you want. They’re open everyday 9am-10pm!
What are the benefits of hot to cold?
The extremes of hot and cold water cause your muscles to expand and contract which gently detoxes and releases toxins from the contraction of your muscles. It improves circulation, delivering fresh blood to all areas of the body resulting in a cleanse from oxygen deprived areas.
I like hot, but why cold?
It is the combination of both that holds a magic of its own. The more extreme the temperatures, the better. Cold water actually has more oxygen in it than hot water, and offers an alkalizing and detoxifying effect. It’s incredibly invigorating taking the cold dip after sweating it out in a hot space for 10-15 min. Your heart rate will increase, your adrenaline will rise, and it will all help flush out toxins and increase the flow of endorphins. Cold water is also known to wipe away negative energy in the body. We don’t often associate cold water with positive effects, but it is incredibly useful with ridding dwelling negativity that is often associated with many diseases.
Feel the heat, feel the benefits!
We should all be aware of our limits, but you really should try to be in the heat for 10-15 min. I love the heat, +35 is my happy place, but the saunas and steam rooms are intense and 2 minutes can feel like 8. Don’t be afraid to stay a little longer before wimping out on the benefits. Wait till you sweat, and I mean SWEAT! The health benefits are incredibly rewarding and you’ll feel the difference.
When you perspire, you’re actually expelling wastes not only from the skin but from the metabolism of all its organs. It’s a very “low impact” way of deep cleansing. When your inner temperature rises, your body reacts by boosting your immune system as if in response to fighting a fever. Regular thermotheraphy is also known to increase vascular and lung capacity, increasing the number of red blood cells which carry oxygen. The ritual helps accelerate the healing and recovery process that is beneficial for those who suffer from chronic pain, rheumatism, arthritis, depression, loss of appetite, and nervosa.
Tips on how to enhance and prepare for your experience
DO bring a…
Bathing suit, a comfortable one.
Fluffy robe (optional), or easier, rent one on site.
Water bottle (optional) there is access to water in each facility via fountain, and complementary infused water and tea available in the relaxation area. I wouldn’t bring a bottle only because the less things you have on you, the easier it will be.
Sunglasses (optional) on sunny days the sun might bother you while you’re enjoying the outdoor pools, but I’d suggest not bringing your designer shades. You’re exposing them to water, heat, and the possibility of losing them. They are not allowed in saunas or steam rooms.
Sandals (optional), you can also buy a pair of thermea filp flops. I’m a barefoot person so I just went barefoot, but it is required to wear shoes in the restaurant so you can choose to wear your sandals or the shoes you came in.
Book (optional) because you are going to want to relax and take a break, why not read by the fire, or on the heated stone lounge area in the relaxation room.
Time. Plan to stay for a couple hours, at least. The best way to enjoy the experience is to give yourself the time to take it at your leisure, especially for your first visit. Plan to eat there too!
Positive and peaceful attitude. Silence is mandatory as mental peace is essential to ultimate relaxation and maintaining a respectful and positive attitude will ultimately enhance your experience.
Wear makeup or jewellery. Remember intense heat and cold will do no good for either of these.
Bring your phone or camera. Leave these in the locker, they are not permitted on site for noise and privacy policies. It’s a luxurious private spa, not public social hub.
Talk. No really, please don’t talk. Silence is mandatory. Whispering is the preferred communication if necessary. Everyone has paid to enjoy a relaxing peaceful experience and your chatting is NOT part of it. Even if you’re speaking in a different language, it’s still distracting and inhibiting everyone’s experience. At the Chelsea location, this rule is strictly enforced and results in being asked to leave.
Smoke, or bring food. This is a logical one.
Bring your kids. Unless they’re your adult kids.
*Thermea reserves the right to ask you to leave the premises if you don’t respect the rules. Don’t be that person.
FINLANDIA – The Finnish Sauna – HOT – 165-175°F
A good place to start. This fully lined cedar sauna is teared in three levels, the higher the hotter. Bring your towel in with you, lay out a spot, and sit or lay down (little cedar wedges are available as head and back rests). Utilize the hourglass sand timers located on the wall to time your experience to 10-15 minutes. Remember to breathe deeply.
POLARBER POOL – 10 C / 50 F
Conveniently located between the sauna and steam houses, take a walk through the shallow one foot top layer of the pool, or swim across the lower layer to experience the hot/cold effect and cool off before you move onto the steam rooms. The first time may feel scary, but once you do it, you’ll most definitely want to willingly go in again, after another hot round that is.
In a second building are two steam rooms and an exfoliation area.
VAPORO EUCALYPTUS, infused with Eucalyptus essential oil, offers a penetrating herbal scent that is soothing on the respiratory system and effective in aiding clear the nasal passages. A natural anti-inflamatory and antibacterial. There are two shower heads that offer cold water when necessary for that cool down inside each sauna. Take a quick rinse when feeling overwhelmed with the heat, it’s quite refreshing. 115-125 °F
EXFOLIATE– you should definitely not miss this step. After the steam, the dead skin cells on your body will be loosened. An essential oil infused salt scrub will naturally exfoliate your skin leaving it incredibly smooth and refreshed. Choose from lavender or menthol, scrub down, and rinse off before going to the next steam room.
VAPORO ORANGE, offers an invigorating and uplifting scent. Orange is both fresh and peaceful. This one is a little less hot at 115-125 °F
TEMPËR POOL: 21 C / 70 F
On your way from the steam house, dip into the temper pool. It’s a bit warmer from the polarber, and still provides that refreshing cold break from the heat. Then out you go to the geser pool just a few feet away.
GESER POOL: 39 C / 102 F
Soak away in the geser whirlpool. Try to remember to refrain from talking. This was the most chatty area on my visit because it was a heat level people most comfortably tolerated and sat in for long amounts of time. It’s a smaller pool with varying pressure jets, a perfect spot to enjoy the smell of the outdoor fire near by, and look out onto the woods and breathe the fresh air.
RELAXA – The relaxation pavilion
There are two areas to the relaxation house. Help yourself to a complimentary infused water or tea, and sit in front of the fire on the two tiered tile lounge benches where you can choose a relaxing music channel and enter the zone. Allowing yourself to be influenced by the therapeutic sound waves lets you mentally escape at your leisure.
Lay down in the second dim lit room on one of the mats and pillows to rest horizontally in the warmth for a while. Don’t be afraid to close your eyes and take a cat nap bundled up in your robe, with nothing else to distract you, just relax here for a while. But perhaps your stomach is starting to work up an appetite after all the intense detoxing.
FLÄM– a relaxing spot in the center of the facility where you can sit in a open air log cabin sheltered from the wind, around the fire.
The perfect opportunity to sit and visit with your friends or partner over a glass of wine and charcuterie, or cup of loose leaf tea and lighter fare, the menu is full of inspired local main dishes, delicate appetizers, to cold pressed juices. You can easily walk in, shoes required, from the spa to the resto, as dinning in your robe is the common way of doing it here. For a full dinner experience or a simple beverage enjoyed by the fire on a plush couch, take advantage of the opportunity to take your time before going back in the spa. I was very impressed with the quality, flavor, and presentation of our dinners.
Enhance your experience by adding a treatment. Book in advance though. For a full list of treatments visit thermea.ca I did not experience any of the body treatments…yet.
Everything you need is there ladies. Blow dryers, a makeup removal/beauty station, bags for wet bathing suits, showers with soap and shampoo, private change rooms, self locking lockers with two towels awaiting you.
In summary I’d recommend…
Reading the do’s and don’t.
Visit during the week day. Weekends are busier, and if you’re like me, the less people the better for me. Crowds, waiting, noise…not my thing. I went on a Wednesday from 12-6pm. It was the least busy from 2:30-5. We had dinner at 4 and were the only table in the restaurant, that was nice! Be respectful of the silence policy, it is the most important aspect of the experience. This really isn’t the place to bring all your fav gal pals and catch up-but you can do that in the restaurant. The thermae experience was personal for me. It was more than relaxing, I felt mentally refreshed and physically invigorated. It has been one of the best ways to physically detox internally and externally. My skin felt AMAZING afterwards, and my whole aura was more at peace when leaving. Time just melted away, which is why I’d suggest planning nothing for later that day so you can take your time adjusting and enjoying. In addition to their beautifully maintained facility, the management team are incredibly friendly and professional. They made me feel very welcome and took the extra time to tell me more about their story which was very special. Don’t hesitate to ask them for anything, they’d be happy to help you!
They have spent a lot of time in working the details for you. All you really need to bring is a bathing suit and your quiet self, and give them your time, you deserve it.