What is the one thing you often find yourself desperate for, yet elusive of your grasp? For me, it is deep, restorative rest. In a culture that demands we define ourselves by what we produce, it is difficult to justify {let alone facilitate} time to rest, reflect and heal. And yet, it is perhaps one of our most important life skills.

In this context, one of my favourite places to decompress is Le Scandinave. Surrounded by the whisper of the wind through surrounding birch trees and the gentle laughter of a nearby running stream – savoured against the backdrop of an “absolute silence” policy – guests are invited to restore through a repeated 3-step hot/cold ritual.

FIRST: Spend 15 minutes in something hot: the outdoor, organically-shaped hot tubs, the Swedish dry sauna, or {my favourite} the Eucalyptus Steam Room.

SECOND: {and this is both the hardest AND the best part} PLUNGE into one of their remarkably cold {think glacial} pools for anywhere from a few seconds to two minutes.

THIRD: Rest for at least 10 minutes in the recline of one of the Adirondak chairs that are carefully grouped around wood burning fires, scattered throughout the peaceful property. Nestle into a hammock on the edge of the woods. Read. Sleep. Breathe deeply as your heart rate slows down and your body temperature normalizes. And then, repeat steps 1-3.

I always come away from Le Scandinave breathing better. The “full body exhale” kind of breathing. I feel wrung-out and relaxed, detoxified and de-stressed. And my skin fairly glows. The only draw back to the experience is the 1+ 1/2 hour drive home afterward, and the limitation this distance places on the frequency of my returning.

And so, I have crafted my own little at-home ritual that I have found to be almost as restorative. I have enhanced it with two amazing products to make it a decadent Body Beauty Ritual that I try to indulge in once a week. Yes, it takes effort to carve out the time. But the decompression and detoxification are worth it.

{Image via Pinterest}

STEP ONE: If a sauna is available to you, I highly recommend starting there. We are fortunate enough to have a small infrared sauna in our basement, so I start my ritual with 30 minutes of reading while sweating out toxins, sipping water and breathing deeply, soothed by the sound of ocean waves on CD. I choose to do 30 minutes here because I want to soak up the amazingly healing benefits of the infrared heat, but I have also broken it up into two or three 15 minute cycles on the days when time permits. This step can simply be done in a hot bath with Epsom salts if a sauna is not available.

STEP TWO: Next {and this is certainly the discipline of it}, I turn our shower to the absolute coldest setting and use the hand-shower to “refresh” myself from head to toe, paying careful attention to get into armpits and backs of knees where the heat likes to hide out. This step is where my silence is inevitably broken with some “Woot!” “Yikes!” “Okay!” “Just Breathe.”

STEP THREE: I start a very hot Epsom salt bath and lay down for 10 minutes while the bath fills. I use the 10 minute track on this restful nap CD as my timer.

STEP FOUR: Soak in the bath for 20 minutes while sipping water and relaxing.

{Spoiler alert: Steps Five + Seven are my favourite upgrades to the Le Scandinave experience, making this feel like a true at-home spa treatment.}

STEP FIVE: Using my Come Clean Exfoliating Mitt {pictured above}, I thoroughly exfoliate my body from head-to-toe. I am always amazed at how much dead skin gently rolls off with this magical mitt, leaving me with a radiant glow. My circulation is stimulated {amazing for detoxification and lymphatic drainage} and my skin is prepped for better absorption of the gorgeousness to come in Step Seven. This is my absolute favourite new {Canadian!!} body-beauty find.

STEP SIX: One more dose of discipline: a 1-2 minute ice-cold shower, washing off all of the exfoliated dead skin from head-to-toe.

STEP SEVEN: Massage a generous, moisturizing application of Tata Harper’s Revitalizing Body Oil all over. This non-greasy oil infuses my skin with botanical nutrients derived from Calendula, Arnica, Frankincense, Rose and Apricot Kernel Oil {to name a few}. My thirsty skin gratefully drinks it in and absorbs it completely, leaving my skin refreshed, invigorated and deeply moisturized. The carefully blended ingredients aid in healing and cellular repair, improve my skin’s elasticity and noticeably rejuvenate my freshly exfoliated skin. 
Amazingly, I have also discovered {thanks to a beauty tip from Tata’s team} that the oil makes an incredible aid to shaving my legs, and I get the smoothest shave possible when I wait until after all of the detoxification and exfoliation! I now save this step in my bathing routine until after I have applied my oil.
Beyond all of that goodness, the scent is heavenly. I no longer wear perfume, in fact, but rather use Tata’s Body Oil as my decadent scent of choice.

And there you have it! My At-Home Scandinavian Spa + Body Beauty Ritual. If you are looking for a way to treat your Mom for Mother’s Day, here is what I would suggest. Buy her a Come Clean Exfoliating Mitt, a bottle of Tata Harper’s Revitalizing Body Oil, and {if you live in the area} a day pass to Le Scandinave. She can reclaim the art of self-care by learning the healing hot/cold ritual at Le Scandinave and then bring it home to make it a regular routine! What a beautiful way to celebrate your Mom and offer her the opportunity to nurture herself the way she has nurtured you. And remember to nurture yourself while you’re at it!