You don’t realize how much you talk until someone asks you to be silent. When I arrived at Mont Tremblant’s Scandinave Spa Angelique Papadopoulos, Directrice Marketing greeted our group of weary travelers with a warm smile and an invitation to relax.
She showed us a map of pools, saunas and relaxation areas, and explained how we should start our hydrotherapy with a dip in a hot pool, followed by ten seconds of cold water, and then relax for fifteen minutes before repeating the sequence. “The sequence traps heat in your muscles,” Papadopoulous explained.
The hot tubs and steam bath sounded inviting but the cold choices were leaving me, frankly, cold.
I could stand under a cold shower or if feeling adventurous, hop into the Diable River winding by the spa. I was still reeling from the idea of ruining a warm feeling with an abrupt slosh of cold water when she made one other announcement “no talking in the spa”.
Phones and cameras were verboten – that made sense because I wanted to unplug and relax. But I hadn’t seen the ‘No talking’ edict coming. It seemed the contrast here wasn’t just between hot and cold, but between conversational chatter and quiet, and between looking inward versus outward.
I was eager to take the challenge.
The first pool was easy to slip into, the warm water soothing my tight muscles and the steam rising from the water tickling my nose. I dragged myself out after the prescribed ten minutes and decided I was getting cold for no longer than necessary. I tensed my recently relaxed muscles as I edged under the Nordic waterfall, liters of cold water pounding my shoulders. I gave those water droplets the minimum time needed to cool me off and I was out of there.
The next stop was a large hot pool a few steps from the river. There were other people in the pool but everyone was respecting the silent rule. I didn’t miss the small talk and with nothing to say, closed my eyes without feeling rude, letting the water pull months of tension from my muscles.
Thoroughly warmed, I wandered over to a hammock tucked into the forest along the river. It wasn’t a warm day but I was well-done from the hydrotherapy and laid back in the adult-version of a cradle. I rocked back and forth gazing up at the leaves, noticing veins and patterns I’d been oblivious to only hours before. I was so relaxed I feared I might start drooling!
I headed back for one more dip in the warm waters before lying on a lounger that resembled a half-cracked egg. A gentleman glided into sight with pieces of fruit and water infused with cucumber. “Would you like something?” He asked in a low voice. I was strangely reluctant to speak; the effort to form words suddenly an expensive use of energy. I settled for nodding and sipped the water with an appreciation I usually reserve for a fine Pinot Grigio.
The contrast between hot and cold, speaking and silence had done its work. I was reconnected to my inner guru, however zany she may be, and my mind, body and spirit were united in their relaxation response. The toughest part about this experience wasn’t the cold shower. It was leaving.
If you go:
Quebec’s Scandinave Spas are found at Mont Trembland and in Old Montreal. They are also found in Blue Mountain, Ontario and Whistler, B.C.
Hang your hat at Westin Resort & Spa located in the heart of Mont Tremblant’s pedestrian village and keep the relaxation going by walking to restaurants and shops.
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