Around the World with DAYSPA: Nordic Spa Traditions

Canada’s Nordik Spa-Nature
Canada’s Nordik Spa-Nature

For many of us, the term “Nordic” conjures images of well-padded skiers soaring down snow-covered mountains—not indulging in centuries-old spa traditions. But Nordic spa culture, with roots in wellness rituals first practiced in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden 700 years ago, has evolved into a popular touch point for spas around the world today.

With its founding countries’ proximity to the sea and accompanying archipelago, the heart of Nordic spa-dom lies in bathing routines characterized by the use of indigenous birch, rigorous exfoliation practices and a strategic combination of steam and water in varying temperatures. And spas, especially those located in colder climates, have found ingenious ways to replicate those original experiences, improving upon them through the use of modern-day amenities and luxurious settings. Saunas, steam rooms, solariums, showers, waterfalls, pools and plunges provide clients with a tantalizing array of methods to detox and become invigorated, Nordic-style.

We checked in with four Nordic-inspired spas to learn more about how this beloved tradition is being upheld in today’s modern spa world:
BALNEA, located one hour south of Montreal in the heart of Eastern Townships, Quebec, Canada, opened 2005
Grand Hotel Nordic Spa & Fitness, located in Stockholm, Sweden, opened 2009
Nordik Spa-Nature, located in the village of Chelsea (near Ottawa) in Quebec, Canada, opened 2005 (locations are planned for Winnipeg, Manitoba, in spring 2013 and Whitby, Ontario, in 2014)
Scandinave day spas and resorts, with four locations in Canada: Whistler, Montreal, Blue Mountain and Mont Tremblant, opened 2010—By Linda Kossoff