Dr Marc Cohen, professor at Australia’s RMIT University and board member of the Global Wellness Summit, has launched a series of ‘extreme’ wellness retreats focusing on hot and cold water and breathing techniques.
The retreats – Extreme Bathing and Adventure Bathing – invite participants to explore the limits of hot and cold, breathing and breath retention, and exertion and relaxation at hot springs resorts, including Peninsula Hot Springs in Australia and Maruia Hot Springs in New Zealand.
The first retreat was held during World Wellness Weekend in September at Peninsula Hot Springs, and Cohen will bring the programming to Maruia Hot Springs – an off-the-grid eco-oasis in the centre of New Zealand’s South Island at which he is a co-owner – in November 2018.
“This retreat comes as the culmination of 30 years’ experience studying, researching and teaching Western and Eastern medicine, herbal medicine, nutrition, organic food, yoga, meditation, breathwork, saunas, hot springs, bathing, martial arts, elite athletic performance, dance, the Wim Hof Method and attending and running festivals, conferences, retreats and treks at venues around the world,” said Cohen. “As one of the owners of Maruia Hot Springs, this retreat is very special to me as Maruia Hot Springs is where I had a peak experience that profoundly influenced my life.
“Over 16 years ago, I found myself at lying immersed in Maruia Springs natural geothermal water under a full moon, surrounded by snow and white-capped mountains and had an epiphany,” Cohen explained. “I felt at one with my surroundings and realised hot springs were who I am, and that it is possible to transform the world through bathing.”
Cohen met Charles Davidson, CEO of Peninsula Hot Springs, soon after this experience, and the two have since written post-graduate wellness programmes, helped found the Global Thermal Think Tank, and most recently, launch the Bathe the World Foundation and World Bathing Day.
Cohen and Davidson purchased Maruia Hot Springs two years ago, along with other investors, and have transformed it from what Cohen calls a “quirky Japanese onsen” into an “award-winning eco-retreat and wellness wonderland”.
“I feel a unique bond with this land as if it has called me in, and now I will be using all my past learnings to create a unique and powerful retreat experience for a very select group of lucky guests,” said Cohen.
The retreat aims to help guests expand their experiences of comfort relaxation and joy, and to explore the edge of their comfort zones, as well as to discover lifestyle tweaks to overcome pain, inflammation and procrastination.
Guests will also work on focused breathing and relaxation in order to “access the deep inner-well of your being and hack into your biological operating system”, and will practice mastery over mind and body.
The retreat hopes to help guests build resilience and foster self-confidence, and will include forest bathing, sauna bathing, adventure bathing and bathing in Maruia’s natural geothermal pools, as well as “fantastic feasts”.
Spa Business identified 'extreme bathing' as a trend to watch in the 2017/2018 Foresight section of the annual Spa Business Handbook