5 Unusual Health Services to Add to Your Wellness Routine

Tired of the same old gym and spa routine? Spice things up with these unique treatments for a healthier body and mind  

Credit: Flickr/spencerdallen

Sure, you could boost your endorphins with a trip to the spa or the gym, or you could try something a little different

Vancouver’s got no shortage of tried-and-true health services and wellness providers, but if you’re game for something a little more unusual than a hot yoga class or a deep tissue massage, we’ve uncovered a crop of rogue providers whose out-of-the-box wellness services—including everything from whole-body vibration fitness to sensory deprivation therapy—can help you look and feel your best.

Credit: Gastown Float House Center Ltd.

Float House (70 West Cordova Street)

This Gastown business was created out of a belief that the practice of floating in a sensory deprivation tank can enhance one’s mental and physical health.

According to Float House co-founder Mike Zaremba, “Whether you use it for personal development, physiological benefits, psychological benefits or a combination of sorts, we believe it has the ability to deeply aid and impact anyone who sets forth into the warm, cozy, silky blackness [of an isolation tank].”

Just pop in a pair of earplugs, hop into one of five float tanks (specially engineered tubs containing “skin-temperature” water with nearly 1,000 pounds of dissolved Epsom salts), close the light- and sound-proof lid and settle in for a 90-minute session that’s said to decrease stress, relieve aches and pains and flood your body with happiness-producing endorphins.

Credit: Original Yin Qi Gong Gym

Original Yin (434 West 8th Avenue)

This boutique fitness studio provides training in Qi Gong: a series of traditional Chinese exercises said to promote increased flexibility and range of movement, a strengthened core, weight loss and restful sleep, and generally help your body take care of itself.

Though some of the exercises may appear easy compared with a hard-core gym workout, Original Yin founder Albert Chang says the benefits are not compromised and that “the best way to treat people is to train them to release old pains and grow new strength.”

Among the unique equipment available for client use at the studio: a range-of-motion machine, a trapeze table and a GyroGym—a human-powered gyroscope designed for deep-core conditioning.

Credit: Miraj Hammam Spa

Miraj Hammam Spa (1495 West 6th Avenue)

If the spa is a must, forget your typical West Coast spa treatment and try a soothing and beautifying spa service that draws from centuries-old traditions at Miraj Hammam Spa.

Mimicking a Turkish bath—long known as a place of cleansing and healing for both body and soul—this Middle Eastern-style spa off South Granville offers hammam, which allows your body to detox in a low-mist and high-intensity steam chamber, and gommage, which sees a therapist rub you down with exfoliating black Moroccan soap.

It all takes place in truly decadent digs (think Jerusalem gold marble, velvet beds, silk cushions and rich wooden cabinetry). Apres treatment, enjoy tea and cake in the spa’s luxurious lounge.

Credit: Pure Vibe Whole Body Vibration

Pure Vibe (2693 West Broadway)

Pressed for time and looking to get a one-hour workout in 10 minutes? According to Pure Vibe co-owner Dominica Bay, whole-body vibration—a technique provided in her Broadway studio—provides “a concise workout that delivers maximum results so you can get on with your day and feel great!”

The routine uses special machines with moving platforms that send pulses of kinetic energy through your body. As each wave moves through your limbs, some of the energy is absorbed by your body’s tissues and converted to heat, creating a warming effect in your muscles and joints.

The benefits of whole-body vibration: weight loss, increased metabolism, improved muscle tone, greater flexibility and core strength, and decreased cellulite. It also burns fat and calories, builds bone density and improves circulation.

Credit: Flickr/spencerdallen

Huff Oxygen (2052 Commercial Drive)

Did you know that the air you breathe can be enriched to offer even more benefits? At Huff Oxygen Bar in Kokopelli Hair Salon & Body Lounge on Commercial Drive, regular air is enhanced with additional oxygen for a plethora of positive payoffs, including increased metabolism, more energy and an overall healthier body.

Kokopelli manager Carie Ann Peterson says, “Oxidation converts carbohydrates, sugars, fats and proteins into heat and energy required for activity. Since oxygen is the main fuel required to oxidize your carbohydrates, sugars, fats and proteins into energy, a lack of oxygen will promote an inadequate oxidation process, which will result in a lower percentage of your foods turning into fat.”

You can even add a lovely, organic botanical aroma to your oxygen, from eucalyptus to vanilla, cinnamon, cherry or almond, to name a few. Aromatherapy is included in the price of a huff.

5 Unusual Health and Wellness Services