Canada’s Nordic Spas

Travel to Quebec or Montreal to experience the bath circuit’s healing powers.

Traditionally, Nordic spas are known for their bath circuit, which involves alternating between heat (in a dry sauna, whirlpool, or eucalyptus steam bath) and cold (taking an icy plunge in a river or pool, or a cold shower). And though they started in Scandinavia, at some point they migrated west to Canada. 

According to a recent study from the University of Eastern Finland, the Finnish sauna, and similar experiences like a eucalyptus steam bath and hot bath sessions, can increase blood flow to the skin and muscles. On the flipside, a study from Virginia Commonwealth University found that as little as seven minutes in 60-degree water can also increase blood flow, in addition to ramping up white blood cell count and kicking the cardiovascular system into high gear, thereby boosting metabolism.  Alternating between the two may have even more perks for athletes as doing so creates a “pumping” effect in the muscle tissues which can assist in clearing out metabolic waste.

From urban havens in the heart of major cities to snow-covered lodges nestled deep in the woods, here are six of the best Nordic spas in Canada.