If there’s one thing I miss in the winter, it’s swimming: being immersed in warm water, of not being in control of my body for a few blissful minutes. When I think about what will cure my winter blues, the first thing that comes to mind is soaking in the sea. Just when I had resigned myself to another six months of missing the thing I enjoy most, a friend said something magical to me. “Have you tried the Water Journey at The Bodhi Spa? You must.” And just like that, what I had been dreaming of became a reality.
The Water Journey at Newport’s Bodhi Spa is a totally unique thing: a series of immersion pools and saunas, designed to promote circulatory health. By alternating hot and cold environments, the body is prompted to boost oxygen levels in the blood, clearing itself of toxins.
“We are the only spa of this kind in New England,” says co-owner Harmony Oschefski, “But I’m sure that won’t last very long. The art of hydrotherapy is an ancient tradition that has been practiced in many other cultures around the world for centuries.” She and business partner/sister Cedar Hwang both come from nautical backgrounds, but Bodhi Spa was inspired by Harmony’s world travels. “Something always drew me to the therapeutic hot springs and baths,” she says. “There was no better way to unwind after a long journey or even a simple day.”
The cycle of the Water Journey started with a cleansing shower, and then a ten-minute dip into a Dead Sea salt pool. One toe in that water and I was already sold. The pool was warm and effervescent, and immediately activated my relaxation switch. Then, we moved into the eucalyptus steam room, which was a blast of hot, scented air that did wonders for my lungs and sinuses. After all of that heat, it was time to take the plunge, literally, into the 50-degree cold plunge pool. I could feel ice in my bones for the longest minute of my life, but when I got out and into the dry sauna, I was glad I had done it. The rush of cold was intense, but the wave of bliss afterwards was completely worth it. It felt like I was baking warmth and sunshine into my body, storing it up for when I would inevitably have to leave the spa. Next up was another cleansing shower, a cold plunge and a soak in an Epsom salt pool. One more quick cold plunge and it was back to the Dead Sea salt pool to start the journey all over again.
The experience was at once relaxing and recharging. I was glad that I did it for myself, but I was even happier that I was able to share it with someone special. It isn’t often we take a few hours to unplug together, with no phones and few other people to distract us. A few weeks after we went, a coworker went with her husband and said the same thing: the time together was the best part. “I’ve always been fascinated with the miracle of the human body,” Harmony says. Miracles, indeed.
The Bodhi Spa
654 Thames Street, Newport