A Whisking Spa Journey: Finding Bliss at Setsu Niseko

  • By Tsuyuki

Imagine a wellness retreat weekend where your senses are pampered, your body rejuvenated, and your mind serenely adrift. That's exactly what we experienced during our recent Whisking Forest Sauna Retreat at Setsu Niseko. From the 25th to the 27th of August, we embarked on a journey of tranquillity; the highlight of the weekend was the Forest Sauna experience with Miki Tokairin, one of the world’s leading forest sauna masters.

Miki Tokairin's passion for forest sauna rituals, or as it is fondly called, "Whisking Sauna," spans eight years of dedicated research, practice, and mentoring. Her journey has taken her across the globe, from the tranquil forests of the Baltics to the serene landscapes of Scandinavia, in search of the ultimate sauna experience.

Our wellness retreat garnered much interest and curiosity, and rave reviews from those guests who were fortunate enough to partake in the Forest Sauna experience. Now, we're thrilled to share this unique wellness experience with you.

The Enchanting World of Forest Sauna

So, what exactly is Forest Sauna or Whisking Sauna? It's an age-old practice where a sauna whisk, known as 'Vihta' in Finnish, a bundle of young twigs with leaves, transforms your sauna session into a sensory journey. These twigs stir the air, gently brushing against your skin, promoting better blood circulation, skin cleansing, and a host of other benefits, depending on the type of tree used for the whisk.

While saunas have gained popularity worldwide, they may not be everyone's cup of tea. The Forest Sauna experience at Setsu Niseko, however, offers a unique gateway to sauna bliss for those who might not have enjoyed it before. For seasoned sauna lovers, it offers an advanced and even more delightful way to embrace the magic of sauna therapy.

At Setsu Niseko, the sauna experience is unlike any other. It's a harmonious fusion of Onsen and Sauna, providing an enchanting way to harness the healing powers of both. Imagine relaxing in our extensive spa and wellness centre after a day of adventure amidst Niseko's natural beauty.

The Forest Sauna Experience Unveiled

As you step into the sauna, you notice a subtle aroma, carefully selected to enhance your sauna experience. This fragrance is tailored to suit the day, it might be something fresh on hot summer days, or one with a warmer, spicier note on colder days. The aroma creates the misty air, creating a soothing and relaxing atmosphere as it floats gently around you.

Once you're comfortably settled, the whisking begins. You're handed a small bunch of fresh herbs to feel and smell at any time during the session. As you inhale deeply, the fragrant blend of the whisk, the fresh local herbs in your hands and the day's aroma fill your senses. 

One of the great features of forest sauna is that you lose track of time. You’ll find yourself simply enjoying the gentle lashes on your face and immersing yourself in total relaxation. Before you know it, beads of sweat have formed on your skin. 

At this point, each guest receives a body salt scrub scented with the day's herbs. As you gently rub the salt scrub onto your skin and relax with a cream face mask, you will fall in love with the rejuvenating effects it has on your skin. 

But the adventure doesn't end there. Next, it’s time to step out, shower and immerse yourself in a cold water plunge bath, pushing your limits until you can endure it no more, and then comes the reward - a dip in the perfect moderate temperature of the onsen. 

It is hard to put it into words to describe the sensation your body experiences after completing these 3 steps - Sauna, Cold Bath, and Onsen. It's something you must experience to truly comprehend the profound sense of well-being it imparts.

Completing the Journey

To complement the sauna experience, some of our guests headed to Studio En,  Setsu Niseko’s on-site yoga studio for some gentle exercise to recharge energy levels. Staying well-hydrated after your sauna sessions is vital. We decided to steer away from alcoholic drinks for the day and opted instead for one of our local favourites at méli mélo - Yuki No Koe-, with a refreshing glass of Hakko Ginger, a craft ginger beer made with the finest ingredients from Hokkaido and beyond.

A restful night's sleep is practically guaranteed, and you'll wake up the next day feeling completely rejuvenated and brimming with energy. The Forest Sauna experience at Setsu Niseko is not just a spa journey; it's a retreat for the senses, a blissful escape from the world, and a journey to rediscover your inner peace.

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