Regularly voted one of the world’s most liveable cities, Zurich has long been defined by the banking industry and the financially savvy who live there. Perhaps this is about to change as people wake up to where true health, happiness and wellness reside. Blessed with majestic mountains and abundant alpine flora, there is no doubt that Switzerland is one of Mother Earth’s natural healing places.
Renowned Swiss psychotherapist Carl Jung based his practice in Zurich and one can’t help but wonder how the geography and people provided endless inspiration to his collection of works and influenced Zurich’s holistic wellness scene. Discover Zurich’s top holistic centres for health and healing for all that live and visit here.
DOLDER GRAND SPA AT THE DOLDER GRAND
From its sun-drenched vantage over the city and spectacular views of Lake Zurich, the Dolder Grand Hotel and Spa oozes tradition and contemporary elegance. After a four-year closure for renovation, the 176-room Dolder Grand reopened its doors in 2008 to reveal a spectacular new wing and a 4,000-sqm spa that make it the undeniable crème of Zurich spas. The spa concept and design by American Sylvia Sepielli will thrill even the most experienced spa lover, but also win accolades from those who seek holistic wellness experiences.
The suites in the luxurious new spa wing are spacious and luminated with opulent bathrooms made of sand-coloured Jura limestone. At the Dolder Grand Spa, the softly lit spa oases are identical for men and women; and it is clear from the starry ceiling, orange-scented Turkish bath, dry sauna, cold plunge pool, Jacuzzi tubs and combined aroma and chromotherapy stations that they were precisely designed to meet your needs to revitalise or relax.
Beyond the large indoor pool and hot tub, the outdoor relaxation terrace offers generous views of the city, loungers, warm jet pool and an eight-foot plunge pool. The Spa fuses contemporary design and Japanese influences with unique accents like black-pebbled Tsunaburo loungers, Kotatsu footbaths and snow chill-out room.
Your journey to wellness is comprehensive with beauty treatments for the face and body, as well as distinct programmes to restore physical, mental and spiritual well-being. Created to bring complete wellness, guests can be guided to find precisely what they need with The Dolder Grand Life Balance programme: Relax, Beauty, Vitality and Detox.
Both new and experienced meditators will love the 60-minute Meditation of the Senses (Relax), which starts with a guided meditation walk to a beautiful mirrored cupola room where you are invited to consciously awaken your senses to the experience of sight, sound, smell, touch and taste. Explore the woods behind this hilltop resort with a guided Nordic walk or join in on fitness, Pilates and yoga class (Vitality). Created to support the Life Balance programme, the Spa Cafe offers a healthy menu: but once you’ve changed your robe for evening wear, I suggest you enjoy the panoramic sun terrace of the Garden Restaurant for exceptional views and divine al fresco dining. www.thedoldergrand.com
When we live for authenticity and truth, we are connected to a place of deep personal power; and this is exactly what is at the heart of integrated healing centre Silent Power. The inconspicuous penthouse healing centre in Altstetten has a natural ethereal quality that celebrates exotic design elements from the East. Silent Power offers treatments from many ancient and worldly healing traditions, as well as rooftop yoga and monthly meditation gatherings. It is refreshing to find Yvonne Waldraff and Biljana Sabally offering healings that extend beyond the conventions of allopathic medicine and yet complement it so beautifully.
Among the essential offerings at Silent Power, shamanic healing sessions aim to remove energies that are inappropriately present and to return energies that have been lost. The elements and senses are awakened with crystals, burning herbs, drums, touch and messages that are received to offer guidance and remind us of our greater connection to all. Similarly, negative energies such as emotions, spirits, thoughts, projections or other psychic charges that linger in home and work environments are cleared to free the space and bring more light to those that dwell there.
For a hands-on treatment, try an Esalen or lymphatic drainage massage with Doris Bernet – a gracious and skilled bodyworker who has more than 25 years of experience. Esalen is a full body treatment that incorporates breathing and various elements of Swedish, Asian, Hawaiian and Polarity massage. Adapted to each client’s needs, the long strokes, passive joint movements and deep structural work on muscles loosen energetic blocks and create a meditative experience that leaves you feeling balanced and relaxed. www.silentpower.org
HAMMAM & SPA AT STADTBAD ZURICH
Located in the historical Volkshaus, Stadtbad Zürich goes underground and takes the earth element to a soothing and deeper level. The subterranean hammam and wellness space was restored in 2011 and features a beautifully designed hammam, lounge and treatment rooms. Like a large black river stone, the warm navel stone is at the centre of the hammam, with a Finnish sauna, plunge pool, brine-mist shower, steam bath and bathing niches surrounding it. The treatment menu has broad appeal with hammam specialties, holistic care and finishing touches – all in the hands of exceptionally skilled therapists.
The Seaweed Thalasso therapy uses the powerful healing, strengthening and purifying power of spirulina and offers extraordinary benefits to those who wish to detoxify and lose weight. After a time in the hammam’s steam room, the body is receptive to a light citrus and salt scrub before the mineral-rich spirulina mask is wrapped around the body to induce sweat. While cocooned, the body is further relaxed with reflexology and massage to the feet and head before showering and a therapeutic long-stroke massage with delicate oils.
Regular treatments will offer the best results, and consultation with the in-house clinician is recommended for those wishing to optimise their health. Relax in the inviting lounge with a fresh spirulina smoothie that enhances the detoxification from the inside out. The Volcano Snow treatment is a wonderful adjunct to your time in the hammam: lying on a heated marble table in a private massage area within the hammam, the treatment combines Swiss alpine herbal oil massage followed by alternating hot lava stone and crushed ice to invigorate the body and senses.
AYURVEDA HEALTH CENTER
Minutes from the lake and central Bellevue, locals and visitors alike can now enjoy the rich world of Ayurveda – Zurich’s first authentic and dedicated Ayurvedic centre. Opened in October 2014, the Ayurveda Health Center is devoted to bringing the ancient Indian science of medicine to the modern city. Unlike allopathic medicine, Ayurveda looks at prevention as well as active treatment of presenting conditions. Manu Manikantan is the centre’s Ayurvedic doctor and he brings vast knowledge and experience from Kerala, India where he studied and worked at leading Ayurveda centres before bringing his expertise to Switzerland.
Those familiar with spa concepts may dismiss the significance of a consultation with Manu; however, with the analysis of your prakruti (natural disposition) he is able to identify your dosha (dominating elements) and the best therapies for you to maintain optimal health. After my consultation, therapist Vikash Ramsurn is briefed before preparing the oils according to my dosha and presenting needs. The Marma point massage activates energetic points from head to toe using pressure and long abhyanga strokes with Ayurvedic oils from India. The experience takes me back to India and my body feels exquisitely relaxed, energised and warmed.
The Shirodhara treatment need only be experienced once to understand why it is the perfect antidote for balancing the stress of our busy lives. Lying on the genuine neem dharapathi, the copper pot drizzles warm oil across my forehead and takes me to an abyss of soul-soothing
Relaxation. A welcomed addition to holistic care in Zurich, the centre embodies the best of India with yoga, authentic Ayurvedic knowledge and products and even swedana (detoxifying steam box) to not only provide essential care, but also a vital bridge of support to those preparing for, or returning from, Ayurvedic care in India. www.ayurvedahealthcenter.ch
LABO Spa is an urban spa sanctuary located in central Zurich. The tranquil two-level spa is soothing with an interior of dark wood, shale and high-ceiling treatment rooms that enhance the feeling of expansion and ease. The relaxation room offers privacy with curtained daybeds, tea and fruits. The therapists are experienced and have excellent product knowledge that only enriches your visit. A signature favourite is the Seasonal Delight – 105 minutes of tailored skin care according to the season. With a delicious balance of body massage and facial treatment, you will feel renewed and feather light as you step onto the street to explore Zurich’s bijou cafes and boutiques.
We take an average of 10,000 steps every day, and there is no doubt that your feet deserve a bit of love and sparkle. The good news is, the best pedi in Zurich can be found at the footlounge by LABO Spa located just around the corner from the LABO Spa. You will feel like a kid in a candy shop with 260 colours to choose from, making it the largest OPI polish collection in Zurich. Travelling with a companion? Relax into the ever so comfortable loungers with warm neck pillows and enjoy the perfect pedi for two with the Let’s do Lunch pedicure, which includes seasonal fruits during your treatment and lunch to follow. Delicious. www.labospa.ch
Perfectly located in what is affectionately called the ‘Goldcoast of Lake Zurich’ is a gem of a healing space. Seeschau was born out of a vision by expressive arts therapist Regula Curti, who, years later, designed a “space for inner sound” with impeccable detail. She felt that the “crystal-clear transparency of the architecture will encourage visitors to contemplate and allow them to explore and expand their sense of self-awareness”, and she has beautifully succeeded.
Entering through the gates, a Zen-like pebble path guides you past a mighty sequoia tree to the four-level Seeschau. Built from inside out, the clear and uncomplicated modular interior naturally invites the guest to be silent and thoughtful. Guests enter glass doors to face a spectacular subterranean room that incorporates the building’s original stonewalls and holds space for yoga and music therapy. Walking up the spiral ‘kundalini’ staircase, the next level features a Zen garden that sees through the interior space to the lake.
With all glass walls, the top and final floor affords a beautiful view of Lake Zurich – making it the perfect respite for body therapies. Drawing upon his background in Asian martial arts, hatha yoga and Lu Jong, Michael Schörnig is dedicated to a holistic approach to wellness. Working gently but deeply, his signature structural bodywork treatment at Seeschau is the Deep Fascia and Tissue Release Massage – a powerful technique to open and release the tight connective tissue that gets gummed up, limiting our range of motion over time. The most common areas of deep-rooted tension are located in the neck, back and shoulders. However, Schörnig’s understanding of the body produces results after a single session with subsequent treatments offering profound benefits to the body.
FITNESSPARK HAMAM MÜNSTERGASSE
Set in Zurich’s historical old town, the Fitnesspark Hamam Münstergasse hosts a large gym and fitness facility as well as the Hamam-Day-Spa. The hammam is conveniently set up with clear stations for ease of use from the moment you enter the heated herbal steam room right through to your final rest on the navel stone. The accents are effective with copper water basins backdropped with terracotta walls, Turkish tiled floors and Moroccan lanterns that scatter light around the rooms. A pestemal is worn in all areas except the kese scrub rooms; however, women have the option of a private kese scrub room if they prefer. The warm pool is tiled in Italian glass and offers a place of rest from the detoxifying heated herbal steam room.
The Rhassoul room is worth a visit, where you apply a cleansing mud to your entire body before steaming and showering. The therapy room is a collective experience with six massage tables for day spa treatments, such as classic hammam soap massages or the Amira hand and foot massage. Linger in the ambient temperature of the two-level relaxation room, where the day beds offer the perfect place to relax and enjoy peppermint tea or oriental delicacies from the deli-bistro. www.fitnesspark.ch
Atem is the German word for breath, and it is the core concept behind Transformational Breath practitioner Daniela Rusconi’s Atem Training. The lit space has minimal decorations or distractions, and it is easy to feel a sense of spaciousness in the intimate practice located in the quaint area called Idaplatz. Atem Training uses three core practices to assist clients to come back to centre: Life Coaching, Transformational Breath and Trager Massage. All modalities are available individually, however they complement each other so beautifully that maximum benefit can be received by combining all three. With a cup of tea in hand, sessions begin with a check-in to identify presenting issues before moving to the mat for the breath session.
Transformational Breath is a specific breathing technique that was developed by American Dr Judith Kravitz in the early 80s. The benefits of practice are three-fold: the body is fed with significant amounts of oxygen on inhalation and releases toxins (CO2) on exhalation; the preoccupied mind is released as one’s body and emotions are inhabited more fully; and our awareness expands beyond the limited self. The shifts in the body are incredible as energy moves in the form of emotions, visions, physical sensations, and it is little wonder that a single session has been credited with the effectiveness of two years of psychotherapy.
To follow the breathing session with Trager Massage assists with the process of embodiment. Lying on a massage table, the passive limbs are rocked in a smooth and supported motion to facilitate a state of complete surrender and to strengthen the connection to the body. Rusconi is sensitive and her insights into your present state offer a beautiful key to living more authentically and at ease. On a regular but limited schedule, yoga and the Feldenkrais Method complement the core offerings at Atem Training.