We’ve all enjoyed the family vacation and the occasional road trip but a fast growing new kind of vacation is what is being called, the wellness vacation!

What exactly is wellness travel?

According to the Wellness Tourism Association, wellness travel allows the traveler to maintain, enhance, or kick-start a healthy lifestyle, and support or increase one’s sense of wellbeing. 

Chicago Northwest is home to a collection of wellness and health-centered partners who are experts in helping guests enrich the mind, body and spirit. 

The Grove Fitness Studio

“The whole jump start of exercise and vacation has been growing for the past several years,” said Linda Fanning, an instructor at The Grove Fitness Studio in Rolling Meadows. She believes part of the reason for its popularity is due to the growth in the wide variety of workshops and activities available today. 

The Grove Fitness Studio is one of Rolling Meadows Park District’s hidden gems. Services offered include Pilates Reformer, Zumba and yoga programming.

Linda Fanning is a group fitness instructor at The Grove and specializes in Pilates Reformer classes. She says guests can expect to experience the Six Principles of Pilates: concentration, control, center, flow, precision and breathing.  Pilates is perfect for the wellness travelers and all guests suffering from the aches and pains of arthritis and sport born injuries.  

“As we age we start to notice things we can’t do or things become rickety or slow down and we can reverse the aging process through movement and good health.”

The Rolling Meadows Park District says an added benefit of attending its Pilates Reformer classes is affordability; packages are typically more affordable than private studios. If someone visits for a few days, The Grove offers a drop in price of $28. If you're a local, you can take advantage of the studio’s 12-pack of classes that can be purchased for $18 a class.

The Salt Escape

Opened in 2019, The Salt Escape in Arlington Heights offers 50-minute sessions inside its “cave” filled with Himalayan pink salt imported from Pakistan. Guests can play in the salt, lay in zero gravity chairs or simply relax to breathe in the salt.

“This is something new in our area that can attract more people or can just be overall great for the people that live here,” said Salt Escape staff member Caroline Kusmierz. 

The Salt Escape team says it offers public and private sessions making the experience great for groups looking to de-stress after a long day of meetings.  It is also great for couples wanting to relax together.

Salt therapy, also known as halotherapy, is an alternative treatment for a wide variety of ailments and conditions such as anxiety, sleeplessness, allergies, asthma, inflammation, and even the common cold. Many visitors have shared that they can breathe easier and have a calmer, more elevated state of mind after their sessions.

Kusmierz says a session at the Cave is comparable to two to three days on a beach. Visitors are welcome to meditate, nap or simply zen-out however they feel comfortable. 

A single session at The Salt Escape costs $40 but the salt spa also offers a four session package for $100 that can be split between four guests.

The Spa at Eaglewood

Tucked in beautiful Itasca, Illinois, wellness-seeking tourists can find The Spa at Eaglewood. Visitors can expect all-around tranquility during a visit. 

All guests who receive spa services at The Spa will also have access to all available amenities on the day of their treatment, either before or after their appointment. Among them are a zen relaxation room with a water fountain, a 25 meter indoor pool, an indoor hot tub, and complimentary tea, infused water and healthy snacks. Spa staff say their facility makes for a great stop for tourists.

“Especially now, more than ever, people are really needing wellness,” said The Spa at Eaglewood manager Jamie Johnson. “The whole reason [for] going on vacation is to relax and rejuvenate. Hopefully to find some healing.”

Spa services are divided into two sections: traditional and signature treatments. Traditional appointments include deep tissue and sacred stone massages, traditional and gentleman’s facials. Signature appointments include Himalayan salt or bamboo massages and firming Vibrant-C and marshmallow soothing facials. Johnson says depending on someone’s skin type, professionals consult them on the appropriate facials to receive. 

“A massage, a facial service or even nail service. Pampering yourself does help to boost your immune system, which we all need right now.”

Prices vary depending on the service. All prices include gratuity.

Enlightened Dispensary

As of January 1, 2020, it is legal for adults 21 and over to purchase, possess, and consume cannabis for recreational use in Illinois.

Among the dispensaries to open for business after legalization is Enlightened Dispensary in Schaumburg. The cannabis store opened its doors for business in April 2021. In the last nine months, Enlightened has seen first-hand the impact cannabis is having on tourism.

Every customer is greeted by a cannabis guide who helps lead them through a journey of the products available and to learn about the customer’s goals. Enlightened strives to create a unique purchasing experience centered around education, knowledge and transparency. The store has a variety of products including infused chocolate bars, pre-rolled flower or body oils. 

The Enlightened staff also wants to make sure they’re educating consumers on why cannabis is a part of alternative medicine.

“A lot of stores don’t take the time to highlight the wellness that goes along with some of the products that are available in the industry,” said Whitley. “Not only do we take the opportunity to highlight those but our store shows every single product before you purchase it.”

“Our cannabis guides are thoroughly trained in understanding how to mix and match to give you what it is that you’re looking for. Whether it’s relaxation of the body, mind or maybe helping with soreness.” 

But there are rules.

In-state recreational users can buy and possess up to 30g of flower, 500 mg of edibles and 5g of concentrates. Out-of-state users can buy and possess up to 15g flower, 250 mg of edible and 2.5g of concentrates.

“Every product that is sold in a dispensary, in a specific state, has to be cultivated in that state. It [can only be] transported within those state lines.” 

These are a few of your options in Chicago Northwest for wellness travel.  For more to do when you visit, head on over to our wellness page.