(BPT) - Why do you go on vacation? Why does anyone go on vacation?

The standard answers are to unwind, see someplace new or decompress. Everyone has their reasons, and increasingly, one word has come to summarize not just why we go on vacation, but why we must go on vacation.

That word is wellness.

A wellness vacation can include many different activities, from spa treatments to healthy eating, exercising or meditation. Many people balance the relaxing with physical activities, such as hiking or paddling. Whatever you choose, the fundamental idea is self-care, healing both your mind and your body.

Wellness opportunities in Ely

Ely has some unique ways to unwind and rejuvenate that you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else.

Let’s begin by talking about forest bathing. Don't get us wrong. It's not a bath. There's no water or disrobing involved. It's a relatively new term for an old concept, one that most everyone comes to Ely to experience: Connecting with nature.

Popular in Japan, the idea behind forest bathing is that just like bathing with water is essential to wash away the grime and dirt from the day, so can connecting with nature wash away the stress and provide relief from the busy, working world. Due to its positive effect on mental health and an individual’s well-being, the practice has become widely adopted throughout the country. It means slowing down and experiencing the stunning, quiet beauty of the wilderness.

In Ely, local spas and the folk school host group outings where people hike into the forest, learn about trees, sit quietly and allow nature to soothe their thoughts.

Forest bathing is particularly effective with city dwellers who spend most of the day indoors and, when they go outside, they’re surrounded by concrete and asphalt.

Cap off your wilderness adventure

Now, the classic way to really treat yourself well is through a visit to the spa. While many people think of flannel shirts and rough lumberjack types when they think about Ely, there are several world-class spas here.

And believe us, those tough lumberjack types are no stranger to these places.

Of course, a deep tissue massage, body wrap or hydrotherapy is a treat at any point in your life, but to indulge in one of these wellness treatments after a day spent hiking or paddling is the height of luxury.

So whether you spent the day shopping in downtown Ely or are coming back from a four-day wilderness adventure, a spa treatment might be right up your alley.

With unique wellness opportunities, and an almost limitless supply of outdoor adventures and physical excursions, most people leave Ely feeling more refreshed, energized and at peace than they have in a long time.