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‘Wellness tourism’ becoming a booming business in Nova Scotia

Published by the Chronicle Herald

HEATHER LAURA CLARKE

Published October 21, 2016 – 2:50pm

Last Updated October 29, 2016 – 9:35am

 

Wellness tourism becoming a booming business in Nova Scotia

Acupuncturist Barbara Weinberg manages Gate of Life, the healing arts/wellness program at the start of the Cabot Trail and is part of a growing Wellness Tourism sector in Nova Scotia.

The mismatched tablecloths have been collected from all over the world, and the dining room feels like a comfortable living room. Most of the food is grown right on the property, and processed items are not on the menu. Guests are encouraged to “unplug” as much as possible, but that’s rarely an issue. They’re here for peace.

Every morning, Weinberg leads complimentary Qi Gong sessions and group meditations.

From there, guests of Cabot Shores can enjoy an infrared sauna and Japanese Ofuro soaking tubs outside and daily guided contemplative walks as well as yoga sessions, reiki treatments, massage therapy, journaling and acupuncture.

“We find people don’t fit into a mold,” says Weinberg. “We create a personalized retreat, often for someone who’s been through a lot of stress and needs three-five days to unwind.”

Weinberg says Cabot Shores also hosts group wellness retreats or small gatherings of friends who want to get together for a rejuvenating visit. She just hosted a large group of ladies in their 70s who travel to Cabot Shores every year from all over the U.S. for a university reunion.

“I’ve had teachers come at the end of the school year because they need a complete break before they start their holidays or move on to their next job,” says Weinberg. “We’ve also had people who have recently lost a parent and they were the major caretaker, so they need to find themselves again.”

She’s worked with Mi’kmaq elders to organize talking circles and medicine walks — thought of as “a walk of the senses.”

“You stay within hearing distance of the person drumming and explore the trails — wherever you’re called to walk,” says Weinberg. “You notice all of your senses — hear the wind, smell the flowers — and it just slows you down so you’re less in your head.”

As stress levels rise, so does the interest in wellness retreats like these. Weinberg says Cabot Shores has seen a dramatic increase in wellness guests over the last few years.

“It’s across the board — all ages, men and women. I’ve had a lot of teenagers meditating this past summer, which is encouraging,” says Weinberg. “I think the word is out. People are talking about the benefits you get from it, and young people are curious.”

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