tofino spa - steaming hot winters

Steaming Hot Winters at the Wickaninnish Inn

by Sarah Platenius, Tofino


The Ancient Cedars Spa at the Wickaninnish in Tofino offers a top quality spa experience. To some of us a spa can seem snobby. Don't let this turn you off. When a friend and I recently went to steam, a cheery woman at the front desk graciously welcomed us and offered us the experience we so desired–to warm our bodies from the inside out, detox, and have an "out of town" experience. We were able to do all this for thirty-dollars (less than lunch would cost for two) and the benefits are outstanding.

North American's often see spas as purely cosmetic and though some treatments are cosmetic others–Acupuncture, Shiatsu, Deep Tissue Massage and the steam room–are not. They are an investment in your health. In Poland, spas are known as "health resorts" with a full staff of medical professionals. The facilities offer preventative and recovery treatments for a wide range of illnesses. Although North America is still far from this kind of preventative & recovery medicine, most spas have effective treatments for relieving stress and easing chronic pain. They also have steam rooms. The thermal application of warm water evokes a nervous and muscular response – our nervous system responds by increasing circulation of blood and lymph which leads to changes at the cellular, tissue and organ levels. When blood circulates more freely, it increases local tissue metabolism. The sweating acts as a local analgesic and mobilizes the body's defense against disease. When we sweat and breathe more deeply, blood shifts from the core to the periphery and we experience deep muscle relaxation. Steam helps draw toxins out of our bodies and clears our lungs.

(Caution: consult a physician prior to using a steam room if you suffer from heart conditions, hypertension, or decreased sensitivity to heat or pain).

At the Ancient Cedars Spa in Tofino, my friend and I disrobe and enter the "Rainforest Steam" room wrapped in nothing but a towel. The steam is infused with eucalyptus and wintergreen and immediately the steam begins to penetrate our lungs and pores. One of us cools off by using the cold water shower in a corner of the steam room. At one point, we wrap ourselves in our towels and step outside to a clear night sky hardly feeling winter, then back to the warmth.

We left feeling relaxed, almost giddy (what was the steam infused with?) and red in the face. It was like having a massage, a facial and a hot bath all in one! Upon leaving, the Ancient Cedars Spa manager informed us that a locals night will be available starting in February for winter months (check below for details). The steam room reminded me that I still have a body under all these clothes. The warmth of the steam felt like Mexico but costs a lot less.

Tofino Time Magazine February 2003

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tofino time february 2003

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