When it comes to finding ways to relax, humans aren’t afraid of getting their hands dirty. Which can seem a bit contradictory, as we’re probably also the species to experience the most (unnecessary) stress. Contrary to other animals, we don’t just work to survive and meet our basic needs, we actually spend the majority of our week at work and we tend to define our identity through our job. You might agree with that vision or you might think we’ve missed the spot somewhere along the road, but one thing’s for sure – we’re stressed. A lot. So in order to solve that problem, we came up with ways in which to relax.
After a long week at work, for some there’s nothing like going to a spa for a thorough massage and a sauna session. Others prefer to blow off steam by going on a run, playing a set of tennis with mates or going for a swim. There’s yoga, mindfulness, therapy sessions and so on. With stress being so present in our lives, relaxing has become a goal (and maybe a stress factor?) in itself. And if you think that we’ve run out of new relaxing techniques, think again.
We’ve talked about bathing in beer before, but now we’re about to explore another alternative bathing technique. This time, there’s no water nor beer, instead, it’s all about wine. Or at least, the by-products of winery. Because no, vino therapy doesn’t mean you’re bathing in a tub of dinner-worthy vino. Nor does it mean you could just dive under and take a sip of your bath – although, admittedly, that would be awesome. Instead, in vino therapy, the residue of wine making, aka the pips and pulp, are put to use as a skin grooming, relaxing treatment.
1. The beginnings
Let’s be clear, vino therapy has been around for a while. The company which is perhaps best-known for their vino-based treatments is Caudalie. The French skincare company was founded in 1995 after Mathilde Thomas and her husband Bertrand Thomas met Professor Joseph Vercauteren, a polyphenols specialist from the Pharmacy University in Bordeaux. He told them about the benefits which could be found in the procyanidolic oligomers extracted from grape-seeds and a business was born.
Yet now, more and more companies are looking at and recognizing the benefits of vino therapy. The treatments associated with the wellness practice are thought to not only protect you from free radicals, yet there’s also talk about reducing wrinkles, treating acne, improving hair health etc. A long list of benefits indeed and in this case, there’s something to be said for the often misused proverb “if it doesn’t help then it won’t hurt”.
2. Vino and views
Especially when your vino therapy session takes place in a wonderful setting, as is the case with the recently-opened vino therapy baths in the Dutch town Valkenburg. Here, set on top of a hill called Cauberg, you’ll be able to enjoy a true vino bath with a view on the surrounding landscape. The new baths are the result of a collab between wellness center Thermae 2000 and nearby Wine Estate St. Martinus. The pulp of their Monarch grapes, extremely rich in antioxidants, is used to fill the baths for the spa goers. Before getting into the vino, you get to scrub yourself with an entirely natural grape scrub. Then you enter the bath, filled with grape pulp, grape seed oil, Calendula and rose petals.
According to wine expert and owner or St. Martinus Stan Beurskens, the antioxidant resveratrol, present in the Monarch grape, protects the skin from the harmful effects of UV radiation and pollution. On top of that, he says the antioxidant has the capacity to strengthen the skin and reduce wrinkles. For us, it’s all good, as long as we get to have a glass of vino while enjoying our rejuvenating bath.