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Journey to wellness on a spiritual trip

Time to retreat and reflect

Joan Westlake

HealthKey contributor

October 26, 2009

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If you're recovering from an illness or the loss of a loved one, a journey toward wellness is sped along with a trip to a spiritual destination. Perhaps a visit to a religious monastery or ancient spring or New Age vortex is just what the doctor ordered.

Monasteries are an increasingly popular venue for getting away from it all. Inexpensive and austere, they provide the quintessential escape for the body and rejuvenation for the soul. Sanctuaries: A Guide to Lodgings in Monasteries, Abbeys, and Retreats of the United States by Jack and Marcia is the bible of religious lodgings across the nation. Including 127 places they've personally visited, there are more than 1,000 listings including Catholic, Episcopalian, Buddhist, Hindu, Sufi and Jewish havens plus a few with no religious affiliation. Find the book at www.monasteries.net. Book an Italian retreat at www.monasterystays.com. Discover a wide range of spiritual retreat centers around the world at www.expandretreats.com.

The use of healing spring waters dates back 5,000 years to the Bronze Age. There's an ocean of medical evidence that in addition to relieving stress, some mineral water can help the body heal from a host of illnesses. In Healing Springs: The Ultimate Guide to Taking the Waters, author Nathaniel Altman describes 325 of the world's best hot springs from legendary European spas to best-kept-secret American springs. For a searchable list of more than a thousand hot springs in the United States, go to http://deepcreekhotsprings.net.

Any New Ager worth their crystals knows of the legendary vortex sites in Sedona, Ariz. From mystical tours to world-class spas such as Mi Amo, there are countless ways to rejuvenate. Go to www.sedonachamber.com and, under the business directory, search "Metaphysical and Spiritual Services."

Also on the spirit list of those who know is New Mexico. "The Land of Enchantment," has always been a global destination for natural healing. Elizabeth Bryant, PhD, a doctor of natural science who moved to New Mexico from Aspen, Colo. four years ago, says her new locale is "so magical, I never look back." Check the business directory at www.newmexico.org for healing spas and wellness centers.

To be with those who truly understand your experience, check out the many healing workshops around the country and around the world just for breast cancer survivors. Here are a few: