Monday, Dec. 14, 2009

Hay Bath

Hotel Heubad Spa, Völs am Schlern, Italy

Fancy a roll in the hay in the Italian Alps? Don't get fresh. Hay bathing, a tradition for more than a hundred years, is popular at the Hotel Heubad Spa. Burrow in moist, fermenting hay for about 20 minutes before being transferred to a couch to rest for another 30. The hay, heated to 40°C (104°F) opens up pores, which aids in detoxifying the body. The procedure is also supposed to soothe aches and pains and stimulate the metabolism, according to the hotel.

This isn't just your run-of-the-mill hay, of course. For Heubad's treatment, grasses are cut mid-July to early August from a specific area of the Dolomites, some 2,000 m above sea level. The hay-bathing practice was discovered by tired field workers who found themselves refreshed after sleeping in hay at night despite long hours of manual labor.