09/25/2013 07:19 EDT

Russian Banya Spa Treatment Poised To Become 2013 Health And Wellness Trend

A man and two women in a sauna (banya) of the sanatorium 'slavino', one of the best of its kind in the area, the sanatorium was built by west-siberian steel works for those employed by the enterprises of the region, kemerovo region of russia, 2003. (Photo by: Sovfoto/UIG via Getty Images)

(Relaxnews) - If the idea of being thwacked by branches and leaves as part of your spa treatment doesn’t scare you, consider signing up for the latest spa trend inspired by a thousand-year-old tradition out of Russia.

According to trendspotters at Condé Nast Traveller UK, after Ayurvedic and Turkish baths, Russian banyas are poised to be the next big, mainstream spa trend currently gaining steady popularity across Europe.

Not unlike hamams, the Russian banya treatment is also based on wet steam, which is supposed to help detoxify the body. And the practice of what may appear to be self-flagellation with birch, oak or eucalyptus twigs and leaves is said to help improve blood circulation.

Russian banyas were also singled out by as one of the top global spa and wellness trends for 2013, driven by an overall desire for ethnic, authentic treatments that extend beyond traditional Western spa experiences.

Expats abroad and spas around the world, meanwhile, are exporting the Russian tradition to different parts of the world.

At Banya No.1 in east London, for instance, steam sessions are followed by a honey and sea salt body scrub, the traditional ‘birch thwack’ and a plunge into an ice bath to boost circulation.

Bear and Birch recreates the Russian experience in New Jersey, while an immigrant family has set up a Russian tea room and bath house just outside Toronto at the South-Western Bathhouse.

For a more upscale version, iconic Parisian hotel Le Bristol also includes a Russian-style spa treatment called the “Russie Blanche,” which focuses on energizing and destressing.

Other trends being seen in the spa world include hotels built around health and wellness; name-brand fitness programs (think CrossFit, Skinny Jeans Workout, and Yogalates); and male-oriented beauty services such as male waxing and threading.

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