Love is in the air. Looking to show someone you care about how special they are to you? Or maybe a little treat for yourself? How about a little something in your own Nova Scotian backyard that feels a little out-of-this-world?

Let me explain…

It was a bright, sunny and -15 day a few weeks ago. Jen and I found ourselves walking through the woods in our bathing suits, crunching through the snow in our flip flops. We hadn’t temporarily lost our minds. We had the opportunity to spend the day at SENSEA Nordic Spa; Nova Scotia’s first and only Nordic spa conveniently located in Chester on the South Shore (less than a 45 minute drive from HRM).

I’d grown up with Finnish saunas and was really excited to hear about this new endeavour opening up in our community. Jen and I knew we wanted to show our support and decided to check it out.

Down a winding gravel road just a few minutes off the scenic coastal route of downtown Chester, you can feel the peace and serenity as soon as you arrive onsite.

A thick hemlock forest that sits on the edge of a lake is the backdrop for your spa experience. White yurts intermittently dot the treescape, along with the small buildings that house the saunas; gravel paths or wooden decks connecting them. It is sparse and simple, yet elegant and posh at the same time; framed by the rush of the wind through the tall trees and cobalt blue sky against the black lake ice.

We were greeted at the main office (a huge yurt) and handed plush housecoats and flip flops; set free to experience the sauna’s outdoor pools and relaxation yurt at our own pace. From the yurt change rooms, we slowly made our way through each sauna, all varying in type of heat (wet/dry) and source (electric/wood). There is even a barrel sauna lakeside. Scented salts, unique showers (bucket of cold water mounted on wall with pull string) and creative and thoughtful touches throughout the facility make it a one-of-kind-experience. A day pass (open 10am-5pm) is only $50, which makes it accessible and affordable.

Why visit a sauna? Well, hot and cold exposure on a regular basis is highly beneficial for your health. Aside from immediate tangible results such as relaxation, flushing of toxins, healthy smooth rejuvenated skin and improved sleep; sauna use also reduces stress and can work to speed up recovery time after workouts.

Putting our bodies through extreme heat followed by bursts of intense cold, we open ourselves up for a great cardiovascular workout that allows our cells to expand and contract to adjust to the conditions. This stress to the body helps to build cellular resilience and is regarded as a useful longevity anti-aging tool. There’s a reason people have been using saunas for thousands of years! If there’s one thing you should absolutely add to your list to do this winter… it’s this!

Feeling bold? Plunge from the hot outdoor  pool into the ice cold pool. And don’t forget to breathe! (Outdoor pools pictured below)

Things to remember:  

  1. SENSEA has received overwhelming support and interest. They are scrambling a bit to manage the demand;
  2. Call ahead to book to avoid disappointment (do not arrive onsite expecting to access the facility);
  3. Be patient (it’s worth it). They are experiencing some operational challenges (efficient check in/orientation; flow of clientele through sauna’s and compound; onsite food and drink access);
  4. Make sure you are well-hydrated and nourished when you arrive, and drink loads of water during and in between sessions;
  5. Leave the rest of your day open – you’ll want to maintain your relaxed momentum and frankly, you may not be up for doing much at all!
  6. For further up-to-date information, be sure to check out SENSEA Nordic Spa at

Note: This is not a paid endorsement/sponsored post. We visited SENSEA on our own dime and wanted to share our experience with you in the case that it could help you to make an informed decision about taking the time to visit yourself!

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