The Sounds Of Silence Mindfulness In The Heart Of The Townships

By Kylie MacKenzie


I’m filled with a feeling of simple joy at the prospect of returning to Spa Eastman, Jocelyna Dubuc’s bucolic 326-acre spa retreat in a rural corner of Quebec.

A well-known destination spa for the health-conscious traveller, the now more than 20-year-old Spa Eastman takes a holistic, preventative approach. A lot has changed—for the better, I might add—since I was here a decade ago with my daughter, who was attending McGill University at the time. Aside from expanded accommodation in seven pavilions and a variety of updated thermo-therapy offerings, the culinary experience has evolved beautifully. It is, in fact, the highlight of my stay.

Thanks to the creative talent of Chef Veronica Kaczmarowski paired with nutra-therapist Jean-Marc Enderlin’s expertise, the spa’s guests have their taste buds satisfied with three wholesome meals a day—all organic, of course. Each menu item is prepared following the tonic cuisine philosophy, which recognizes the positive impact of nutrition on both health and happiness. According to the literature in my room, tonic cuisine bases its culinary choices on scientific research that has, at its core, the goal of creating a dining experience that is vital, energizing and healthful—without sacrificing taste or pleasure.

The kitchen uses grains and flours that are gluten-free, non-genetically modified, local, and in season, as well as non-dairy milk products such as nuts, coconut and soy rather than cows’ milk and its derivatives. Meat, poultry and fish are cooked at low temperatures, and menus are prepared with attention to creating the most energizing and effective combinations.

Disciples suggest that this type of food experience has obvious short- and long-term health benefits, such as improved digestion, better sleep and increased energy, and contributes significantly to an overall state of wellness. Spa Eastman’s concern for the environment and healthy living is even reflected in the wine list. While seeking taste and pleasure, the sommelier prides himself on offering a fine selection of mainly local organic wines, made from grapes grown without any chemical additives. The goal—to offer well-made wines that are produced with respect for the environment and the health of the drinker.

Guests here at the same time as me have varied agendas. Some are after a quick daytime pick-me-up or a long-weekend recharge, while others are signed up for Eastman’s all-inclusive reboot program, which is a full-on seven- or 14-day health immersion package.

With 15 km of nicely groomed hiking trails for anti-stress nature walks, hot and cold pools, saunas and steam rooms, along with picture-perfect scenery and a peacefulness that can’t be measured, I’m in harmony with my environment. A few days here is not only an escape from the noise and intensity of day-to-day life, but also an adventure so sweet that I’m hard-pressed to leave.

Watsu—massage in warm water

Water lovers everywhere will delight in this new treatment that combines the benefits of Shiatsu massage with the healing power of water. It’s the ultimate in relaxation, even for those with few aquatic skills. Carried out in a shallow pool of water heated precisely to 36°C, this massage not only benefits your body but also calms your mind and spirit. The therapist practices cradling, stretching, fluid movements and Shiatsu techniques while your body floats free. It’s easy to let your troubles drift away with a “Watsu” massage.

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