Just like that, another holiday season has passed.

December brims with celebration and festivities, drawn out between the shopping, the company parties, and family gatherings.

Then suddenly, a day passes, and we’re thrust into 2018.

Whether we acknowledge it or not, stress, exhaustion, and complacency are often bubbling below the surface during these busy times. When the calendar finally flips to a new page, most, if not all of us, are in danger of boiling over.

Cue the New Year’s resolutions, diets, and gym memberships. There’s an innate urge to start over, to move into the New Year with a clean slate.

But what happens when a new workout regimen isn’t enough to kick-start our lives? More often than not, what we’re craving is wellness for both our bodies and our minds.

Different practices targeting stress relief and mindfulness are rapidly gaining popularity across the country, and our state is no different.

If you’re ready to commit to managing stress and its effects on your life, it may be time to pursue a new path toward wellness.

We checked out three of South Dakota’s most unique facilities for self care and the benefits for taking the time to reset.

Sioux Falls Cryo

As South Dakotans, we tend to view the cold as a necessary evil. We plan our vacations around sunshine, take vitamin D supplements during the winter months, and pile on layers whenever we have to go outside.

It’s understandable, then, that the idea of cryotherapy – literally “cold therapy” – might not immediately appeal to the Midwestern mindset.

At Sioux Falls Cryo, one of the only full-body cryotherapy providers in Sioux Falls, the subzero temperatures are brought indoors.

Owner Susan Meier moved from Indiana to the area with her husband, leaving a job in the real estate industry behind.

When the couple was first introduced to cryotherapy through their daughter, they thought it sounded hokey, admits Meier.

“After doing some reading and finally trying it out, it started to make sense,” she said. “We realized we need this in Sioux Falls.”

Meier had always wanted to run her own business. After discovering the benefits of cryotherapy and experiencing the supportive business community in Sioux Falls, she realized it was time.

The business has been open for just over two months, at a convenient location on Marion Road as part of Lake Lorraine.

A cryotherapy session is three minutes long and involves standing in a nitrogen tank at one of three temperature levels: -133 degrees Fahrenheit, -166 degrees Fahrenheit, and -184 degrees Fahrenheit.

One of the most common questions Meier gets is about safety.

“It’s extremely safe,” she said. Only those with blood circulation issues or women who are pregnant should avoid the therapy.

During the session, the participant’s head is completely exposed at the top of the tank, and someone from the Sioux Falls Cryo team is standing by to keep the machine running.

The sessions aren’t painful, as nitrogen produces a dry cold. Participants are encouraged to start at Level One, but can expect nothing more than a prickly sensation.

Cryotherapy has three primary targets: athletes, pain management, and beauty and fitness.

“It’s a great thing to add, especially if someone’s starting a new workout routine,” Meier said. A typical session burns 600-800 calories, and reduces inflammation in the muscles.

For those seeking benefits of beauty, fitness and stress management, cryotherapy offers collagen production, tightening of the skin, and an energy boost.

Cryotherapy can be done as often as twice a day, but two to three times per week is a good rule of thumb for those starting out.

“The more you do it, the longer the effects will last,” Meier said. “People leave their sessions feeling like a different person.”

For more information, call (605) 220-5279 or visit siouxfallscryo.com.

3 Things to try at Sioux Falls Cryo

Full Body Cryotherapy
Three minute sessions start at $25, and can be enjoyed at three different temperature levels. The benefits range from pain management, fitness supplementation, beauty, and reducing signs of aging.

Local Cryotherapy & Cryofacials
Local cryotherapy, including facials, is one of Sioux Falls Cryo’s newest offerings, and is likely to become one of the most popular options. If you’re not ready to dive in fully, targeting pain and inflammation locally is a great starting point.

Compression Therapy
Popular with athletes, Sioux Falls Cryo also offers Normatec Recovery Therapy, to aid muscle recovery, increase circulation, and improve flexibility.

Avera Mckennan Fitness Center

You’ve heard of yoga, tai chi, and perhaps even quigong.

These ancient practices promoting relaxation, meditation, and spiritual centering date back thousands of years, but their immense wellness benefits are only recently becoming more widely known and accepted.

In fact, despite years of research that shows otherwise, few medical professionals are willing to recognize the benefits associated with these forms of therapy.

However, a list of available activities at the Avera McKennan Fitness Center on Southeastern Avenue tells a different story.

At 7:15 p.m. on Thursdays throughout January, certified sound therapist Deb Yoder leads a “stress less” Singing Bowls class. The sessions are open to the public at a cost of $5 for members and $10 for non-members.

The classes focus on yogic breathing and guided meditation, with one distinction: singing bowls.

Perhaps you’ve seen (or heard) them – beautiful metal bowls that originate from Asian countries. Stroke them with a mallet, and they emit a stunning reverberation. Higher pitches command attention, while deeper tones relax the mind.

Yoder and her colleague, Glenda Baker, are trained in the art of singing bowl therapy.

After hearing about the practice at a women and spirituality conference, Yoder brought the idea back to Sioux Falls.

“I was fascinated, and I thought ‘We need to do this,’” she said.

Now she offers singing bowl meditations and yoga sessions all over Sioux Falls – from Avera to the Butterfly House to the Avera Prince of Peace rehab center, and the downtown cupcake shop, Half Baked.

Baker specializes in singing bowl massages at Avera – powerful healing sessions targeted at people for whom touch is too painful. The vibrations of the bowl, placed strategically on each of the body’s chakras, can do wonders for pain and healing.

“The combination of vibrations and sounds tells your brain waves how to react and regulate the vibrations of your body,” Baker said. “We’re constantly fighting the vibration of the earth.”

Both Yoder and Baker are firm believers in finding the right wellness methods for your own body and mind. For some, a singing bowl meditation or massage may be ideal, while others can benefit more from an activity like tai chi or yoga.

Check out the tips in the side bar to determine if sound therapy (or a different wellness method) is right for you.

For more information, call (605) 322-5300 or visit averamckennanfitness.org.

Is sound therapy right for you?

Yoder recommends these three tips when you’re developing a wellness routine.

Start with the breath
Your breath is the most elemental part of any wellness practice. Finding and controlling it is the one underlying principle that everything returns to.

Whatever you try, give it a fair chance
No matter what type of event you’re attending, whether a meditation or a fitness class, don’t make a judgment call after the first session. You need to give your practice at least four to six tries before deciding if it will work for you.

Explore your options
Avera’s Singing Bowl sessions are posted online, but Yoder practices at other Sioux Falls venues as well. Take time to discover the wellness opportunities Sioux Falls provides.

Escape Float Spa

When was the last time you had zero distractions?

For most people, the answer is probably never.

In a world dominated by notifications and updates, the ability to sit down and focus on one thing is all but extinct.

After hearing about float therapy on a podcast back in 2014, Sioux Falls native Korey Kyle was intrigued by its potential to soothe distracted minds and reduce stress.

He spent some time exploring the concept and researching the positive effects of eliminating stimuli.

After being convinced, Kyle moved quickly to open up a float spa of his own. When he opened Escape with his partner, Wes Geier, it was the first spa of its kind in the state of South Dakota.

Today, there are multiple spas across the state, from Sioux Falls to Rapid City to Mitchell to Chamberlain.

If you’re unfamiliar with float therapy, it’s about as simple as it sounds. The participant enters a float pod filled with water and high levels of Epsom salts, providing a feeling of weightlessness.

Within the pod, the participant can choose between colored lights or complete darkness. Soothing music is also available to help calm the mind.

Participants are in no danger, either from drowning or claustrophobia. The high level of salt keeps the participant afloat, and the pod can remain open at all times.

“There’s no issue [with claustrophobia] because you’re completely in control,” said Kyle. “The hydraulic lid opens with just a tap of a finger.”

Each session lasts 60 minutes, but can be scheduled for longer if the participant desires. Kyle says the prescribed amount of time is typically an hour and a half, as it takes the brain an average of 45 minutes to fully relax.

Floating minimizes all distractions and stimuli, resulting in a rebalancing of the brain and reduced cortisol levels.

The benefits are numerous, from stress relief and clearing the mind, to pain management, and even beauty. Pregnant women find particular relief from the weightlessness that floating brings, and the high amounts of magnesium in the water work to detoxify the skin.

Kyle stresses the importance of multiple floats. “You won’t fully understand the mental benefits until you’ve had multiple experiences,” he said. “It’s a practice.”

For more information, call (605) 271-7676 or visit escapefloatspa.com.

Beyond the float

The Escape experience isn’t just about floating. The team at Escape Float Spa is committed to making wellness affordable, and the spa offers multiple packages and customizable add-ons, as well as a rewards program to help defray the cost of relaxation. Bonus: GreatLIFE members enjoy a discount on all products and services.

Enhance your float with these add-ons

Take a seat at the oxygen bar
Everyone can benefit from a little more oxygen.  Complimentary five-minute sessions, complete with a wide array of scents, accompany every float. Members enjoy unlimited access.

Enjoy an infrared sauna session
Add 25 minutes in the infrared sauna to your float for just $9.99. Infrared sessions are the perfect way to prepare for your float, as they kick-start the relaxation process, open the pores, and detoxify the skin, allowing you to get even more of the benefits out of your float.

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