Experience winter in a whole new way: by bathing outside in cold water. Thermëa by Nordik Spa-Nature is Manitoba’s newest spa experience, where the cold is key.

Although there are bathrobes, Thermëa is not your typical spa. Adjacent to the Crescent Drive Golf Course in Winnipeg, only eight kilometres south of downtown, Thermëa follows the tenets of thermotherapy, the practice of alternating between hot and cold.

This is how it works: Slip into your bathing suit and switch the Sorels for sandals, then warm up in one of the saunas. You can choose the dry heat Nordic-style sauna or the steam sauna originally inspired from  the Mediterranean traditions. As you body temperature rises, toxins are eliminated and after 10 to 15 minutes, it’s time to move on to the cold. Take a quick pass through “Iceber” the cold waterfall or go for a dip in the temperate pool or the “Polarbër” cold pool for a few minutes. When you move from a hot to cold environment, your body releases adrenaline and your heart rate increases.

Thermea baths

The next step is very easy, do nothing as you rest and relax for 15 minutes, while endorphins replace the adrenaline. You can rest inside at the relaxation chalet or hang out by the outdoor fire pit. Then, repeat the whole circuit three times to bring about complete relaxation as you end your thermotherapy in the “Gëser” whirlpool.

No reservations are required for the thermal experience, but you can make a reservation to enjoy a massage or face or body treatment. There is also a restaurant onsite, so you can take a break from all that relaxing to enjoy a meal or sip a glass of wine. The rates ($46 Monday to Thursday and $51 Friday to Sunday) give you access to the thermal experience for the entire day, while massages or other treatments are extra. You can bring your own bathrobe or rent one for the day for $12.

Thermëa is open from 9 am to 10 pm, all year round.