Rafael Astorga

Cool ways to feel healthy this year in the hip city.

December 30, 2015

In December, it’s tough to stay active—the weather in Portland is a cold, drizzly mess. Plus, there are holiday parties galore (complete with festive holiday party cocktails), endless cookie exchanges, and that one coworker who seems to bring in every kind of red- and green-packaged candy around. Come January, almost everyone feels sluggish, which explains why we resolve to take better care of ourselves. That could mean fueling with veggies and juices instead of sugar and booze, easing back into doable exercise classes, indulging in massages, and trying alternative ways to feel good, like sweating it out in a sauna or floating in a sensory-deprivation tank. Try these treatments that the city offers and by February, you’ll feel like December didn’t even happen.

Have A Massage and a Float

At Mudra Massage, there are traditional options like deep tissue, Swedish, and hot stone massage, but a unique alternative is the Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy. Your masseuse uses an overhead bar system for support to give you a massage with her feet, an updated version of someone walking on your back. (It feels better than it sounds, especially if you like a deeper pressure). The non-claustrophobic can also float in the Oasis isolation tank, a quiet, dark, and womb-like four-by-eight-foot chamber; it’s stocked with water and nearly a thousand pounds of Epsom salt, making floating a breeze. Devotees say floating can increase circulation, lower blood pressure, release chronic muscle tension, and produce endorphins. It may be the only time after eating all those Christmas cookies that you’ll feel weightless. A package that includes both a 90-minute float and 60-minute massage is $145, or you can buy them individually.

Load up on Veggies

Portland is renowned for its farm-to-table food scene, so eating well is not difficult here. Considering you may not have eaten a single green thing (well, other than unnaturally green Christmas cookies) in December, get your vegetable game back on point with Brussels sprouts, romanesco, pumpkin, chanterelles, celery, black garlic, and winter squash from the all-vegetarian tasting menu at Aviary, $40 for four courses. Another incentive to be healthy with your tablemate: the whole table needs to order it to get it. Or just order from the veggie-centric menu, like the Japanese eggplant, tempura green beans, or the pineapple curry with chanterelles and sea beans. Chef Sarah Pliner uses classic French techniques and Eastern flavors to make sure it all tastes amazing.

Relax with Yoga and Sauna

Root Whole Body takes the word “whole” seriously—in one small building, they offer yoga, meditation classes, acupuncture, a dry sauna, chiropractic services, massages, and naturopathic consulting. Think of the Movement Membership ($99/month) as yoga-plus: it includes unlimited classes in yoga and access to the super-hot sauna, which feels incredible during cold winter months. Sweat it out doing Downward Dogs, then grab a cool eucalyptus-scented towel and head in to schvitz.

Take A Barre Class

Rather than throwing your back out trying to jump into a too-hardcore fitness class, try one at Barre3. It’s great for beginners or people with injuries, but its mix of ballet barre, pilates, and yoga will still have the thighs of gym devotees quaking with exhaustion. The three Portland locations offer a positive, all-inclusive environment (unlike many other ballet-inspired studios) that’s known for building lean muscles, a strong core, and better posture. The new client special includes three one-hour classes for $40. 

Rehydrate with A Fresh Juice

A lot of juice bars can feel too hippie or like sterile gym add-ons. Canteen is inside a shaker-inspired modern building where you’d actually want to get a drink and hang out. Order the Kombucha that’s on tap, one of the juices made with organic produce, a smoothie for more fiber, or a shot made with ginger or E3 Live, a plant-based superfood. The tastiest drink is the Apple Ginger Greens smoothie—the sweetness from apples and dates and the sharp spiciness of ginger mean you won’t even taste the spinach ($4.50 small, $6 large).

Sarah Z. Wexler is on the Oregon beat for Travel + Leisure. Based in Portland, you can follow her on Twitter at @SarahZWexler.

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