Toila SPA Hotel has the first salt chamber in Estonia, but in addition to well tried treatments, new treatments are also offered. For example, revitalizing procedures with shale oil, which is spread on the skin for massage and added to bath water.
However, medicinal body care products based on shale oil are not obtained from the oil industry in Ida-Virumaa, but from the Austrian family business Tiroler Steinöl, which has dedicated itself to the production, research and development of shale oil for more than a hundred years.
The right place for a shale oil massage
Eesti Energia’s internal communication specialist Katri Krall-Tammik, who knows more about shale oil than the average spa visitor, gladly agreed to try a shale oil massage at my request. She thought that since the Ida-Viru region is based on the oil shale industry, Toila SPA Hotel is a very good place to offer such procedures and products.
“There is definitely no sign of our shale oil smell here. What I was massaged with was pleasantly herbal. When the oil was applied, there was immediately a warm feeling, just as promised in the description. In winter I am very cold – the combined effect of massage and oil was pleasantly warming. Finally, the masseur applied a tonic, which gave a cooling and refreshing effect,” she spoke.
What is the benefit of shale oil to the human body? The therapeutic effects of oil-rich shale oil are relieving and reducing pain, reducing inflammation, restoring tissues and relieving excessive tension, listed Anneli Põdra, the head of the sales department. The procedures can be taken individually, but you can also choose the package “Vitality from oil shale”, which has four treatments with shale oil.
Anneli Põdra confirmed that shale oil procedures generate curiosity in customers. Thus, the medicinal mud massage performed in Toila with mud from Hiiumaa, has a new competitor emphasizing the specifics of Ida-Virumaa.
By offering innovative procedures in Estonia, Toila SPA Hotel pays homage to brown gold and miners whose hard work makes our everyday life impossible. Toila Sanatorium was established to maintain and encourage the health of miners and was completed in the late 1980s.
Endel Paap, the former head of the Estonian Oil Shale Trade Union, recalled that a three week vacation used to cost 22.5 rubles and it was very cheap at the miner’s salary. “I had radiculitis and I benefited a lot from underwater stretching excercises and all kinds of massages. Because I had been doing sports all my life and my muscles were very strong, the masseur often called on another masseur to help,” he smirked.
According to Endel Paap, the sanatorium-prophylactor was completed according to a special project.
“The chairman of the Central Committee of the Coal Industry Trade Union came from Moscow and said that compared to other federal republics, it is the best and the most beautiful miners’ sanatorium. The only drawback in his opinion, was that there were no marble stairs. I would have liked to have built them, but the management of Eesti Põlevkivi, which gave money for the construction of the sanatorium, said that we do not need marble. At the same time, we had the first salt chamber in Estonia. A delegation from Leningrad came to study how it was built – not a single nail was used.”
Endel Paap is proud of two things he has built as a trade union boss: Toila Sanatorium and Jõhvi Children’s Theater. The theater house doesn’t exist anymore, but the more the old gentleman is happy that the sanatorium is still there and is developing. “As a private property, the sanatorium has been improved. A lot has been built and new procedures have been added,” he praised.
Feeling like a sugar fairy
Treatment manager Jelena Sukristik said that miners still come to improve their health and many of them are regular clients, but now the clientele is much wider. The average client is aged 45+. Mainly people who have health problems due to forced postures or stressful work.
According to the treatment manager, the selection of packages is wide and in addition to the traditional ones, newer and less common procedures in Estonia are also offered, such as carboxyteria, or carbon dioxide injections. During the procedure, carbon dioxide is injected under the skin, which dilates capillaries, improves blood supply and increases oxygen content in the tissues. As a result, muscle tension is reduced, swelling disappears, pain and inflammation in the joints are relieved.
“A piano player from Sweden comes for these injections every summer. He takes a treatment course for his back and says that the effect does not come before two weeks and then lasts for half a year. People often assume that if they are treated for four days, they will be healthy by the fifth day, but this is not always the case,” Anneli Põdra suggested to be patient.
Cryo-sauna, where upon entering the capsule, the body is “embraced” by 140 degree cold instead of heat, also has its own fans. Cold therapy helps get rid of many chronic diseases, but also restores energy reserves, helping to overcome fatigue and insomnia.
“After coming from the capsule, I feel as if I’m a sugar fairy,” Anu Pungas, a teacher at Toila Gymnasium, described her favorite procedure. “I describe this feeling that way, others say they feel like a newborn. Sugar fairy because it reminds me of something fragile that breaks when touched. I have such a wonderful, airy and light feeling after the procedure. In my opinion, even the maximum time in the capsule – three minutes – goes by quickly and there is no real feeling of cold in there.”
For a luxurious environment
Marble cannot be found in Toila SPA hotel to this day, but a luxurious ambience has been created for both the thermal baths and the Orhidee wellness center for adults. In the thermal baths, clients are not surrounded by traditional tiled walls, as the rooms are decorated in style of ancient Roman baths, and many of the walls are painted. The peculiarity of Orhidee however, is the winter garden.
“If you want to do something luxurious, the palm tree must be natural, not plastic. It must be fertilized, cared for, the bugs have to be picked up one by one,” said CEO Jaak Pruunes.
There are seven saunas in both the thermal baths and the Orhidee, the latter also has a special honey sauna, where you can make a full body mask with honey. “Often there are more people in the adult-only wellness center than in the thermal baths, because many are fleeing from their children and want to relax in a peaceful environment. It is worth investing in what a person wants,” said Jaak Pruunes.
There is a mini golf course and a clay room for active recreation. The clay room helps to pass the time, but it is also therapeutic and fits well with the philosophy of the sanatorium. And the client gets a souvenir from their holiday.
A resort with long traditions
The sanatorium was completed more than 30 years ago, but it did not rise to an empty place – the resort air of Toila was highly regarded already in the 19th century. Over time, a whole army of prominent people has rested in Toila. take, for example, Grigory Yelisseev, who was one of the richest people in Russia in the 19th century, built a villa here, in which President Konstantin Päts later spent his summers.
The castle was destroyed in war, but Oru park is still one of Estonia’s representative parks. Its species richness and varied landscape are admired by 100,000 – 200,000 pairs of eyes every year. The park is a few minutes walk from the hotel and it invites you to discover it.
For those on a longer holiday, we advise stepping into the Toila library and lend Lea Ranna’s book “Eesti Kultaranta” or Cultural Historic Walk in Toila “, which is a practical assistant in discovering this summer resort with a long tradition.
The cultural walk begins on the historic Pikk street, where almost every house has its own story to tell. We still enjoy the legacy of Toila’s creative intelligence, for example, Eduard Tubin’s second symphony, the story of which has been recalled by the composer as follows: “I started writing in the summer while I was on holiday in Toila, and its great surroundings are what mainly caused the birth of this work, as the idea and substance of the symphony matured under the influence of Toila’s divine peace, sea, nature and beautiful summer.”
The newspaper “Alutaguse Teataja”, published on July 30, 1932, wrote that Toila is one of the most beautiful summer resorts in Estonia.
“It seems that nature has sown its donation here a lot, to which people have further contributed beauty and made Toila a home of peace and vacation with its beautiful pine park.”
Toila SPA Hotel is waiting for everyone who wants to come to this home of peace and vacation.
Journalist for the Põhjarannik newspaper
„The story is written with the support of the EU Regional Development Fund“