The world’s top resorts sparking a wellness revolution
The next generation of resorts takes the beloved massage and raises it a host of lifestyle-related – and relevant – wellness modalities, upgrading our spa experience from that hour of bliss to a life-changing education. It’s about teaching a man to fish, says Kate Powell.
The monthly, weekly, even daily onslaught of information mapping out the myriad factors affecting our health today is bewildering. Already juggling too many commitments, we witness the collective wellbeing of our bodies and minds inevitably falling low on our to-do lists, even when we know how essential it is.
The good news is that integrated wellness – or lifestyle wellness combining conventional, functional and alternative medicine – is being embraced by luxury resorts the world over. Programs created by health professionals for the time- and health-poor modern traveller temporarily take away the heavy responsibility of our own wellbeing. Experts diagnose, customise itineraries and treat us, before letting us back out into the big, bad world. This time, however, we are equipped with new tools to strengthen our mental and physical resilience and shore up our future wellbeing.
Bring in the expertise
Dr Mehmet Oz, Dr Michael Breus and Dr Steven Gundry – all household names – are just three of the medical professionals Six Senses has added to its board to help shape its integrated wellness programs. Sign up and, after an initial screening and test, a tailormade itinerary incorporating your hotspots (for example, heart health, sleep issues, immune weakness, weight problems or stress levels) and wellness goals will lead to a results-driven and educational program.
We are what we eat, and in all integrated wellness programs nutrition is key. ‘Eat with Six Senses’ focuses on foods that are natural, local and sustainable for default wellness while fuelling up at its resorts, whether you are on a program or not.
Meanwhile, at The Dolder Grand overlooking Zurich, research into epigenetics and diet emphasises to each guest that we can all actively change our own genetic ‘destiny’ through our dietary choices. Let this sink in: we choose our level of future health through what we eat today. The hotel and spa uses blood tests to determine the perfect diet for each guest’s genotype, balancing 225 food components from 800 different foods in its comprehensive wellness program.
Wellness of the mind
Who better to turn to than Buddha when contemplating deep levels of mental health? COMO Shambhala’s healthy living philosophy is inspired by ancient Buddhist texts that suggest that by exploring the mind and spirit, anybody can find tranquillity within themselves. Through a combination of modern science and hands-on healing, COMO’s expert consultants offer functional medicine, life coaching, naturopathy, homeopathy, women’s health skills and an extensive menu of spa therapies, assisted by yoga, Pilates and spiritual guidance to bring guests closer to that inner tranquillity.
Aman Resorts’ integrated wellness programs underline the reasons why meditation, mindfulness and ‘me’ are part of the mental health lexicon today. Its awareness strategies encourage guests to create meaningful connections, including the most significant of all: the connection with yourself. At Amanpuri in Thailand, for example, group Ayurvedic journeys empowering guests with mindfulness and consciousness vary from four to 21 days, allowing time for the breaking down of issues and long-held conditioning for personal reconnection on a deep level.
Finally, at The Peninsula Shanghai Spa, a regime of yoga and Pilates, alongside meridian and reflex zone foot massages and other tailored treatments, indicates a similar focus on mind-body wellness. Interestingly, the KORE Therapy treatment uses muscular testing to determine the causes and sources of pain, illness and fatigue, unsurprisingly often tracing them back to stress-related issues. To complete the integrated experience, guided meditation and breathing techniques are taught within the hotel’s dedicated sleep treatment, followed by a hot-stone body massage to return to that extra hour of absolute bliss.