The term ‘wellness travel’ brings to mind serenity in the middle of luxury that rejuvenates exhausted success-chasers with exotic spa treatments, state-of-the-art fitness modules, nature bonding, customised holistic healing, an emotional and spiritual cleanse and more. Wellness travel is the mantra of the New Age road to happiness, when chaos and stress rule the day. Go back a decade or more when the wellness trend was slowly making an entry. Every hotel worth its room service suddenly wanted a well-equipped health club and spa on its grounds. Soon, bespoke wellness getaways mushroomed at exotic locations. The more hidden and virgin the place, the more its cachet. This prompted many countries to position themselves as wellness tourism magnets.
The Global Wellness Institute (GWI) revealed in 2018 that the industry was worth $4.2 trillion and rising. “Wellness tourism growth is very much a tale of developing markets, with Asia-Pacific, Latin America-Caribbean, Middle East-North Africa, and sub-Saharan Africa accounting for 57 percent of the increase in wellness trips since 2015. Over the past five years, Asia is the number one growth sector in both wellness tourism trips and revenues,” says the GWI’s Global Wellness Tourism Economy report. India, Thailand, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and the Philippines are the most sought-after destinations as they are known for their culturally shared emphasis on inner wellness with treatments going back centuries.
Wellness travel is more than just meditation, yoga and vegetarian for a week. It is about jumpstarting a healthy lifestyle with a disciplined routine. It is the perfect answer to liberate those tired of yo-yo dieting, who have hit fitness roadblocks, lack me-time and experience disconnect with their emotional and spiritual wellbeing. On their menu are spas and resorts that focus on a nutritious approach to heal the body, retreats where experts guide visitors to connect with their inner self through meditation and other healing systems and destinations that promise the gradual but holistic healing of the system sans chemicals. Offering a range of farm-to-table options to invigorating regimens that take you back in time, these retreats promise an overall physical, emotional and spiritual cleanse. The wellness community focuses on making ethical choices; hence these eudemonic ‘pilgrims’ know the importance of aligning wellness with sustainability. The invitation to connect with nature and the stress on ‘authenticity’ of the total experience make such vacations a wholesome journey of the mind, body and soul.
It is a combination of five procedures of purification—Vamana (Emesis), Virechana (Purgation), Niroohavasti (Decoction enema), Nasya (Instillation of medicine through nostrils), and Anuvasanavasti (Oil enema). These procedures aim at total detoxification of the body. This helps to enhance energy and mental clarity and fights afflictions.
It revolves around applying pressure to certain points on the feet, hands or ears which are thought to specifically connect to organs in our body. Pressing them helps to keep us healthy. It works in a similar way to acupressure and acupuncture, and stimulates energy pathways in the body. If the reflexologist feels tender, sensitive or crunchy sensations on the feet, they say it can indicate that an area of your body is out of balance.
The word ‘abhyanga’ means to massage. The therapy is designed around each individual, to suit his or her disease or condition. An ayurvedic physician can assess this and will then decide on the appropriate oils. Abhyangam can increase the production of white blood corpuscles and antibodies, which provide more resistance against viruses and diseases. This helps the defence mechanism in the body and increases immunity towards environmental changes.
It is a unique therapy that balances and stabilises the mind. The client lies down on a massage table with eyes covered and specially prepared warm herbal oil is poured in a thin steady stream directly onto the forehead and sixth chakra. Shirodhara can be administered on its own or as part of a detoxification regime. The oils used are specific to the dosha that needs balancing.
It is the use of water in treating different conditions. The water temperature is usually 33-36ºC and one has to do special exercises. Usually a physiotherapist or a physiotherapist’s assistant with specialist training will show you how to do the exercises. The focus of the exercises can be adjusted according to the need. The therapeutic benefits of water are used to treat aches and pains.