In the wake of a world-wide pandemic that disproportionately struck those with underlying health conditions, the world is more health-conscious than ever.
That means that people are integrating wellness into more aspects of their life than before, including how they relax. Multiple luxury hotels around the world are embracing this new approach to travel, offering unique wellness opportunities for their guests (often with an impressive price point). But some of the treatments they offer are a little off-the-beaten-path - and a few, not FDA approved.
Is this a wellness opportunity on the cutting edge of health, or a weird trend that could be dangerous?
Weird Things Becoming Mainstream on Your Next Vacation
First, it's time to look at what these sometimes-bizarre treatments are.
Business Insider writes, "The Wall Street Journal reported that New York's Peninsula hotel, German medispa Lanserhof, and Four Seasons Resort Maui in Hawaii were among hotels diving into bizarre wellness courses to attract wealthy, increasingly health-conscious guests.
The report said a cornerstone of Lanserhof's program was the Mayr Cure, which involves a multiday fast, lessons in proper chewing - with more than 30 chews per mouthful recommended - and abdominal massages. The hotel is expected to introduce MRI machines and CT scanners for preventive diagnostic sessions. If that isn't enough to satisfy guests, there's also an on-site psychologist.
Lanserhof is not alone in offering an array of expensive alternative treatments, according to the WSJ.
The Four Seasons in Wailea, Hawaii, where rooms can cost $20,000 a night, offers guests a selection of intravenous (IV) Drips and Ozone Therapy alongside Los Angeles–based preventive and diagnostic health care center Next Health. The hotel also offers guests 60-minute stem cell therapy sessions, costing $12,000 each.
'According to research, [stem cells] can help orchestrate and improve cell communication, optimizing the efficiency of a variety of bodily processes, which may improve overall vitality,' Next Health president and co-founder Kevin Peake told the WSJ. "
But the FDA has issued warnings over the years about regenerative treatments. Because they're delivered in a non-medical setting, even the relatively harmless ones come with some risk factors, and side effects like blindness, tumors and life-threatening infections have been reported with these so-called alternative wellness treatments.
However, the reputable luxury brands are staking their reputation on delivering safe and effective treatment, so the industry is growing - and so is demand.
Wellness Vacations as an Industry
Just how wide-spread is the desire for a vacation that includes a wellness portion?
Turns out, they're pretty in demand. It's almost a given now that a luxury vacation comes with a wellness package - whether it's a spa, health treatments, a retreat focused specifically on wellness and/or a diet plan to cleanse your body and get you on the right path.
But why is this so popular? After all, don't you just want to relax when on vacation, or maybe hit some adrenaline-seeking adventures?
The reasons for the growth in the industry are multi-pronged.
- COVID: The pandemic has increased awareness around wellness and health, and people are more determined than ever to be prepared with a healthy body.
- Limited time: One thing the modern world demands is that we all learn how to multi-task. People are programmed to feel guilty if they relax and do nothing - so even vacations these days are expected to accomplish something more than kicking back.
- The Wealth Effect: These days, people who are wealthy are expected to be healthy - and look the part. So if you're wealthy, you're keeping up your health. If you want to appear or become wealthy, you're keeping up your health. Regenerative and wellness treatments are capitalizing on the needs of consumers who want more than just a day at the spa, they want to turn the clock back and reap benefits from their success.
- Mistrust of the Medical Community: It's no surprise that after the pandemic, people are less interested in being a medicalized setting than ever before. People are exhausted by the medical world in general, and looking outside for ways to extend their lifespans.
- The Influence of Influencers: The rise of the wellness influencer has been a story of success over the past few years. And cupping is no longer interesting, so they're on to the next great thing that will draw the views and fans to their social media pages. Enter: stem cell therapy, IV therapy, and other less-than-mainstream treatments for health.
Alongside the wellness retreat industry is an ever-growing supplement and wellness industry. People tired of being offered prescribed medication are turning to supplements at a growing rate, and companies are rising to the challenge. The message is that you can take control of your own health and your own body: and your journey may start on vacation.
Where to Go for Wellness Getaways
Maybe your interest is piqued, and it's time to get going on that wellness vacation you've been dreaming of - and see what all the buzz is about some of these unique-sounding treatments. Here are some of our favorite places to maximize your wellness while on vacation:
- The Safari Retreat: Offering destinations across Africa, Safari Retreat will bring customers on the safari of their dreams, and tend to their bodies and minds while they're at it. Offerings throughout the properties include yoga, organic site-grown food, learning opportunities, meditation and more.
- Parohe Island, New Zealand: With organic gardens and native orchards across the sprawling property, guests will feed their bodies while enjoying yoga, meditation, consultations with an on-staff naturopath and health-minded chef, or island activities.
- Mountain Trek: Situated in the mountains of Canada, Mountain Trek offers a health spa combined with a fitness retreat, and is designed to reset your metabolism and help your body maximize its relationship with food. Guests will be put on a controlled diet, hike, exercise, meditation - and learn how to take their new skills home for success.
- Aman properties: Aman recently launched a new wellness initiative that combines modern medical treatments with Chinese medicine, lifestyle coaches, and more - including IV nutrient therapy service such as Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide (NAD+) IV therapy and Exosome therapy that helps regenerate cells.
And for supplements check out Cymbiotika, so you can take your best health with you on the road.
The exciting thing about approaching wellness in 2022 is that the options are almost endless. Whether you carry a luxury budget with you or something a little more modest, destinations around the world are focused on offering wellness care for people more health-conscious than ever.
Although some of these therapies are still head-scratching new, the good thing is that they're relatively safe - and if they do half of what they promise, that's still a lot.
So is it a bizarre trend, or a sign of the future? Almost certainly the latter. Stem cell therapies and IV treatments are sure to increase over the coming years, especially as the industry zeroes in on what really helps people feel better. The fact that so many of these wellness centers are also beginning to incorporate mental health care and medical services promises a hybridized future where getting and feeling better is also fun - something everyone can get behind.