By Arwa Lodhi
A new year often means a new you – people strive to improve themselves, both physically and mentally. With nearly two-thirds Londoners using their holiday time to attend routine health appointments, it seems that we are all often neglecting our health on a regular basis. We shouldn’t have to wait for vacations to see to whatever ails us – in fact, our holidays should be an opportunity to unwind, de-stress, spend time with the ones we love, and in short, take better care of ourselves.
Perhaps because they recognise that the average person isn’t taking optimal care of themselves, today many hotels and resorts are offering packages whereby you have have a full body tune up, deal with sports injuries or poor posture, or even tackle emotional problems, such as insomnia or stress.
Whether you’re after a villa in Italy or an ashram in India, we’ve found 10 healthy holidays that promise to leave you feeling much better than when you arrived.
Taking tailor-made to a whole new level, Vilalara’s Longevity Program takes your whole body into account to assess just what you need for a long, healthy life. It starts with a Biophysical Evaluation to measure body fat, muscle, body mass index (BMI), basal metabolic rate (BMR), the distribution of fat/muscle mass in the body as well as your metabolic versus your chronological age. But it certainly doesn’t end there. Vilalara offers a spectacular program called the Longevity Biochemical Profile Premium PLUS, which includes a cardiovascular profile, lipid profile, evaluation of neurotransmitter functions, a wide hormonal profile, and much more. A Nutrition & Wellbeing consultation, Stress and Lifestyle Assessment, Osteopathy Session and manipulative holistic treatments applied to remove blockages, restore mobility and rebalance the musculoskeletal, visceral and cranio-sacral systems are all also included. Oh, and did we mention this Algarve resort is also luxuriously gorgeous, with a stunning thalassotherapy spa?
Quitting smoking is a must for anyone who cares about their health, and it’s probably ‘the’ top New Year’s resolution, but it’s easier said than done. Luckily, now you can breathe easier on this specialist anti-tobacco holiday, set at a luxurious beach-side retreat. The Marbella Club in sunny Spain is a wonderfully secluded wellness haven, where you will be guided and supported by health professionals as you are assisted through the initial period of withdrawal symptoms. Benefit from expert stress management sessions to understand the addiction and strengthen your self-discipline. Combined with detoxifying spa treatments and healthy nutrition to cleanse your body, this healthy holiday will set you on the path to successfully return home tobacco free.
Slouched over a computer all day? Feeling the back pain as a result? Transform your body as you strengthen your posture on this specialist sports therapy holiday at the gorgeous and eco-friendly Lefay Resort, tucked inside Lake Garda’s mountainous surroundings. Working to boost your fitness, tone your body and strengthen your posture, private physiotherapy and personal trainer sessions will help to identify your individual needs. These specialists will help ease any pain and will put an end to poor posture with therapeutic massages, reflexology and activities such as Pilates and Qi Gong, all designed to rebalance your physical energy. Addressing poor postural habits long-term, return home with targeted recommendations for maintaining what you’ve achieved.
There’s never a bad time to choose to reflect on life and heal your mind in a completely tranquil and welcoming atmosphere. Set deep in the outskirts of Bangalore, surrounded by luscious gardens, Shreya’s Retreat is beloved by all who visit it. Here, using the power of silent meditation as a tool for improving your emotional health, you will enjoy periods of quiet reflection as you focus your mind during private meditation sessions by candlelight. Alongside group chanting, sound meditation classes, relaxing with private yoga and Pranayama (breathing) sessions, you’ll also be given plenty of time to simply walk through the lovely grounds here, drinking in the natural surroundings and calming your mind. And don’t forget to sink deeper into relaxation with Shreya’s rejuvenating massages, too!
It may not seem like a great idea to get jetlagged whilst aiming to rediscover how to get a good night’s sleep, but Soneva Kiri resort in Thailand is guaranteed to help you to learn to switch off and re-connect with yourself. This sleep enhancement holiday is held at the luxury wellness sanctuary, Soneva Kiri, which is nestled on the northern coast of Koh Kood island. Here, it’s easy to re-balance your mind, body and soul with the guidance of wellness experts during a fitness consultation and lifestyle counselling session. Open up energy pathways with holistic treatments, including Reiki and chakra balancing, complemented with personalised yoga and Pranayama breathing sessions. Learn to channel your energy productively during personal training sessions to return home feeling fully revitalised.
Discover the secret to maintaining your cardiovascular health as you de-stress at the healthy hideaway of The Farm in the Philippines. A relaxing destination in which to learn to beat stress, this healing retreat combats heart disease through a low-cholesterol vegan diet, alongside daily wellness activities and stress management techniques. Together with daily follow-ups with a medical doctor, learn how to look after your heart during a fitness assessment with a personal trainer and a sustainable lifestyle discussion with a wellness expert. Return home with the knowledge you need to manage stress and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Getting a sports injury can be discouraging physically and psychologically; it calls for a serious course of action. A leading Thai wellness retreat, Chiva Som, is home to world-class experts who specialise exactly in sports injuries. In particular, they focus on pain management, posture alignment, as well as performance enhancement. This is the perfect solution for both professional athletes and sport lovers alike, allowing them to recover in a safe and functional way with mobilisation movements, specialised strength exercises and daily massages. Physical rehabilitation here is expertly guided by a physiotherapists alongside a tailor-made wellness programme, and the best part? It’s all done in a stunningly beautiful setting.
Ti Sana means ‘it heals you’ in Italian, and that’s exactly what the owners of this resort near Lake Como believe food does to your body. Here, you will learn how to eat for optimal health through their detox programs. Combining organic vegan nutrition, healthy probiotics and detoxifying spa therapies, Ti Sana’s signature programme aims to improve the health and vitality of those who put daily strain on their liver through diets rich in saturated fats, sugar or alcohol. After an initial 1-on-1 consultation with Mario, their nutritionist and health expert, I was allowed to choose a dietary plan from one of three pathways; slimming, relaxing or energising. All the raw, vegetarian food here is served fresh from local farms and the on-site gardens, and you can also learn to prepare food at home the way the staff here do via cooking sessions.
Why do so many people find Bali to be the world’s most healing island? It could well be that the place is absolutely lush with nature, especially towards what is arguably Bali’s spiritual centre, Ubud. Maya Ubud exemplifies all that is lovely about Bali: rushing rivers, dense jungle, and positive, kind people. Here, you can easily enjoy in the holistic approach to health the Balinese embrace. Wake up to Tai Chi, yoga and meditation sessions with a true master. Take an educational walk with a local botanist to learn just how rich the surrounding forests are with healing plants and earthy beauty. Visit a Balinese healer nearby, who can ‘read’ your body’s malaise. And of course, don’t forget to indulge in several rejuvenating Balinese massages at Maya Ubud’s stunningly beautiful spa.
A favourite amongst celebrities, SHA Wellness Clinic near Alicante in Spain offers a tranquil backdrop for a stress management holiday. Set in the mountains surrounding a long stretch of coastline, this multi-award winning wellness retreat prides itself on offering distinctively tailored wellness programmes, combining emotional activities, such as laughter therapy and personal counselling, along with holistic ones like nutritional planning and personal stress management techniques to ensure you are equipped to successfully manage any stressful situation life throws your way.