From reducing stress to building resilience, these post-pandemic restorative retreats will help you recharge, rejuvenate and reboot
It’s been a long hard two years. For everyone. The pandemic has left a physical and emotional toll – weakening immune systems, derailing once healthy habits, piling on pounds, and ultimately leaving people drained, exhausted, stressed, and burned out.
Recent research from Ceridian reveals that the majority of American and British workers, 87% and 74%, respectively, have experienced burnout with 44% and 35% reporting high or extreme levels.
On a positive note, the pandemic has shone a spotlight on physical and mental health, in particular the need for people to take preventative action – whether to strengthen their immune systems, manage stress levels or address burnout. As such, people are becoming more motivated to explore new lifestyle behaviours that lead to stronger bodies, better sleep, clearer focus and longevity.
In April 2021, McKinsey found that 79% of consumers believe wellness is important and nearly half consider it a top priority, with consumers in Brazil, China, Germany, Japan, the UK and US reporting a substantial increase in the prioritisation of wellness over the past two years. This supports the sentiments of 67% of consumers in an Accenture survey who said they would spend more time and money on self-care and wellbeing in 2021 and beyond.
In the post-pandemic era, immunity has become the new wellness business buzzword with people increasingly looking for ways to boost their immune and respiratory systems; while others are looking for ways to become more resilient and manage stress better, and others still to find a new purpose.
Whatever your goals, if you’re looking for a post-pandemic reset, look no further than our restorative roundup of wellness programmes, from Switzerland to San Francisco, Hawaii to the Himalayas.
Strengthen your immune system
Chiva-Som, Hua Hin, Thailand
If pioneering retreat resort Chiva-Som in Hua Hin, Thailand – recently crowned Top Destination Spa Resort in the World by Conde Nast Traveler – isn’t enough to pull you from the boardroom, then its new post-pandemic Immune Resilience Programme might just. Promising to improve your health outcomes, the 5 or 7-day program combines mindful exercise, nutrient-rich cuisine and detoxifying treatments to help you to boost your resilience both during the retreat and beyond. Included are massages and drainage therapies designed to remove blockages in the lymphatic system; outdoor workout sessions to fortify the immune system; and holistic wellness therapies like Shirobhyanda, Yoga and meditation to relax the mind. A nutritional consultant customises your meal plan, and you get an individual health and wellness consultation, complimentary physical analysis and skin consultation, unlimited use of the water therapy suites, and daily treatment, not to mention a post-stay program. Not for you? Chiva-Som has three more goal-oriented, post-pandemic packages up its wellness sleeve. Gut Health or Senior Wellness retreat, anyone?
Reduce and manage your stress
SHA Wellness, Alicante, Spain
One of the world’s most acclaimed medi-clinics, and a pioneer in the integration of eastern and western medicine, Spain’s five-star SHA Wellness Clinic is the place to shed stress. Not only will the clinic itself – a grandiose beach club-style resort perched atop a cliff overlooking the Mediterranean sea – help to ease stress but its goal-driven programs overseen by a wealth of specialists guarantee long-term success. Experts in reducing the impact of accumulated chronic stress, in part thanks to its innovative Cognitive Development Unit, SHA delivers a dedicated Stress Management program, either 7 or 14 nights, designed to tackle burnout. Following in-depth consultations to identify how the body and mind react to stressful situations, you receive a personalised program of natural and medical therapies designed to reduce adverse symptoms including fatigue, anxiety, insomnia, irritability and concentration and memory issues; increase energy levels; improve quality of sleep; with tools to manage stressful situations. Therapies include acupuncture, osteopathy, colon hydrotherapy, cryotherapy, and cutting-edge treatments like Indiba (balances the functioning of cells) and stress management sessions. Fitness, physio and nutrition are key components too with personalised plans created along with group activities, from cooking classes to talks and walks.
Re-energise and restore your balance
YO1 Health Resort, Catskills Mountains, Upstate New York
Ideal for New Yorkers needing post-pandemic recuperation and a mind and body reboot, the 3-night Restorative Program at YO1 Health Resort in the tranquil Catskills mountains, two hours north of New York, is just the ticket. Based on the principles of naturopathy and Ayurveda, the resort – which bills itself as a ‘state-of-the-art centre and upscale nature cure destination” – delivers an array of customised health programs that address numerous issues from diabetes to depression. Its Restorative Program is designed to relax and re-energise. Following consultations with specialists, including an Ayurveda expert who will determine your dosha, a customised program of blended therapies is delivered – think reflexology, enemas, massage, hydrotherapy, Yoga flow, herbal powder massage. Rather than a short-term fix, the program, both immersive and authentic, is designed to teach you the importance of a disciplined daily routine providing you with the tools and motivation to continue. Nestled in 1,300 acres of pristine mountain landscape on the edge of a lake with the freshest of mountain air, you dine on vegan cuisine, practice Yoga daily, and can avail of mind-body activities and workshops – from private plant-based cooking classes led by Michelin-starred chefs to art therapy workshops including pottery and painting.
Regenerate your body and restore vitality
Clinique La Prairie, Montreux, Switzerland
Where better to restore vitality and give your immune system a boost than at the exclusive Swiss Clinique La Prairie, a medi-spa that has dedicated the last nine decades to unlocking the secrets behind longevity. The 7-day Revitalisation programme is a transformative experience that stimulates regeneration, fights the signs and causes of ageing, and enhances overall mental and physical health. The stay begins with multiple consultations with leading medical specialists, including a pulmonologist (sleep expert) along with advanced DNA and blood tests, a cardio risk assessment, abdominal ultrasound, CT scan, skincare analysis, and other screenings before a highly personalised plan is put in place. All plans centre around La Prairie’s unique and tried-and-tested CLP extract, a powerful and exclusive cellular formula used since 1931 that helps to regenerate the organism and fight the effects of ageing. Diet is also key here with customised culinary plans focused on gut microbiota recovery, cellular protection and reduction in inflammation. Energising spa therapies like light meditation, deep massage, skin treatments and spiritual exploration, as well as oxygen replenishment and herbal infusions, complete the program. And all this wrapped up in a chocolate box setting on the edge of Lake Geneva framed by mountain views and a vibe that oozes old-school elegance.
Discover passion and purpose
Cavallo Point, San Francisco
Designed specifically to help guests address the stress of the pandemic, improve resilience, optimise sleep and mental clarity, and bring to light purpose, Cavallo Point’s Healthy Living program – in partnership with BlueWave Medicine – is created around six pillars, including passion and purpose, active living, restorative sleep, stress reduction and connection. Depending on your needs and goals, targeted treatments range from meditation, massage, reiki, Yoga, sound baths, hypnotherapy and acupuncture, to herbal consultations, trail hikes, energy clearing and counselling. With guidance, you mix and match treatments to tackle specific issues. To help you find your purpose, an ‘overcoming blocks’ hypnotherapy session will help boost your motivation, while intuitive counselling helps you to explore and bring to light your purpose. There’s so much else to get involved in here, with extensive and well-curated classes covering everything from cooking classes to art talks to nature walks, all providing inspiration for purpose. Nestled on San Francisco Bay at the foot of Golden Gate Bridge, facilities include a eucalyptus steam room, meditation pool, cocktail bar and art gallery. If all else fails, head for the wine cellar which has no less than 12,000 bottles.
Enhance cognitive function and memory
Four Seasons Resort Maui, Wailea, Hawaii
Part of a collaboration between Maui’s most luxurious oceanfront resort, Four Seasons, and cutting-edge longevity centre Next Health, the Revitalised Health Optimisation Program – described as the “next level of treatments that guests are seeking in the evolution of wellness travel” – is a customisable program focused on the prevention of illness, promotion of cognitive function and restoration of energy and vitality. Here, you can relax on Maui’s golden beaches in the morning and access the future of health with premium white-glove service in the afternoon. First up, comprehensive diagnostic biomarker testing provides a complete picture of your current health and determines a unique optimisation plan for you. Then, you mix and match treatments from a customisable menu featuring targeted vitamin-rich IV therapy drips, for weight loss, energy, longevity, stress, detox, immune system and gut health, to name a few. The Brain IV is designed to promote enhanced mood and cognitive function – focus, memory and clarity, while the Stress IV delivers relief from day-to-day stressors, and Longevity is packed full of antioxidants and amino acids to detox. There are also IV drips of the NAD coenzyme, said to help reverse the signs of ageing at a cellular level with expected benefits including enhanced cognitive abilities (memory, focus and creativity), increased performance and better sleeping patterns. Vitamin shots are also on the menu, a brilliant boost before relaxing with a Mai Tai cocktail and taking in the Instagram-perfect views.
Create healthy habits and embrace change
Kamalaya, Koh Samui, Thailand
With its focus on supporting those going through a big life change or challenging situation, Kamalaya’s Embracing Change program taps into the post-pandemic condition. As much a process of self-discovery as it is a treatment plan, this 5 or 7-night program lets you explore your emotional habits and address your life situation. Ideal for overcoming negative habits, experts work with you to explore past trauma and release physical and emotional blockages, so you can achieve inner balance, confidence and freedom from unhelpful patterns of thought and behaviour. Following a wellness consultation and body bioimpedance analysis, you are treated to a fusion of homoeopathy sessions, massage therapies and traditional Chinese medicine to build emotional strength; and group activities such as cooking classes, Pilates, tea-sharing ceremonies and movie nights focus on creating new habits. It helps too that five-star Kamalaya is located in the most serene location – perched on a hillside with sea views, a private beach, blue lagoon and centred around a tiny cave temple where Buddhist monks once meditated.
Recover from long COVID
Ananda in the Himalayas, India
For those who have had Covid-19, and are experiencing Long Covid symptoms, from headaches and fatigue to respiratory issues and sleep disorders, there are dedicated packages designed to help build immunity, nourish and revitalise, and balance bio-energies to aid long-term recovery. Set in the magical surroundings of the Himalayas, India, destination spa Ananda in the Himalayas offers a Post Covid Rejuvenation program for 14 or 21 nights. An expert team of doctors and therapists assess your specific symptoms and system dysfunction before delivering a personalised treatment plan combining Ayurvedic therapies, diet, herbal medicines and supplements, Yoga, pranayama and medication, while emotional healing and yoga experts address the psychological concerns. That still leaves plenty of time to swim amongst the trees, participate in group workshops, from cookery to fitness meditation, and take organised treks. The result? Greater lung capacity, clarity in cognitive functions, better absorption of nutrients and improved digestion and metabolism.