In our Special Feature this month, You & I talks to four people behind some of the most exclusive wellness retreats in India and abroad. Each share how the pandemic has changed the industry and what lies ahead for wellness in the world.
Immunity boosting became an issue for all of us when COVID-19 came into our lives. People started haphazardly popping Vitamins at an alarming rate, and suddenly we saw a growing curiosity for wellness centres that have for years been doing exactly this, albeit in a much more planned and evolved manner. Nestled in the most pristine of locales, these centres are havens for relaxation and recuperation. In India, we have always celebrated Ayurveda and promoted such retreats to re-align the body and rejuvenate our health. Abroad, they are seen as spas, where guests usually take a few weeks out of their year to get back to their primes.
Often using their very own formulas for detoxification, rejuvenation and healing, these places have grown in popularity, with celebrities often endorsing them, famous people heading there for weight loss and the elderly choosing them instead of their annual vacations. They’ve come a long way from offering just colonics and massages as well. Today, a state-of-the-art centre can have entire rooms dedicated to cryotherapy, ozone therapy and cutting edge infusions, marrying the best of scientific research and ancient traditions to offer guests only the best medical treatment on offer out there. – Vishwaveer Singh
The general opinion globally is that there will be more demand for wellness travel in a post-COVID era. Do you agree with that?
Yes, I agree after COVID-19 there will be more demand for wellness, but there will also be a change in what people are asking for. The medical part becomes more and more important, and this is what we already see. People ask for specific complaints, and they want to get rid of their complaints, so people asking for strategies to protect themselves from different conditions.
So I think in the future the industry will change faster and quicker into medical wellness or medical treatments associated with wellness centres and the functional of medical doctors as part of this strategy will become more important.
The overall consensus is that domestic travel will see an initial spike. How is the wellness industry gearing up for travellers post-pandemic? What kind of travellers are you expecting?
Yes, there are more domestic travellers already seen, and slowly the international travel will increase again, but for sure there will be a difference, and nothing will be like before COVID 19. Not only travelling will be less comfortable and we have to accept a few more restriction than we already had. But also people feel less comfortable travelling long distances at the moment. So they won’t travel for a holiday, but will travel to get medical therapies. And again depending on the medical offers, the institutes will provide. I am sure customers will select depending on their individual need and demands.
The spa and wellness experiences are mostly high-contact. How do you think this will pan out when physical distancing is going to become the new norm?
I disagree. Social distancing special in the therapy will not become the new norm. It can’t be that we are contactless in medical therapies with the patient. We need personal and individualized contact, we need to touch people, and we also need physical contact to get an emotional response. So in the medical setting, the physical contact will always be part of the therapy. We have to stop to create fear and anger about that!
If people think social distancing will be the new normality look at the science behind that. We know if you want to grow animals without social contact, they are not able to survive, they will die very quickly. And we are social beings! It can’t be that we have no personal contact and no physical contact with our guests and patients.
What are some of the preventive measures taken to prioritize safety among customers?
I think safety has always been a priority in medical institutes. Depending on the kind of service and intensity of the contact, safety has to be different. We are not in an operation theatre where we have sterile situations, but of course, hygienic standards are required, but they should not be overboard.
More important will be to inform people about possibilities to protect themselves and to treat diseases like COVID-19. There is no reason to create fear and anger because then we have many possibilities in complementary medicine to treat a disease like Covid-19.
What are the kind of wellness experiences that you are predicting would see a demand once travel swings back? Is it general detox, immunity building or individual ailment treatment?
The demand goes directly to individualized treatments. Of course, at the moment, immune-boosting strategies are required, and people are asking specifically for that because of this pandemic situation. Still, in general, we see an increasing demand for individualized treatments. People want to get their specific complaints considered. I am sure, an institute that can offer that specific service will also have a good economic result.
Do you think there will be a spike in mental and spiritual health retreats/ experiences? And how are we currently placed on the demand-supply chain here?
I don’t think there will be more demand on mental and spiritual health because we already have a lot of demand on that and we also have a lot of centres offering that specific form of wellness experience. The future is for sure more in general preventive strategies, stress-related problems (that includes for sure also mental health), but also in case of mental health people requiring specific therapies and treatments. This is the reason we, for example, offer emotional detox in a very specific way in combination with functional muscle testing and orthomolecular supplementation. Because it is never a one way, we as humans are a symbiosis of physical, emotional and spiritual existents.
In a contactless world, what will be the ‘new face’ of luxury wellness experiences? And how do you think that will impact the industry?
Again please look above. I regret to accept that we have a contactless world. It is not possible in the therapy, and the luxury that we offer is to stay in contact with our patients and clients. From the very beginning in our life, we need the contact, first with our mother and parents later with friends and the beloved person. In the therapy, it will not be possible to stay contactless and successfully in treatment.
Some additional notes below:
At VIVAMAYR, we believe in the power of relationships, but not just any! It is our body and mind that require special attention for us to benefit from lasting health and longevity.
With us, you find a personal partner in all matters related to a healthier and happier life. Our two award-winning health centres located in breathtaking surroundings in Austria have a clear focus: to help guests detoxify and cleanse their bodies, and to provide treatment for those suffering from health problems.
Many of us are now concerned about our immune system and feel that our energy levels and vitality are subsiding. VIVAMAYR focuses on improving gut health, which is where 75% of our immune system is located. Your tailor-made program of treatments, nutritional counselling, physical activities and rest periods will provide your immune system with an essential role in protecting yourself from any chronic diseases.
Our two medical centres surface between 6,000 - 8,000 sqm providing enough flexibility for moving around freely and safely. By following all necessary rules and protocols, the VIVAMAYR environment ensures safety and well-being for guests and team members alike.