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Spa Business
2021 issue 3

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Leisure Management - Dr Mark Hyman

Spa people

Dr Mark Hyman

We can start a wellness revolution by making sure more people are exposed to the benefits of functional medicine

Hyman says food is the most important tool in his medical toolbox
The Six Senses resort in Ibiza recently ran a functional health retreat photo: six senses
The exclusive retreat in Ibiza was named ‘Grow a New Body’ photo: six senses
The exclusive retreat in Ibiza was named ‘Grow a New Body’ photo: six senses

In 2021, the world is still grappling with the pandemic and its consequent mental and physical health effects. Plus, one in three adults globally suffer from at least one chronic condition.

In the midst of this health crisis, Dr Mark Hyman MD believes functional medicine has the power to be life-changing in the health and wellbeing of patients.

Hyman is a practising family physician, leader in the field of functional medicine, 14-times New York Times best-seller and head of strategy and innovation of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine.

Functional medicine is a patient-centred healing approach that takes all aspects of a person into account, including lifestyle, genetics and the environment to determine the triggers of diseases or chronic conditions, and also to help healthy individuals stay well.

Once triggers are identified, a customised healthy living plan incorporating components of traditional, holistic and alternative medicine practices is created to address physical, mental and emotional needs and stressors.

For Hyman, nutrition is functional medicine’s first-line therapy, but it also has a vast array of different modalities ranging from acupressure to iridology and magnet therapy to body and breathwork.

“Food is the most important tool in my medical toolbox,” he explains, “It works faster, better and is cheaper than most medications.

“I believe we can start a wellness revolution by making sure more people are exposed to the benefits of functional and integrative medicine, and by making sure top facilities have the most qualified candidates to help lead this charge.”

To put words into action, Hyman recently joined forces with hospitality recruiting firm Hutchinson Consulting to help source and refer facilities that need certified functional and integrative medicine physicians, nurse practitioners and other health professionals.

The partnership came to fruition after Hutchinson Consulting partner Michael Tompkins and Hyman reconnected, after working together 20 years ago, to address the fact that demand for functional medicine recruitment specialists is outpacing the number of certified providers.

“We noticed a deficit in pairing functional and integrative physician and nurse practitioners with the best resorts, spas and wellness centres around the US,” said Tompkins.

“For over two decades, patients have been seeking answers to chronic health conditions and experienced little benefit from traditional approaches. Instead they’ve found success with functional medicine treatments.

“The process of weaving a web of modalities to treat the whole person to restore homeostasis is why functional medicine is such a remarkable form of treatment,” he added.

“Our collaboration with Dr Hyman is spurred on by a joint effort and desire to place the best with the best, as pairing the brightest talent with admired wellness destinations is a win/win for both the providers and the properties.”

So far, the partnership has placed specialists in wellness centres or independently owned functional medicine physician practices.

Most candidates have been sourced via the internet, private practices or through following graduates of the University of Arizona’s Andrew Weil Centre for Integrative Medicine or the Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM). The majority of employers seek board-certified physicians with additional certifications in functional or integrative medicine from the University of Arizona or the IFM.

Ultimately, Hyman and Hutchinson Consulting are on a shared mission to find functional medicine practitioners who are adept listeners, scientific investigators and team players open to collaboration with a role-model ‘practice what you preach’ lifestyle.

In other industry news, luxury resort brand Six Senses recently tapped Hyman’s functional medicine expertise to launch a retreat at its brand new Ibiza resort in Spain.

Named ‘Grow a New Body’, the exclusive programme was limited to just 10 participants and designed to help attendees boost their mood and energy levels, strengthen the immune system, prevent inflammation, relieve chronic pain and slow down the ageing process.

Hyman and Six Senses collaborated with medical anthropologist and Shamanic energy medicine specialist Dr Alberto Villoldo to conceive the retreat.

The programme was designed to lay the foundation for a healthy body that ages slowly and joyfully and push the boundaries into less visible fields such as sacred energy and reconnection alongside cutting-edge science, detox strategies, and power-plant foods that can switch-on every cell’s ability to regenerate and repair.

Costing €3,800 (£3,260, US$4,487) per person, the retreat included three shaman/energy medicine sessions, four oxygen altitude training sessions, four IV infusions, six lectures with Villoldo and Hyman and daily group morning yoga, hike or walk and evening meditations.

Guests also underwent a wellness screening, three glutathione infusions, seven bodywork sessions and entry and exit energy-medicine evaluation.

The offer included full board accommodation, neuro-nutrients and supplements, and access to daily wellness activities and the spa’s thermal experiences.

photo: Michael Tompkins

Hutchinson Consulting partner, Michael Tompkins

Originally published in Spa Business 2021 issue 3

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