29 May 2024 World leisure: news, training & property
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Spa Business
2023 issue 1

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Leisure Management - Letters

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Wellness hotels are investing in medical staff and equipment photo: Zulal Wellness Resort by Chiva-Som

Medical wellness is coming into its own and it’s exciting
Sandie Johannessen, director of health & wellness, Zulal Wellness Resort by Chiva-Som
Sandie Johannessen / Photo: Sandie Johannessen

The past few years have taught us that health is a valuable commodity we can’t take for granted. Medical wellness is key to this and it’s coming into its own now more than ever.

Instead of being passive recipients of care from a medical professional, more people are taking steps to avert issues before they happen.

This is befitting of the ‘medical/integrative wellness guest’ model, which usually encompasses a whole-person approach that involves a team of professionals working collaboratively to ensure the best health outcomes for the individual on a physical, emotional and spiritual level.

Exercise, nutrition, relaxation and massage come into play and luxury hotels are also increasingly investing in high-grade medical equipment and diagnostics, as well as holistic healthcare professionals, to add scientific credibility to their wellbeing offerings.

And with blood work being the new ‘passport to wellbeing’, guests can gain insights into everything from micro-nutrient deficiencies to management – or even diagnosis – of conditions from high blood pressure to diabetes.

On the other side of the coin in the Middle East, where I’m based, new hospitals are replicating the five-star hotel experience for patients, recruiting hoteliers and therapists for their skills.

So the question is are these two models really so separate? Or do they each, in fact, stimulate growth, learning and development in the other?

With researchers, scientists, medics and therapists working together towards longer and healthier lives for all, the future truly does look bright – from hospitality at a cellular level to hospitals that encompass a holistic approach to healing.

This is why the integrative wellness world excites me and why I’m looking forward to seeing just how much the lines between patient and guest can and will blur in the future. What fascinates you about the integrative/medical wellness world?

With researchers, scientists, medics and therapists working together towards longer and healthier lives for all, the future truly does look bright
It all starts with the vagus nerve Julie Cichocki, wellness solutions provider, Kloodos
Julie Cichocki / photo:kloodos

When developing and writing advanced wellness protocols I always start at the very beginning – the vagus nerve.

This is the longest nerve in the parasympathetic system and touches all major organs, carrying signals to the brain and vice versa.

A good technician can strengthen and tone the vagus nerve through on/off, firm/light touches of the neck (taking clients to the edge before relaxing) and focus on breathwork, as well as incorporate work on the eyes (they have direct access to the brain) and tongue.

This initial approach will help to balance the whole body before you then work on lymph (waste) drainage because without these starting points you’ll get nowhere, but they’re so often overlooked.

With the arrival of high-tech in spas – from cryotherapy and hyperbaric chambers to IV drips – we’re in danger of neglecting touch. That said, hands-on alone cannot hope to replicate the deep cellular regeneration we can deliver with the right technology.

For the ultimate explosive results, the potent force of tech and touch cannot be beaten. It’s so logical, it’s powerful. But it’s grossly neglected.

I’ve spent four decades developing treatment protocols for leading names such as Mandarin Oriental and ESPA and in the last decade I’ve also been supplying best-in-class technologies. It’s unusual for distributors to have such a passion for anatomy and physiology, but being able to offer solutions to spas which integrate technologies and incorporate hands-on approaches enables them to have the best impact on health and wellness.

Without working on the vagus nerve followed by lymph drainage you’ll get nowhere – yet it’s so often overlooked
Working on the neck is one way to impact the vagus nerve / Photo: shutterstock/VALUA VITALY

Originally published in Spa Business 2023 issue 1

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