Updated: Jun 11
Health is Wealth – we have all read and heard this proverb at some point of our life. In my observation, some people are health conscious by default, and others are forced to become one at the need of the hour. Taking about myself, I, definitely, fall in the second category – a foodie by choice and heart, the onus of becoming conscious of my health fell on me, few years back.
With the intention and objective of becoming healthy, I delved into the internet for various information and knowledge about the myriad aspects of wellness. While scrambling through a pool of data, what came striking at me was the number of wellness centers that have sprung across the country.
Now the question arises – what is a wellness center and why are there so many cropping up?
In particular, in India, wellness has been an age-old concept and has been in vogue among rishi, munis and the likes. The total concept of mental and physical health has been built on the pillars of traditional medicines and methods such as Ayurveda and yoga. However, as time progressed these concepts and knowledge got buried under the growing layers of fast and hectic lifestyle, where health recovery was only resorted to during the time of illness and practically, with zero attention on mental well-being.
Over the last couple of years, a certain section of people started re-visiting and embracing the ancient concept of health and wellness. The numerus instances of young corporate professionals collapsing in the past year or two, along with the grave pandemic scenario, people across the country seems to have received a wake-up call with regards to health. As a result, most people have started giving health a priority and are adopting some form of fitness regime for their overall well-being.
Keeping this in mind, quite a number of establishments, where people can come for a vacation and dedicate time towards health upliftment and rejuvenation, have been opened up in various offbeat locations across the country. However, a deeper look would reveal that some of such wellness centers were already present within our country since the last few decades. In most probable cases, they were termed as ‘ashrams’ and people had a completely different viewpoint of them.
The newer ones that are being set up are equipped with all modern facilities to amalgamate the benefits of ancient healing with the requirements of modern-day lifestyle. Another notable factor is also the influx of international people into these centers in search of peace of mind and self-awareness.
This steady rise of the wellness industry is also fueled by the rise in disposable incomes in the hand of the people and access of the market to private-sector investors. There is also an attitude shift among people, especially, corporate personnel towards mental and physical fitness.
These fast-developing wellness centers are expected to reduce the load on secondary and tertiary healthcare facilities, especially in the situation when the health infrastructure is under tremendous pressure amidst the ongoing crisis.
Another interesting factor is the initiatives adopted by the Indian government to promote tourism to both domestic and international people, for the regions where these wellness centers are located. The government is also highly encouraging in raising the interest within people towards wellness activities like yoga and meditation.
Located in different picturesque locations across the country, the some of the most notable wellness centers are:
Ananda in the Himalayas, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand: A top luxury spa resort that offers various Ayurvedic treatments (abhyanga, Shirodhara, shloka, takradhara, mukh lepa) as well as custom-made packages for specific health concerns. Guests can also avail yoga and meditation therapy, healing treatments, physiotherapy, and Vedanta talk sessions.
Auroville, Tamil Nadu: This is not one wellness center but a township located partially in the former French colonial region of Pondicherry. There are several resorts and homestays that provide wellness packages including yoga classes, art, music, and dance therapies.
SwaSwara, Gokarna, Karnataka: The resort has programs for rejuvenation of mind, body, and soul via a mix of yoga, meditation, activities (painting and sculpting) and healthy diet. The retreat center has modernized facilities than other wellness centers and offers wine with meals. Accommodation can be booked for 5 to 21 days, as wished and recommended.
There are other prominent establishments that offers similar wellness programs – The Leela Palace, Udaipur, Rajasthan; Soul & Surf, Kerala; Vana Retreat, Dehradun; Soukya International Holistic Centre, Bengaluru, Karnataka; and Shreyas Yoga Retreat, Bengaluru, Karnataka.
However, this meteoric growth is also faced with roadblocks – shortage of skilled human resources and the lack of proper and adequate infrastructure. There are very few reliable places that offer proper and practical training to develop talented manpower. The sector still is an emerging one and remains highly unorganized, and hence, monitoring the overall expansion of the sector is a complex and expensive exercise.
Nevertheless, taking into account, all the facts and formats, these wellness centers seem like a good option for a short-term vacation for people who wants to break the shackles of the complicated lifestyle for a couple of days.
I haven’t, yet, visited any of these centers, but do have it on the bucket list. Maybe, Godspeed soon!! What about you?