Historically, a retreat referred to the military strategy of pulling away or moving back from the enemy due to an impending defeat or to gain a different advantage. In contemporary times, the word retreat has come to mean many other things.
One thing remains true, however. Retreat means withdrawal. And well-being retreats pertain to the strategic departure from one’s routine for one’s personal well-being.
What Is a Well-being Retreat?
But what does personal well-being mean? Generally, it refers to the abstract notions of peace, serenity, happiness, and the more tangible concept of health.
You can say that a well-being retreat, in this context, is the strategic withdrawal from one’s regular routine to attain good health and, ultimately, serenity, peace, and happiness (or any other intangibles one might consider crucial to his well-being).
Pragmatically speaking, a well-being retreat is a vacation with a purpose. You can think of it as rehabilitation, too.
It involves checking into a well-being resort or a holistic wellness facility. Its purpose is to take you away from everyday stressors or the temptations that entice you to make suboptimal choices.
While at the wellness resort, you will follow a structured, holistic regimen to achieve one or more of your health goals, whether they be weight loss, fitness, better nutrition, or rejuvenation, among others.
What Happens at a Well-being Retreat?
Well-being retreats take a holistic approach to well-being.
All of the elements that comprise your stay – your accommodation, your food and beverage intake, your activities from the first moment of wakefulness to the time you rest your head on your pillow at night – are carefully planned.
In other words, everything you will do, eat, see, and experience at a well-being retreat will contribute to achieving your desired wellness goals.
Your Journey to Well-being
Well-being resorts customise their well-being packages according to the subject’s circumstances.
If you check in at a wellness resort, the following are the steps you’re likely to go through:
1. Initial Doctor’s Consultation
Right after check-in, you will consult with a doctor. The doctor will interview you to determine your medical history, gauge how you are feeling, and understand what you wish to achieve from your stay.
Next, you will undergo diagnostics to determine your body’s current health state. You are unlikely to get all diagnostic tests done upon arrival. Some tests require specific preparation.
The following are some of the diagnostic procedures you might have to undergo at a well-being resort.
- Blood pressure monitoring
- Body fat testing
- Exercise tolerance testing
- Facial skin testing
- Fasting blood sugar testing
- Fasting insulin testing
- Flexibility testing
- Heart rate variability testing
- Muscle strength monitoring
- Oxidative stress testing
- Thyroid ultrasound
- Venous Insufficiency Testing
3. Wellness Consultation
At this stage, the doctor will have formed a clearer picture of your current health status based on the results of your diagnostic procedures. Now is the time to set a wellness goal – something you can achieve given the timeframe of your stay.
4. Nutrition Plan Selection
This time, you and the doctor or the nutritionist will decide on the particular nutrition plan you will follow while staying at the resort.
5. Creation of a Personalised Weekly Program
Specialists will draw out a customised weekly plan for you at this stage. They will map out all of the activities you need to do, the exercises you must perform, and the food you will eat. Ideally, it will plot out even your sleeping and waking hours.
6. Plan Execution
You will need to follow your plan strictly to achieve your desired results.
Ideally, you will come out of your well-being journey a better version of the person that came in.
Types of Well-being Retreats
Well-being retreats come in many “flavours,” but they usually belong to one of the following categories.
Weight Loss and Weight Management
Weight loss and weight management retreats are some of the most popular well-being programs. This well-being package typically involves a multi-pronged approach that includes diet and exercise.
Under a weight loss management program, you might undergo detox and cleansing to jumpstart the process. Next, you will follow a specific diet plan (say, calorie control, intermittent fasting, ketogenic diet, or a combination of these or other particular modalities).
To complement the diet plan, you will be required to adhere to a customised workout plan. Your workout could be a mix of cardiovascular and strength training, depending on your capacity and the amount of weight you aim to shed.
Fitness Boot Camp
In a fitness boot camp, the goal is to improve your flexibility, vigour, or stamina. Physical exercise is the chief driver of this well-being retreat package. You will likely spend a lot of your time at the gym, doing one or all of the following types of exercises.
- Cardiovascular training
- Strength or resistance training
- Flexibility training
- Balance training
To enhance the benefits of your fitness regimen, you will have to follow a strict diet designed specifically for your needs. Specialists are also likely to give you therapeutic massages to help your muscles recover from the strain of physical exercise.
Cleansing, Detox, Rejuvenation
These well-being programs focus on achieving a general feeling of well-being. In these types of well-being retreats, you will undergo cleansing and detoxifying diets for cellular healing, restore radiance, and regain youthful energy.
This well-being program may also include skin restoration and rejuvenating treatments such as facials, scrubs, massages, and advanced skin lifting and rejuvenation procedures.
Prevention and Rehabilitation
Some well-being programs have specific health targets or aim to reverse or prevent specific medical conditions. Examples include immune support, liver support, diabetes reversal, and cancer prevention retreats.
Retreat into Wellness
There is a reason well-being retreats are gaining so much popularity. People now have to contend with so many competing demands on their time. Thus, it is not easy to make better lifestyle choices or set aside time for activities that enhance their well-being.
Perhaps it is time to make a strategic withdrawal from your routine, stay at a holistic well-being resort, and jumpstart your journey to a better, healthier, happier you.
Burak Cankat is the Wellness Director at Zoya Health and Wellbeing Resort in the UAE, with 18 years of experience in the Hospitality, Health and Well-being industry. The resort is a unique integrative well-being destination nestled between the sea and mangroves in Ajman, offering holistic packages that combine cutting-edge medical science, physiotherapy, fitness, nutrition, and the latest advance in aesthetics to nourish the body and invigorate the mind.