What if we told that you don’t need to be unwell to come to Dubai for medical treatment? Well, it’s true.
Today’s hectic schedules mean that a week relaxing on the beach – as lovely as that may sound – isn’t usually enough to fully recharge your mind and body. Enter wellness holidays. Incorporating elements like preventative checkups, exercise, meditation, city exploration – and maybe even a little retail therapy – wellness getaways are at an all-time high in Dubai, with the city offering some of the best hospitality and healthcare on the planet. Go on holiday and get healthier at the same time? Um, yes please. One of the best things about this type of holiday is, if you’ve already got a work or leisure trip planned, all you have to do is piggyback a wellness holiday on the back. Easy peasy.
The game plan
The whole idea of having a wellness holiday is to break your normal routine – one that’s maybe not very good for you – and enter a fresh space where you can realign what you want for your mind, body and life. The benefits of your wellness stay are long-term, so you’ll be focusing on getting expert health and lifestyle advice while you’re here. This will see you heading home armed with the knowledge and tools that stop you from veering back on to a potentially unhealthy path. The futuristic city of Dubai offers an array of state-of-the-art wellness programme opportunities that combine exercise, nutritional advice, treatments, checkups, cultural excursions and outdoor activities that can be tailored to suit your lifestyle.
Think of yourself like a Ferrari…
If you’re wondering why wellness checks are so vital to ongoing holistic health, the head of Al Zahra’s Wellness Centre, Markus Giebel, can enlighten you. “Imagine this: you have a Ferrari, but you never service it,” he says. “What do you think is going to happen? The car is eventually going to break down and fall apart. It’s the same with your body. Wellness retreats – that effectively check up on, and ‘service’, your health – safeguard your life, boost vitality, and regenerate your mind and body.”
As to what wellness checkups entail and how often to do them, Giebel recommends a big health screening once a year and smaller tests – such as body fat, hormones, and nutrition measurements – on a regular basis.
“Our health-screening packages range in price from AED999 to AED44,999, depending on what needs to be done,” he adds. “To do these tests, bring your passport, or other forms of identification, and prior test results – if available. You’ll also want to double check whether your medical insurance covers these tests, or not.”
Aside from health-screening packages, there are an array of other options – from basic to comprehensive – available for men, women and even the entire family. Think three-day detox packages, weight loss packages, personalised wellness packages and more. Two of the most popular check-ups among women visiting Dubai are breast screening and fertility screening. DNA tests are also trending on the popularity scale with men and women. These take an in-depth scientific look in to an individual’s body and can offer incredible insights and targeted preventative treatments. Take a look at some of the treatments on offer in Dubai, here.
Dubai is famous for its luxury accommodation, and it’s no different when it comes to wellness getaways.
Samir Arora, General Manager of The Retreat Palm Dubai MGallery by Sofitel – the Middle East’s first holistic wellbeing resort set to open in September 2017 – echoes the idea that wellness getaways are meant for long-term wellbeing.
“Our aim is for you to see results from your stay, and to achieve ongoing, lasting wellness,” he explains. “Before you arrive, we’ll send you a detailed wellness questionnaire that allows us to select, adapt and tailor the best possible retreat programme for you. You choose the final package, of course. Our experienced wellness coaches have a system of follow-ups that happen after the first, third and sixth month of you staying with us, because we understand the challenges that real life presents in terms of keeping up with health routines. This will help you stay on the right path.”
The Retreat Palm Dubai MGallery by Sofitel offers several bespoke programmes based you’re your needs and goals, and you can repeat them as often as you like.
“Renew is a detox and cleansing retreat; Revitalise rebalances the mind, body and spirit; Revive focuses on emotional wellness through body and mind therapy; Rebuild is our specialist weight-management retreat; Reshape helps people achieve their fitness goals; and Relax teaches yoga and mindfulness,” Arora says. “Some people prefer to go on wellness retreats alone, while others prefer to come with friends. There is no right or wrong way.”
Here are a few things to do in Dubai while you’re getting healthier…
Indulge in feel-good food
Comptoir 102– a health-conscious café and concept boutique in Jumeirah – is a favourite among Dubai’s health fiends. Serving up a feast of mostly vegetarian fare – with the occasional tuna dish being thrown in here and there – we adore their drink-me smoothies. Try the Coffee Shake – with almond milk, a coffee shot, almond butter, dates, maca, and cardamom – for real Middle Eastern flavour. The store stocks beautiful clothing and décor, too.
Taijitu House of OM (www.taijituhouseofom.com) – a community centre in Jumeirah – features open-house wellbeing and spiritual activities and workshops. Take advantage of meditation, yoga, nutritional advice and much more in a beautiful, spacious villa, with many of the activities being free of charge.
Exercise your brain
Stay on top of your health journey by picking up a few books on healthy living from Kinokuniya (uae.kinokuniya.com), the biggest book store in the UAE that stocks about half a million books and a thousand magazines in English, Arabic, Japanese and French. Situated in Dubai Mall, make a day of it by watching the The Dubai Fountain and then popping up to the top of the Burj Khalifa (www.burjkhalifa.ae), the world’s tallest building.
Dubai has some of the most beautiful parks and outdoor spaces in the UAE. If you fancy a run along the beach, head to Jumeirah Beach. Starting at Dubai Marine Resort in Jumeirah 1, here you can run 14km running track all the way to the foot of the Burj Al Arab. Barsha Park is popular with families and features a great kids’ play area, a running and cycling track, gym equipment, and grassy areas for cloud spotting if you want to lie down for a few minutes. Dubai Muscle Beach at The Beach opposite Jumeirah Beach Residence is a great place to get a workout with an incredible view.