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Immunity boosters: Detox Covid blues: wealthy Indians travel to exotic and isolated places to boost their immunity

From the backwaters of Kerala to the beaches of Gokarna to the foothills of the Himalayas, wealthy Indians are heading to some of the most exotic and isolated places in the country – not on vacation but to detox or boost their immunity after Covid- 19.

Investment bankers, startup founders, stockbrokers, fund managers, entrepreneurs and industrialists are taking time out for a complete detox, helping wellness resorts and luxury spas to across the country to recover from the shocks of pandemic-induced closures and travel restrictions.

“Indian guests of Ananda for Wellness programs have doubled since 2020,” said Mahesh Natarajan, chief operating officer at IHHR Hospitality, owner of the luxury Ananda spa in the Himalayas near Rishikesh. “These clients are looking for overall rejuvenation and boosting immunity.”

Ananda launched a “Post Covid Rejuvenation” program with psychosomatic assessment, leading to the identification and management of specific symptoms.

Other luxury wellness destinations such as CGH Earth Wellness, owner of SwaSwara in Gokarna, and Bengaluru-based Ayurvedic resorts Soukya Ayurveda and AyurvedaGram, are also attracting wealthy Indians for their detox and holistic health programs.

“Last year has completely opened up a new market of (domestic) consumers who are willing to be away for at least 2-4 weeks,” said Sidarth Dominic, CEO of CGH Earth Wellness. “During the first days of opening post-Covid, we had hardly any consumers. We had to lower the prices of the naturopathic and Ayurveda programs. Now demand and prices have returned to the levels of before covid.

Before Covid, these wellness centers mainly catered to an international clientele. But that has become a trickle now, except for those traveling on medical visas, Dominic said.

BENEFITS OF AYURVEDA

“You start de-stressing almost immediately,” said Atul Kirloskar, president of

, who completed a program at CGH Earth Wellness. “The dosage of the allopathic medicines I was taking for my heart and my diabetes went down. I also learned about natural healing from Ayurveda.

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Ayurveda has fewer side effects and helps improve immunity, which has become all the more vital after Covid, experts have said. It provides a comprehensive diagnosis and treatment plan for the entire healthcare system, they said.

Many people have felt exhausted and suffer from persistent post-Covid issues such as unexplained fatigue, trouble sleeping, respiratory and skin issues, foggy brain, memory loss, joint pain, anxiety and depression. “It has helped reduce my stress levels and also made me feel lighter physically as I have lost weight,” said Shalini Warrier, Executive Director and Business Leader, Retail, at

who has undergone treatment at CGH Earth Wellness.

While treating medical problems through an integrated medicine approach, there is a preferred treatment for every problem, said Ashok Soota, president of

who had health problems that were corrected at Soukya Wellness.

TIME IS HEALTH

Having seen their benefits, the senior executives of India Inc are now willing to invest time and money and take regular healing trips to these top wellness centers where serene locations add to the charm and to the positivity of rejuvenation.

“For working professionals, devoting even 10 days is difficult, but it’s highly recommended,” said Vivek Sunder, founder of edtech startup Cuemath, who recently took a session at AyurvedaGram and feels “detoxified, light and holistic”.

Kirloskar, too, found it “very difficult to commit to 21-30 day schedules”, but committed to a 21 day schedule. He said he started feeling a mental and physical change on the 18th day. “My blood pressure dropped and I felt good physically as my weight dropped 8kg even though I had all the meals.”

Serial entrepreneur Ramesh Vangal who runs AyurvedaGram said, “Anyone who opts for these treatments should be suited to have a very different lifestyle during the days they undergo the treatment. The schedule can sometimes be difficult; it is imperative that at least some of the changes in one’s life be postponed until later.

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