These science-based treatments offer a new way to spa

These science-based spa treatments offer a new way to spa

Technology and tradition are powering a new approach to wellness. By Ute Junker

Words by Ute Junker

Photos supplied

A version of this story first appeared in Traveller

Dreaming of a spa getaway? You are not alone. Wellness resorts around the world are reporting a spike in bookings – hardly surprising, given our new understanding of how precious our health is. “Everyone has woken up to the fact that this stuff is really important,” says Neil Jacobs, CEO of wellness pioneers, Six Senses.

If you do book yourself in at a spa retreat, you may be surprised at the array of treatments on offer. “People are tired of regular spas,” says Philippe Zuber, CEO of luxury resort company One & Only. That’s why wellness operators are getting creative, with options ranging from underwater breathing sessions to heart healing to meditative river bathing.

Science-based approaches are also increasingly popular, whether that is using diagnostic tools such as antioxidant scans or treatments using techniques such as infra-red light. For many clients, results are now as important as relaxation, according to Zuber.

“We back up all of our spa treatments with science, but we don’t do medical spas; we offer the science element in a resort environment,” he says.

The wellness evolution is likely to keep rolling along, according to Sonu Shivdasani, founder of the wellness-centred Soneva brand. He says that areas such as anti-ageing will be an increasing focus. “There is a lot of research on epigenetics and how we can roll back the years,” he says.

In the meantime, if you want to plunge into the brave new world of wellness, try one of these memorable experiences.


THE PLACE One & Only Desaru Coast, Malaysia

THE TREATMENT Neuro-acoustic therapy

IMMERSE YOURSELF You could call it meditation on steroids. In this unusual treatment, harnessed by many professional athletes, you lie on a bed decked out with headphones and eye mask and listen to a natural soundtrack with electric beats that is designed to slow your brainwaves and induces a deep sense of relaxation.

DON’T MISS This luxury beach resort – one of the last designed by the late Australian architect Kerry Hill – also offers plenty of nature-based adventures, including tracking gibbons in the jungle.

MAKE IT HAPPEN One&Only Desaru Coast is 2.5 hours from Singapore’s Changi Airport. Treatment is RM 255 for 30 minutes or RM480 for 60 minutes. Room rates from $969 per night. See


THE PLACE Grand Hotel des Bains Kempinski, St Moritz, Switzerland


IMMERSE YOURSELF Short attention span? Then you will love the cryotherapy at Grand Hotel des Bains Kempinski, where each session lasts just three minutes. That’s because it takes place in a cryosauna lowered to a temperature of minus 110 degrees. The extreme cold is believed to minimise inflammation, improve your sleep and your body’s recovery system. A package of sessions is recommended.

DON’T MISS Come in the winter to enjoy the hotel’s direct access to the ski slopes.

MAKE IT HAPPEN From CHF65 for a single session to CHF60 for five or more sessions. Room rates from 595 euros a night. See


THE PLACE Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort, St Lucia, The Caribbean

THE TREATMENT Underwater Breathwork Programme

IMMERSE YOURSELF Yoga aficionados and divers alike are aware of the importance of controlled breathing, which this experience – built around a sunrise dive – is all about. Participants practice breathing exercises on the boat before repeating them underwater, along with a series of controlled yoga poses. The 2.5 hour experience includes 45 minutes underwater.

DON’T MISS A sightseeing dive is included as part of the experience.

MAKE IT HAPPEN The programme starts from $180 per person, minimum age 10 years old. All-inclusive room rates from US$266. See



THE TREATMENT Earth Day Retreat

IMMERSE YOURSELF This three-day retreat, focused on sustainability and regenerative principles, is designed to connect you with the planet. Activities range from organic cooking classes and forest bathing rituals to hydroponic gardening and a beach clean-up.

DON’T MISS Dial up the indulgence with daily massages, yoga and organic plant-based cuisine.

MAKE IT HAPPEN This fully-inclusive retreat, including airport transfers, accommodation, meals, treatments and activities, takes place from 21- 24 April 2022. Rates from US$1,500 per person single occupancy and US$1,100 per person twin share.  See


THE PLACE The Spa By Equinox Hotels, New York, New York

THE TREATMENT Antioxidant Hand Scan

IMMERSE YOURSELF No needles involved in this diagnostic test; instead, this non-invasive procedure uses a biophotonic scanner to measure your body’s antioxidants levels. Depending on the results, the team can recommend steps to boost your antioxidant count and restore your body’s anti-ageing defence mechanisms.

DON’T MISS Equinox was a wellness operator before it launched its first hotel, so it’s no surprise that on-site fitness facilities are seriously impressive.

MAKE IT HAPPEN Treatment is $45. Room rates from US$895 a night. See


THE PLACE SHA Wellness Clinic, Alicante, Spain

THE TREATMENT Gut health program

IMMERSE YOURSELF SHA Wellness Clinic is all about science-based treatments that deliver results. Its new 7-day gut health program focuses on the mental and physical causes of digestive disorders, and includes medical treatments, natural therapies and a nutrition plan.

DON’T MISS  SHA’s facilities include an infinity rooftop pool,  a tea lounge with an oxygen bar and macrobiotic cookery classes.

MAKE IT HAPPEN All-inclusive rate for the gut health program from €5,600 per person. See

Previous PostNext Post