Whether you are the head of a beauty product company, operate a day spa or manage a spa resort, there is much to be learned from the new interest in Ayurveda, a 3,500-year-old complex, holistic system of medicine and a complete philosophy of healthy living.
High-profile advocates like Deepak Chopra have helped fuel Ayurveda’s growing popularity and increasing acceptance in the global medical community, but it is most often experienced outside India in piecemeal form, such as yoga and/or meditation, or in relaxing (photogenic) treatments like Shirodhara, the pouring of oils on the forehead.
But that is changing, as people around the globe increasingly seek authentic, ancient and indigenous wellness experiences and treatments (think wellness tourism). Of course, Ayurveda, derived from the Sanskrit words, “Ayus,” meaning life, and “Veda,” meaning knowledge, is just one “ancient” tradition that is experiencing a strong revival. There are also more authentic Roman and Turkish baths, Russian banyas, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Nordic offerings…to name a few.
Taking a closer look at Ayurveda, the increase in more authentic programs is taking place at both new Indian spas and around the world. Overseen by Ayurvedic doctors who identify imbalances in a person’s “doshas,” these programs include: personalized, detoxing and rebalancing regimes of diet change; Panchakarma, a multi-week detox; dietary recommendations and coaching exercises like yoga (based on a person’s “prakti,” or constitution); and mental discipline regimes like meditation, healthy sleep, regular massage and herbal medicine.
India’s government is also putting muscle behind its wellness tourism (clocking 22-percent growth annually), and with Ayurveda a campaign centerpiece, more people are traveling to experience the “real deal” in its homeland. World-renowned Ayurvedic destinations such as the region of Kerala, as well as establishments like Ananda in the Himalayas and Soukya, have attracted international guests for years. As well, Vana, Malsi Estate, Dehradun, a stunning 21-acre wellness and Ayurvedic destination set in the Himalayan forest, will open later this year, adding to the attractions in India. Now, more new, luxe Indian spa resorts will continue to make these more authentic programs (involving distinctly un-pampering elements like purgatives) help the “medicine” go down.
Now back to you. Why does it matter to your business that Ayurveda and other authentic wellness/spa traditions are on the rise? Because a demand for “authenticity” also means a demand for natural ingredients in products, indigenous experiences and, above all, a continuing desire to connect with nature. So whether you offer a massage on the patio, or a facial using locally raised fruits or vegetables, or you develop a strategy to attract wellness tourists, there is real money to be made from real authenticity.
Question of the week:
What is the most creative use of authenticity that you have seen in the spa/wellness industry? Please contribute your thoughts by leaving a comment.
The GSWS Team
Learn more about a once-in-a lifetime, post-Summit experience in Kerala, the cradle of Ayurveda, hosted by CGH Earth’s “Coconut Lagoon,” October 8-12.
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