India wellness centers have taken medical tourism to the next level, and are popping up all over India. It's at a wellness center that you'll be able to pursue physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. You'll find most of these centers in southern India, particularly in the states of Kerala and Karnataka. This article outlines the best ones.
Soukya advertises itself as the first holistic health center of its kind in the world. What does this mean? Simply that Soukya offers an extensive range of systems of medicine and therapies all under one roof. These include ayurveda, homeopathy, naturopathy, yoga, acupuncture, reflexology, and acupressure. The center's name comes from the Sanskrit word 'Soukhyam', which means well being and a harmonious state of the mind, body and spirit. It's owned and operated by a doctor who's been in the holistic health medical practice for over 20 years, and all programs are monitored by qualified doctors and therapists in each specialty. The center consists of 25 rooms on a 30 acre organic farm in the countryside. There's a yoga and meditation hall, recreational facilities, and a long walking/jogging track.
- Cost: Room rates start from $220 per night for a single deluxe room. Food is included but treatments are additional and cost $60 per hour. Weekly programs are available from $145 a day.
As the name suggests, the focus of treatment at Ayurvedagram is ayurveda. It's combined with yoga, pranayama (breathing) meditation, and selected beauty treatments to complete the wellness regime. Treatment packages are tailor made to suit guests' needs, as determined by a doctor on arrival. The center specializes in arthritis, low back ache, obesity, diabetes, depression, infertility, and impotency. Guests are accommodated in antique residential cottages that have been transplanted from Kerala. In fact, all buildings on the 12 acre property are over 75 years old.
- Cost: The average cost of packages is around 55,000 rupees ($1,150) for 7 days, for a single. It includes accommodations, food, medicine, cultural entertainment, and use of all facilities such as gym and library.
If you want a yoga-based treatment regime, but would prefer a luxurious environment rather than one of the ashrams in India, then Shreyas is the place for you! This boutique resort, situated 35 kilometers from Bangalore, has been modeled on some of the more exclusive hotels in Asia. There are just 12 rooms, spread across 25 acres of gardens. The aim there is to take guests on a journey of self discovery, to harness and purifying body and mind energies, and give a spiritual perspective to actions and emotions. It's achieved through classical Hatha yoga (postures), pranayama (breathing) and pratyahara (meditation) processes drawn from the Yoga Sutras. In addition, guests can participate in nature-based and community-based activities. These include spending time in the fields, preparing meals for children at the local orphanage, and visiting local villages. If you want to relax, Shreyas has walking tracks, outdoor swimming pool, spa, home theater, and library.
- Cost: Nightly rates start from $270 during the low season for a single garden/poolside cottage. All meals and activities are included. Taxes are additional, and these add up to around 27%. Package rates are available as well, starting from $1030 for a 3 night Wellness for the Soul package, plus tax.
The Ayurvedic Natural Health Center is an excellent option for those on a budget, with a number of locations in Goa. The center combines yoga, meditation, and ayurveda in the healing process. It also offers a huge range of long and short term courses on yoga, ayurveda, and nutrition, and has its own herbal garden and line of products including herbal oils, teas, and powders. All programs for guests are formulated after consultation with a qualified ayurvedic physician.
- Cost: Seven day, single occupancy, packages start from 32,000 rupees ($650) at the Saligao center. More upmarket accommodation options near the beach are also available. Rates include all activities, meals, medicines, and sightseeing in north Goa.
SwaSwara is located at another of India's best beach destinations, Gokarna. The resort's aim is to help you connect with your body and soul. "Swa" in Sanskrit means "the self", and "Swara" refers to sound. What's unique here is that the resort is one of the top art hotels in India -- it has an Artist in Resident program, so you can explore yourself through creativity. Sunrise yoga on the beach, meditation, and ayurvedic treatments are also provided. The resort is also more liberal than most wellness centers, and offers wine with meals. However, meat (apart from fish) is not served. Guests must stay for a minimum of five nights, with seven nights being recommended.
- Cost: Fully inclusive packages start from around $2,750 for seven nights, including tax. There's an additional fee for specialist ayurvedic treatments, however. A 50% discount is available during the monsoon season, from June to September.
The focus at the Indus Valley Ayurvedic Centre is primarily ayurvedic medicine, coupled with yoga and meditation. The center was started by a doctor who had successfully used these methods to treat his illness, after modern medicine couldn't provide any relief. It offers resort-style facilities, ayurvedic food, and a team of highly trained professionals. In addition to the high standard of treatment, an appealing thing about the center is its flexibility. It has accommodations for all budgets, ranging from standard rooms up to independent villas. It's also possible to pay for services by individual rates, or take a package deal.
- Cost: Room rates start from 1,600 rupees ($35) per night, for a standard rooms. Three meals a day costs 1,000 rupees. A session of yoga is 500 rupees. Ayurvedic treatments start from around 1,500 rupees each. Alternatively, a seven night rejuvenation package starts from around 50,000 rupees ($1,000) for a single, fully inclusive of accommodation, food, doctor's consultation, treatments, and yoga.