By Kris Abbey
A HEALTH RESORT HOLIDAY MIGHT JUST BE THE PANACEA YOUR OVERWROUGHT MIND AND BODY NEED RIGHT NOW.
Human optimisation: it sounds like something that happens in a stark white elite sports laboratory but actually, it can be something far more than just a pleasant experience. Find the right guides and location and it can even feel downright luxurious.
Experts in human optimisation, which is often called biohacking, consider the body as a whole system that runs like a well-oiled machine for wellness and longevity. And though the term might be new to those outside the performance enhancement industry, the practice of tweaking our body’s biology for optimal health has been going on for centuries. Whether you’re looking for cutting-edge treatments using the best science to biohack your body, more traditional approaches or a combination of both, here are three incredible retreats – here, near and far away – that offer guidance in biohacking for optimal wellbeing at any age. Even if you can’t travel right now, it doesn’t hurt to plan ahead.
NO PASSPORT NEEDED – SOMA, AUSTRALIA
This stunning property, 10 minutes from Byron Bay, recently achieved notoriety as the location used to shoot the small-screen adaptation of Liane Moriarty’s bestselling novel Nine Perfect Strangers. You can book one of Soma’s in-house retreats or round up a group of friends and take over the entire 10-bedroom luxurious hideaway, complete with a chef who specialises in Ayurvedic cuisine. Soma’s retreats focus on treating the body as a whole from the inside out. You’ll enjoy incredible healing cuisine loaded with adaptogenic ingredients that are perfect if you suffer stress and burnout, which has a huge impact on your adrenal glands. Your adrenals produce hormones that help regulate your metabolism, immune system, blood pressure, response to stress and other essential functions. They also have an incredible program for rewiring your thought patterns, consciousness and creativity.
Biohack specialty: Magnesium ice bath, infrared sauna and Vedic meditation practices.
ACROSS THE TASMAN – ARO HA, NEW ZEALAND
Aro Ha is a multi-award winning retreat where wellness traditions meet luxury. Set in the pristine Southern Alps near Queenstown, it promises both a physical and emotional transformation. Aro Ha’s programs are based on research that suggests we can fundamentally transform our physical and emotional health through daily habits. After waking to the beautiful chimes of a Tibetan bowl, you begin your day watching the sunrise over the mountains from the yoga studio. After a perfectly balanced and nourishing breakfast, you can explore the subalpine trails, immersing yourself in the potent power of nature. Mindfulness practices are a constant throughout the day as you participate in curated activities ranging from cooking classes to functional strength training. Navigating between group and solo activities, you’ll learn to balance solitude and community for well-being and clarity. Not surprisingly, they encourage you to switch off from technology during your stay, too.
Biohack Specialty: Breathwork. If you’re familiar with the name Wim Hof, you will know the first pillar of the Wim Hof method is breathing. We’re always breathing, yet we’re mostly unaware of its tremendous potential. Heightened oxygen levels hold a treasure trove of benefits, and the specialised breathing techniques taught at Aro Ha unearth them all: more energy, reduced stress levels, better sleep and an augmented immune response.
OVERSEAS DREAM – SHA WELLNESS CLINIC, SPAIN
One of the most sophisticated and scientific retreats in the world, SHA Wellness Clinic is for those who want to biohack the body and use scientific intervention for optimum results. The SHA Method combines the latest medical advances with dietary re-education and various natural therapies to improve and prolong health. Based on seven main areas – healthy nutrition, natural therapies, preventive and healthy ageing medicine, advanced aesthetics, cognitive and emotional health, wellbeing and inner balance, and physical performance – you will achieve an entire body makeover. And while there are plenty of experts in white coats, it feels anything but a clinic. The beautiful luxury accommodation is located in one of Europe’s most privileged locations, overlooking the Mediterranean. And like all good spa retreats, your journey begins before you arrive. Your comprehensive pre-visit health questionnaire helps shape your wellness program, so your transformation begins the minute you arrive.
Biohack Specialty: SHA has many as their core purpose is to biohack your body for optimal health. They drill down to your deficiencies through blood tests, DNA tests and body scans, then prescribe you with your bespoke optimal health road map. It’s up to you how much modern intervention you include in your program, versus traditional modalities.