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Detox Covid blues: India’s rich travelling to exotic and secluded locations to boost immunity

From the backwaters of Kerala to the beaches of Gokarna to the foothills of Himalayas, India’s uber rich are travelling to some of the most exotic and secluded places in the country – not on a holiday but to detox themselves or boost immunity post Covid-19.

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

“Indian clients to Ananda for Wellness programmes have doubled since 2020,” said Mahesh Natarajan, chief operating officer at IHHR Hospitality that owns luxury spa Ananda in the Himalayas near Rishikesh. “These clients are looking for overall rejuvenation and boost in immunity.”

Ananda has launched a ‘Post Covid Rejuvenation’ programme with a psychosomatic assessment, leading to identification and management of specific symptoms.

Other luxury wellness destinations such as CGH Earth Wellness that owns ayurveda and naturopathy centers like Kalari Kovilakam, Prakriti Shakthi, SwaSwara in Gokarna, and Bengaluru-based Ayurveda resorts Soukya Ayurveda and AyurvedaGram, too, are attracting rich Indians for their detox and holistic health programmes.

“The last one year has completely opened up a new market of consumers (domestic) who are willing to take time off for a minimum of at least 2-4 weeks,” said Sidarth Dominic, CEO of CGH Earth Wellness. “During the initial days of opening post-Covid, we hardly got any consumers. We had to drop prices both in naturopathy and Ayurveda programmes. Now, the demand and pricing are back to pre-Covid levels.”

Pre-Covid, these wellness centres were mostly catering to international clientele. But that has become a trickle now, with the exception of those travelling with medical visas, Dominic said.

Benefits of Ayurveda

“One starts destressing almost immediately,” said Atul Kirloskar, chairman of Kirloskar Industries NSE -6.42 %, who underwent a programme at CGH Earth Wellness. “The dosage of allopathic medicines I was taking for my heart and diabetes reduced. I also learnt about the natural healing of Ayurveda.”

Ayurveda has less side-effects and helps improve immunity, which has become all the more vital post Covid, experts said. It provides a comprehensive diagnostic and treatment plan for the entire health system, they said.

Many people have felt burnt out and are suffering from post-Covid lingering issues such as unexplained fatigue, sleep disorders, respiratory and skin issues, foggy brain, memory loss, joint pains, anxiety, and depression.

“It helped to reduce my stress levels and also made me feel lighter physically as I did lose weight,” said Shalini Warrier, executive director and business head, retail, at Federal Bank NSE -2.52 %, who underwent a treatment at CGH Earth Wellness.

While addressing medical problems through an approach of integrated medicine, there is a preferred treatment for every problem, said Ashok Soota, chairman of Happiest Minds Technologies NSE -1.64 %, who had health issues that got corrected at Soukya Wellness.

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