Hailed as one of Asia’s pioneering wellness destinations, Chiva-Som has, for the last 25 years, continued its pursuit of holistic wellness and optimal wellbeing. Reena Hallberg checks in for a restorative getaway.
If the past year has taught me anything it’s that the quest for wellness is no longer just an aspirational desire, but a part of our everyday vocabulary. Now more than ever, it is vital to focus on our optimum health, with an approach that encompasses both physical and spiritual wellbeing.
This is easily attainable in a place like Thailand, with its serene natural settings, nutritious cuisine, long revered history of Eastern healing techniques, and a contemporary healthcare infrastructure. In fact, the Kingdom is often billed as one of the world’s leading destinations to recharge. It is renowned for wellness retreats that combine modern medical science and traditional practices, assisting those seeking to improve their overall health and, subsequently, the quality of their life.
Since its inception in 1995, Chiva-Som has operated with a ‘Wellness with Heart’ philosophy at its core, bringing together Eastern therapies and Western diagnostic skills, complemented by personalised programmes, treatments and activities that aid individuals in their quest for health and wellbeing. Spread across more than six acres of serene beachfront in Hua Hin province, this health retreat echoes its founder’s vision for purpose-driven wellness and an escape from the frenetic outside world.
Arriving at the resort is akin to entering an oasis of calm. The environment, landscaped with koi ponds and verdant greenery, is built to motivate and vitalise the mind and body, allowing you to reconnect with the environment and yourself. A strict, no-cellphone policy forces guests to focus on their individual ‘journeys’ without distractions.
Upon arrival I am immediately inducted into the folds by a health advisor, who helps me chalk up an intense two-day programme that is deeply personalised, aligned with my individual goals.
To coincide with its 25th anniversary last year, Chiva-Som launched a collection of all-inclusive, two-night mini retreats that provide guests the opportunity to benefit from the resort’s unrivalled wellness approach. From weight management and stress relief, to immune resilience, these programmes have been devised by health and wellness professionals to give Thai residents (and others) a chance to relax and rejuvenate.
After the health assessment, I decided to opt for the ‘Immune Resilience’ programme, which includes a combination of physical exercise, a healthy diet plan, and detoxification – all of which support, strengthen and enhance the immune system.
Over the next two days, my schedule is filled with private yoga and Pilates lessons, Tai Chi, a physiotherapy session, and intensive water aerobics workouts. Between classes I also get the opportunity to unwind and cool off in an indulgent milk bath.
A unique and popular therapy at Chiva-Som is the Chi Nei Tsang massage. Originating from traditional Taoist healing practices, it is an ancient artform that uses acupressure techniques to massage vital points on the stomach around the key organs in the body – such as liver, kidneys and intestines – to detoxify and cleanse.
Of course, when you’re not participating in any of the sessions, there’s plenty of time for quiet reflection in the tropical surroundings, and walking on the beach during sunset quickly became one of my favourite pastimes.
In addition to the treatments, there’s also the newly renovated, Thai- inspired accommodations to enjoy. The layout of my 54-square-metre Ocean Premium Room included a separate living room, as well as a spacious terrace overlooking the Gulf of Thailand.
Guests have full access to Chiva-Som’s many health-enriching resources, such as fitness and leisure activities that run throughout the day, while the Orchid Lounge and Library are perfect for a spot of afternoon tea.
Optimal wellness lies at the heart of Chiva-Som, and this is evident in the food and beverage options that strike a perfect balance of portion, nutrition, and tastiness. Ingredients are used in their most natural form, with organically grown herbs, fruits and vegetables coming from the resort’s own gardens.
Chiva-Som was born from its pioneering founder Boonchu Rojanastien’s vision for a beachside retreat where he could share his passion for wellness with family and friends. Fortunately, it’s a vision that has since allowed many others to reap the rewards as well.
To find out more, visit chivasom.com or @chivasomresort on Instagram and Facebook.