Spa & wellness

different groups of symptoms were identified: immune, respiratory, musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, psychological, neurological, urological and thrombotic. Then the team grouped together therapies to match. “Each pack consists of cutting-edge treatments and therapies already existing at SHA, such as intravenous laser therapy, cryotherapy, stem cell treatments, breathing techniques and isometric training,” say the managing team. “There are also specific nutrition plans to strengthen the immune system and reduce inflammation in the body. Our mission is to provide life-transforming experience, in which guests achieve an optimal state of physical, mental and spiritual well-being.” Vivamayr in Altaussee offers a post-Covid-19 programme featuring everything from aqua gymnastics to ‘nasal reflex zone’ therapy, while Park Igls in Tyrol offers a therapeutic module called ‘Fit after Covid’. Euphoria Retreat in Greece has a group retreat called ‘Feel Alive Again’, which, while not specifically targeted at long Covid patients, does seek to promote ‘post-pandemic rest, recovery and renewal’. Travel further afield, and the RAKxa retreat outside Bangkok has a long Covid package based around traditional Thai medicine. This includes a dramatic Ya-Pao ritual, in which a herbal paste is placed on patients’ chests and set on fire to promote respiratory detoxification.

At the pricier end of the spectrum, Paracelsus Recovery, an exclusive rehabilitation centre in Switzerland and the UK, charges 100,000 CHF a week for a fully immersive course of treatment. The client will have 15 staff members at their beck and call, with an approach tailored to their individual needs. These packages are expensive and, it should be stressed, unproven to work for long Covid – and none of the clinics mentioned have been forthcoming about how many people have booked. That said, there is likely a sizeable demographic with the need and the means to seek treatment.

At the very least, patients will benefit from the personalised care and attention, even if some of the individual treatment modalities may not pass muster in a randomised controlled trial.

Location, location, location The clinics’ locations should be considered too. “The art of healing comes from nature, not from the physician,” wrote the 16th century doctor Paracelsus, whose folk wisdom is backed up by modern science. Simply put, coastal air and verdant hills are more conducive to healing than the sterile, institutional environment of a hospital. Not accidentally, SHA Wellness is perched on a hillside in the Sierra Helada Natural Park, overlooking the bay of Altea.

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“The region is considered to be one of the most favourable in the world for our health according to the World Health Organisation,” says the managing team. “Also, our guests can enjoy an extraordinary microclimate – with 330 days of sunshine a year, this allows for all kinds of outdoor activities in contact with nature to promote well-being and internal balance.”

Lanserhof Lans is situated just outside Innsbruck in the Tyrol region of Austria, with a view on to the snowy Alpine peaks. “We believe that regeneration is only possible effectively in a real place of power. Nature, architecture and also the energy of the place play an important role,” says Behrens.

There is something curiously timeless about this sentiment, despite the very recent emergence of the novel coronavirus. In years gone by, a patient with lingering symptoms might have gone to convalesce by the sea. Today, they can do something similar in a more formalised capacity. These clinics are not intended as a quick fix, but rather as a point of reset, setting long-haulers back on the path to better health. “We have a saying here: health is not everything – but without health, everything is nothing. That is why it is so important for us to work for the sustainable preservation of health instead of simply eliminating the symptoms in the short term,” says Behrens. Even in a society where most things – at least materially speaking – are ordered, packaged, and delivered at the speed of light, those suffering with long Covid may have to wait a little longer, it seems, before making a ‘full’ recovery. While technology has grown ever more sophisticated and more is known about the intricate processes of the human body than ever before, its long-term healing patterns are often dependant on a thoroughly old-fashioned commodity: patience with the passing of time. ●

At SHA Wellness, guests can enjoy a view overlooking the bay of Altea and a variety of outdoor activities to promote well-being and internal balance.


People who caught Covid-19 that reported persistent symptoms lasting at least 12 weeks.

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SHA Wellness

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