Located in the picturesque heights of Spain’s Sierra Helada, for the last 10 years, SHA Wellness Clinic has achieved international renown and come to be synonymous with a philosophy of holistic health and wellbeing. A serene escape allowing guests to devote time and attention to their own state of being, SHA offers individualised programmes to cater to every lifestyle and set of needs. We spent four transformative days at the clinic, coming away with nothing less than a complete overhaul.
Firstly, SHA is not just a luxury spa hotel, but a wellness clinic, utilising a medically based approach. To wit; they don’t try to fool you with overly decorative interiors and ostentatious scented candles – symbolic, perhaps, of how important the inner experience is above the external one. Although the surrounding wildlife, beautiful Mediterranean vistas and balmy climate inevitably do play a part, the SHA Method involves changing your lifestyle from the inside-out, with an equal focus on the mental, physical, emotional and nutritional.
“We are not looking for people who want an annual detox and then to continue their normal lifestyle,’’ explains Vice President, Alejandro Bataller. “We are looking for people who are willing to transform their lifestyle and become healthier. We don’t want to clean off your guilt; we want to change people’s lives.”
Alejandro cites innovation as one of SHA’s greatest achievements: they align their methods with various developments in the environmental sector as well as with the rest of the wellness industry. The clinic’s treatments certainly live up to their reputation as state-of-the-art and entirely results-oriented; whether it’s the SHA Psammo Therapy massage in hot sand, the cutting-edge Indiba facial, the water therapies or the reflexology. With every one, we found the impact to be immediately tangible mentally, physically and emotionally as soon as we emerged. This was partly thanks to the well-rounded approach of the therapists, who boast both specialist knowledge and professionalism to the highest degree.
If you’re at all sceptical about the value of nutrition before going in, you’ll find that the process of cutting meat, dairy or oil from your diet for a five-day period does prove its benefits. An integral element of the SHA Method, you’ll discover that the food you consume has an immense impact on sleep, state of mind, and your body’s reaction to the treatment.
The real lasting impact of the experience, however, was not in what took place during the five days spent at the clinic, but rather in the lifestyle habits, knowledge and new techniques acquired from that time. SHA is just as much an educational institution as it is an experiential clinic – one of the brand’s cornerstones, notes Alejandro. What you learn there is what has the most value, enabling you to apply and continue those practices in your daily life.
‘Change begins at SHA’ is not just a strapline. You can notice enormous transformations even if you apply the SHA way to just 50 per cent of your life at home. Regardless of your ultimate objective – be it weight loss, stress management, a detox, or simply enjoyment of high-quality wellness treatments – the SHA approach is a sound way to kick-start change and maintain wellbeing in your daily life.
Combining eastern disciplines with western innovation, it’s fitting that after 10 years as Spain’s go-to health retreat, the clinic is pioneering its integrated wellness concept in the Middle East: SHA Emirates will open its doors in 2021.
From Harper's BAZAAR Arabia January 2020 issue