With the rise of both chronic disease and cancer, along with the aging of the American population, more people than ever are turning to holistic and natural whole-body wellness treatmens in addition to, or in place of conventional Western medicine. While many spas are a place to relax and rejunenate (both important for preventing disease and for a mental health break), there are a few that are doing more than just facials and AM yoga classes. The three destination spas below have made a name for themselves for being true wellness centers, focusing on the body, mind and spirit to help people who are at all stages of illness recover, build strength, or learn how to support their bodies in times of stress. 


Sanoviv calls itself “healthcare for the 21st Century” as it provides integrated medical treatments – those that combine both Western and holistic and alternative healing modalities. Each guest’s body and mind is treated as a whole system, and so whatever your ailment might be, your whole body will be assessed and supported with a personalized treatment regimen. Physicians, psychologists, dentists, chiropractors and nutritionists work together to determine what your specific needs are. 


Some of the most common problems treated include breast, lung and prostate cancers, as well as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, metabolic disorders, Parkinson’s and MS.  Located on the Baja peninsula in Mexico, Sanoviv is a totally non-toxic environment, built from the ground up to be a place of healing and detoxification.


Canyon Ranch’s full-on resorts in Lenox, Massachusetts and Tucson, Arizona (as well as their all-suite luxury oceanfront hotel and spa at Miami Beach) are the places to go if you are looking to kickstart a healthy living routine. Classes and consultations in creating change, mindful eating, meditation, Qi Gong, Pilates, and a host of wellness treatments from massages and other touch treatments, to scrubs and facials will reset and energize you to create positive change in your life, whether your challenges are mental, physical, or some combination thereof. The beautiful surroundings of all of Canyon Ranch’s properties mean that getting in touch with yourself – and nature – is part of the program. 


The Paraclesus Institute, located in Switzerland, digs deep to figure out the root causes of illness, which are unique to each patient. Via individual consultations with doctors, patients are helped to understand their own bodies and are active participants in their treatments. Paraclesus specializes in treating chronic health problems that haven’t responded to conventional treatments using natural medicine. 


According to their website: “The clinic proposes a medical paradigm based on non-toxic biological medicine that, not only identifies, but also eliminates the root causes of acute and chronic diseases.” At this spa/clinic, considered one of Europe’s best, an on-site pharmacy, organic restaurant, and dentistry practice ensure that all of the body’s needs are taken care of and addressed.

Starre Vartan ( @ecochickie ) covers conscious consumption, health and science as she travels the world exploring new cultures and ideas.

Three spas for whole body wellness and recovery
These centers focus on healing and preventing chronic disease and cancer.