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The rise of wellness tourism: Why health retreats are not rehabilitation facilities


When it comes to the perception of luxury rehabilitation facilities in film and media, we’re often met with two extremes – hippie holiday retreats or sterile psychiatric wards.

This portrayal can make it challenging for those in desperate need of help to make an informed decision and as a result, they may not be receiving adequate care.

Research from The Banyans Healthcare reveals that more than almost half (46%) of Australians know someone currently struggling with addiction or mental health issues. Despite this, only 13,016 Australians received rehabilitation as their main form of treatment for alcohol or drug use from 2021-2022.

Additionally, the percentage of Australians seeking rehabilitation as their main treatment type has remained unchanged since 2020, while wellness tourism in Australia is on the rise with the country ranked No. 1 as the most appealing destination for healthy getaways.

Peter Hayton, Chief Psychologist at The Banyans Healthcare, is determined to raise awareness about the benefits of rehabilitation centres and highlight the differences between wellness retreats and clinical rehab facilities.

When comparing wellness retreats to traditional rehab facilities, Hayton says it’s important for Australians to speak to their primary healthcare provider about their individual circumstances to determine the expertise required for their specific treatment.

“Trendy wellness retreats that you book like a holiday could be perfect for someone who needs respite from the stress of life and work for a week, however they might not be suitable for someone seeking active addiction treatment or treatment for chronic stress and burnout,” says Hayton.

“Medical specialists with protected titles – like doctors, psychologists and dietitians – are required to uphold appropriate qualifications and registrations. Understanding this can help people with more complex issues choose the best program for their treatment,” Hayton explains.

While wellness retreats primarily aim to promote overall well-being, relaxation, and self-improvement for the everyday Aussie, specialists within medically based rehabilitation facilities are equipped with the training to address underlying issues related to addiction.

“Our facility not only provides a luxurious environment, but also offers a comprehensive and individualised treatment approach. Guests receive one-on-one therapy sessions with specialist practitioners. This enables the exploration of sensitive issues in a safe and supportive space where people can address the root causes of their addiction and pave their way to a successful recovery,” says Hayton.

The Banyans Healthcare is calling upon Australians to become more informed about the difference between wellness retreats and rehabilitation facilities so that they, or someone they know can access the right treatment and support. For more information, please visit The Banyans Healthcare website.


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