Healthcare Opinion

Wellness retreats vs rehabilitation facilities – how to determine what is right for you


Australia is renowned for some of the best rehabilitation facilities in the world, offering transformative treatment to those seeking help. Additionally, some of the top wellness retreats are located Down Under with Australia being ranked No. 1 as the top destination for wellness holidays. 

It can be challenging to distinguish the differences between the two when trying to find the best option for you or a loved one, so we’ve made a list of the five key differences between rehab facilities and wellness retreats to help you make an informed decision. 

Prevention vs treatment  

One of the key differences between wellness retreats and rehabilitation facilities is that the former focuses more on prevention, while the latter is also designed for clinical treatment. While wellness retreats can promote the opportunity for people to ‘switch off’ and focus on being more present – potentially preventing the onset of stress and burnout – they should not be a substitute for the treatment of mental healthcare issues or addiction to drugs or alcohol. 


Rehabilitation programs like the ones offered by The Banyans Healthcare are medically based, therefore they are delivered by medical professionals including doctors, psychologists and dietitians. Rehabilitation facilities are also required to meet the National Quality Framework for Drug and Alcohol Treatment Services, which requires various certifications. Because wellness retreats vary widely in the services they offer and don’t operate like a medical facility, they aren’t required to meet such strict standards. 

 Treatment length

While wellness retreats can last anywhere from a couple of days to a few weeks, medical rehabilitation programs typically last a few weeks to several months, followed by ongoing, regular care. While some rehabs offer day programs that make treatment accessible to those short on time, these may not be suitable for people with more complex issues. It is always recommended to speak with your doctor to discuss the best treatment options for you. 

Medical perspective

Because clinical rehabilitation facilities operate from a medical perspective, it’s not uncommon for practitioners to run bloodwork tests and delve into your family health history as well as address your physical, mental and emotional health to create a personalised treatment plan. In contrast, wellness retreats provide a variety of activities from meditation and breathwork to exercise and fresh meals, however, these are best suited to people without underlying health issues. 

Science-backed treatment 

The best rehabs should offer evidence-based treatment that is backed by scientific research that is proven to be effective, such as acceptance and commitment therapy and medication-assisted treatment. While wellness retreats may promote a variety of holistic treatments aimed at relaxing and restoring your body and mind, not all of these will be evidence-based and shouldn’t be used to treat clinical depression, burnout or types of addiction. 

Regardless of your needs, whether that be a brief weekend break from life’s demands or ongoing treatment for more serious issues, know that help is available and early intervention is key for a successful recovery. To learn more about the differences between wellness retreats and rehabilitation facilities, head to The Banyans Healthcare. 

Peter Hayton
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Peter Hayton is the Chief Psychologist at The Banyans Healthcare Group. Peter has worked for over two decades as a psychologist in both private practice and clinical settings. He has also pioneered a variety of health initiatives across education, social enterprise, and corporate sectors.

Along with his experience in counselling and rehabilitation services, Peter has extensive experience in education, training, and staff development. He has provided valuable support with business management and program development, including the management, support and supervision of staff in a variety of employment and training environments. He continues to supervise various therapists, who appreciate his warm and unassuming approach.


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