Established in 2009, SHA Wellness Clinic is a multi award winning medical clinic and spa located on the dazzling Spanish coastline, just under an hour from Alicante and Valencia. The spa is famed for its luxury wellness holidays and caters to those who wish to revitalise and revolutionise their wellbeing, providing them with crème de la crème service, gourmet macrobiotic cuisine and most importantly pioneering and world-class treatments by industry leading professionals. StyleNest contributor Clarissa Lenherr embarked on a journey to discover the SHA promises and tell us exactly why SHA Wellness Clinic is setting the benchmark for wellness clinics worldwide.
We touch down into Alicante airport after a pleasant 2-hour flight, and hop straight into our SHA-mobile. SHA is perched on an empowering hill top, nestled between two glimmering beaches and the verdant Sierra Helada Natural Park. As you arrive you can see why they chose this slice of heaven. The views are mesmerising, offering a 180-degree backdrop of dusty red mountains and Mediterranean coastline for as far as the eye can see.
We tour the grand hotel and surroundings – SHA is vast and everything is open plan, lending to its serene, composed ambiance. The rooms are in keeping, and designed so that your boudoir feels like a private spa. Each majestic suite is covered in plush furnishings adorned with fresh fruit and candles, a lounge area, separate floor to ceiling oak dressing room, plasma TVs and your own private balcony for basking. Technology is seamlessly utilised in each room, with ergonomic control panels to tweak your room’s ambiance.
First things first, strip! We are told that most visitors choose to spend the day in their robes, which are allowed everywhere on site including at meal times (except dinner). I jump at the idea of spending my day in a pyjama state, and enjoy the freedom and child-like naughtiness. Being clad in bathrobes and slippers feels like a SHA initiation ritual, and I instantaneously feel lighter, having tossed away the stress of the work day and the impending emails.
As our time is limited, we get straight into it and meet with our agenda planners – essentially your own personal wellness PA. We are walked through our daily itineraries, and boy are we busy! Alongside your treatments and assessments there is an extra curriculum schedule filled with activities that I cannot bare to miss – cooking lessons, beach walks, aqua aerobics, meditation, yoga and more.
My first consultation is with the awe inspiring Dr. Ana Maria Oliva Branas, an engineer by trade with strong roots in naturopathy and a PHD in Biomedicine. She is head of their recently introduced Energy Health Unit, which is founded upon bioenergetics and frequency treatments. Devised by astronauts in Russia, the systems they use measure electric resistance in the body, assessing 19 reactions including bacteria and hormones. When I ask Dr. Ana Maria what the purpose is of this division she eloquently tells me, “The body sings its own song, so at SHA, we remind the body what to sing. I ask the body what it needs, and give you strategies to heal yourself.”
With that in mind, we go through a number of tests, challenging acupuncture points and measuring finger scans. The result: I am shown a number of graphs which pinpoint the resistance in my body and display my energetic field. As I am not here for a particular symptom, Dr. Ana Maria explains the results and gives me some advice on how to reduce certain imbalances, particularly what she calls the “4G” overload. I think we could all do with a bit of that!
Next, I am whisked off for a general medical consultation where mainstream measurements are taken: blood pressure, heart rate and my body mass ratios are tested. As I explore the clinic (there are three wings and many floors) I discover that there are more than several specialist divisions at SHA. The clinic offers support for healthy ageing, capillary hair transportation, anti-smoking medicine, stem cell therapy, sleep deprivation therapies, dentistry and all the natural medicinal therapies you can imagine.
Next on my itinerary is the personal trainer, finally something I know! The gym at SHA is a state of the art jungle gym, filled with supreme high tech upgrades and machinery. After assessing my goals and wobbly bits, my strapping trainer asks me if I want to try their newest toy, an electro-stimulation device. The process includes harnessing into a life-vest and popping on garter like belts on the legs, arms and bottom…it is a little bit 50 shades-esq. These are synced up to a machine and you embark on your training circuit. As you quiver on one leg, catching tennis balls, the vest and garters vibrate at fluctuating frequencies and intensities, designed to work the muscles three times as much as a normal workout. To finish off and unwind, I pop my toes into their marathon hydrotherapy circuit and test the two glimmering indoor swimming pools and steam room.
The day’s fly by at SHA and there is never a moment of boredom. Each minute is taken up by an activity serving to distract you from thoughts of hunger, it was only by dinner that those dull hunger pangs transformed into thundering earthquakes in my stomach. The food at SHA is based on the ancient principals of macrobiotics fused with western style dishes and cooking methods. Meals balance wholegrains, vegetables, fruits, nuts and fish and exclude refined sugars, alcohol, caffeine and meat. There are three menus available, each based on calorie intake according to your dietary goal, yet there is little sense of deprivation. At each meal there are three courses, leaving you full, revitalised and yet not heavy or sloth like. Highlights of dinner meals included spelt risotto topped with crispy brown rice and truffle shavings, a cloud like lobster salad, fragrant and exotic Indian curries and a glorious yet virtuous dessert of carob bean covered vanilla bomb, dressed in gold leaf and barley-coffee flavoured sauce.
The following morning, I am up before dawn to embark on my exploration of spa treatments. First up is one of SHA’s signature facials: The BDR. A one-hour skin rejuvenation which utilises painless micro needles to penetrate the upper layer of skin, allowing for deep infiltration of the facial ingredients. The result is a tightened, stretched, elasticity boosted Clarissa, and I love it! I am then whisked off to acupuncture sessions, oxygen tank boosters, deep tissue massages, detox wraps and another delectable lunch. In-between sessions, I manage to attend a meditation session and one of SHA’s daily cooking courses, where I am taught how to whip up delectable macrobiotic, refined sugar, gluten and dairy free desserts. I am now an aficionado of healthy desserts and know how to use seaweed as a thickener and the Yuzu fruit as a sweetener.
After another deep night’s sleep, day three promises to be another extravaganza of pleasure. I begin the day with a beautiful three tier breakfast, opting for the higher calorie menu (I can’t resist a morning pastry). The breakfast begins with miso soup which is served to ensure that you fill your empty stomach with live probiotics. The main dishes are small servings of beautifully crafted pastries, nut purees, porridges, muffins, breads, fruit compotes and juices – all made using healthy substituted ingredients.
My schedule begins with another treat for my face; their Indiba treatment. A small device is rubbed over my face generating a strong heat, yet when I ask what is causing this sensation, my therapist informs me there is no heat being emitted, it is purely radiofrequency waves recharging my facial cells! The treatment is only an hour long, but shaves off years, giving my face the radiance and vitality of a 17-year-old. The day goes on, gliding between massages, yoga, detox treatments and even a devoted tea time. If you manage to sneak in a few minutes, the outside infinity pool is a tempting escape and if that’s not your thing, the SHA boutiques can offer a different kind of therapy.
I left SHA absolutely bouncing with vitality and restored energy, yet I did not sit down once. It may sound exhausting, but each day is filled with a complete devotion to the mind, body and spirit, and this is more revitalising and restoring than any amount of time sitting on the couch or by a pool lounger. I took with me some amazing memories and lessons and know that if ever I was in need of a detox, specialist treatment, wellness overhaul or a physical revamp, SHA would undoubtedly be my escape.
SHA Wellness Clinic offers the 4-day Discovery Programme from €1,100 (approx. £851) per person, including all meals, consultations and treatments. Deluxe room suites start from €340 (£263) per night based on two adults sharing and €275 (£213) per night for individual use. For more information visit their website www.shawellnessclinic.com or call +34 966 811 199. Flights are available from most London airports twice a day.