Little known is the story of long COVID, but “long” story short, it’s a version of the virus where instead of the usual two weeks, the symptoms can last up to 12 weeks. While there’s the traditional way of dealing with it (rest, water, medicine), now a variety of new age practices are being introduced as long COVID symptom treatments, according to Bloomberg.
COVID’s Curious Cases
COVID already had a strange way of manifesting itself in people, and long COVID only compounds upon that. It leaves treating it problematic.
Research is still ongoing as far as the prevalence of long COVID, but most recent numbers pulled by the U.K.’s Office of National Statistics say that 13.7% of 20,000 respondents say they still felt symptoms such as shortness of breath with exertion, dizziness, concentration difficulties, constipation, and intolerance to heat and cold after three months. More serious issues such as diabetes and kidney damage may, in some cases, prove deadly even months after the initial infection.
But that lack of treatment options to a lack of guidance and a lack of guidance opens the way for spas and resorts to offer their own options that are either unproven or overlooked by Western medicine. So in the end, the question becomes: is it worth the money and travel?
The World of Holistic COVID Spas
A common theme of these COVID programs is tailoring the sessions around the myriad of symptoms one can present with. At RAKxa, they do this combining medical expertise from multiple fields at a partner hospital alongside holistic practices of the region.
For example, a three-day program for someone with respiratory difficulties can include oxygen therapy, intravenous blood infusions, and chest muscle strengthening exercises alongside Pranayama breathing, acupuncture and Thai traditional medicine to aid blood circulation and relieve discomfort.
SHA Wellness Clinic
Meanwhile, perched on a hill on the Spanish coast between Málaga and Valencia overlooking the Balearic sea, the sleek-white SHA Wellness Clinic takes a completely different approach. With a seven-day Post-Covid program starting around $3,000, the stay starts with a variety of diagnostic tests that help provide guests with their tailored care plan.
People with musculoskeletal issues can get an underwater shiatsu-style massage combined with reflexology. Those with the woeful brain fog might undergo a session that claims to stimulate and regenerate brain cells with low-level lasers and more Pranayama breathing. And those with respiratory problems may get nebulization sessions mixed with traditional Chinese medicine.
A go-to spot for many luxury travelers in the Bavarian Alps, Lanserhog Tegernsee offers its own seven-day $10,000 COVID-19 Program that looks at the gut for a possible long COVID cure.
That’s because the program pulls from the diet plan of late Austrian physician Dr. Franz Xaver Mayr, a famed proponent for gut health. Through fasting, colonics, Epsom salts and portions of alkaline-rich food, the program serves as a cleanse to help revitalize the gut and immune system.
What Makes These So Appealing?
Despite these programs being erected for long COVID, the symptoms they address are not unique to long COVID. Take brain fog and respiratory treatments, which have been popular in wellness programs for decades. It’s the basis of many yoga practices, as well as technical approaches. That’s what gave many wellness resorts the edge in a quick launch.
It also means that the programs are more a rebundling of what they already offered, translating to little time, money and resources lost even if attendance is low. It’s not low, though. Frances Geoghegan, founder and managing director of the London-based wellness travel agency Healing Holidays says since February she’s received as many as 50 weekly enquiries from people trying to address issues that have arisen as a result of Covid. As she further explains, the lack of direction from the their GP in the U.K., they have decided to take matters into their own hands.
It’s that combo of the traditional and holistic that make it so appealing. Long COVID can present so many issues and, here, people have so many options where they may have had none back at home in an environment that’s impossible to get in a regular hospital, regardless of the sessions’ efficacy.