“Wellness” seems to be the word of the moment, with its alluring connotations of spa treatments, alternative health regimes, nutritional trends, physical fitness enhancement, even spiritual guidance; and that’s just for starters. Add meditation rather than medication, and you have a potent mixture ready to make you feel on top of the world.
Unsurprisingly, it’s been embraced with gusto by women who equate wellness with all of the above, plus an attractive socialising component. Visit a “wellness retreat” and you’ll find the sisterhood dominant…female friends, mothers and daughters, singles looking for an escape from work or more likely, their husband or partner. Great excuse to leave the bloke at home to see what it’s like, minding the kids or dogs and doing the housework.
This is what I expected as I checked into Gwinganna, arguably the best known and top rated retreat brand in Australia. Not a man anywhere in sight…oh yes, there’s one checking in now. Just a minute, though… he’s not alone. His partner is already signing the credit card guarantee. Must be his birthday treat.
Gwinganna is situated in the Tallebudgera Valley in the Gold Coast hinterland and a more beautiful spot for this kind of activity would be hard to imagine. It’s the kind of place that nature poets, artists and spiritual gurus would find orgasmic. If you do nothing more than sleep 10 hours a day and turn up for meal times to experience the finest organic cuisine, you’ll have achieved a miracle your body will thank you for.
Meals are not totally vegetarian (unless you’re on a detox programme) and you do get a morning coffee and a glass of organic wine with dinner, but the fresh veggies from their own gardens are a taste revelation. Since returning to what passes as civilisation, I’m now a devotee of our local farmers’ markets and health food stores for organic produce as well as those necessary zinc tablets… the poor man’s oysters, as I learned.
Tracy at Gwinganna tells me that men account for a minority of guests, which did not surprise me because the blokehood was thin on the ground when I was there, and only one of those was a single. Yet, with all the current talk about mens’ rights, male health, Red Pills and so on, I’d have thought the programmes they offer are tailor made for us. Even a lively discussion on “potty habits” which I won’t elaborate on in a respectable newspaper.
There are some really telling discussion groups on self care and nutrition in particular, and the spa facilities and treatments are first class… for my sins I was totally scrubbed and polished by expert hands who also succeeded in releasing a recalcitrant nerve in my toe.
The gym is as modern as any you’ll find in a capital city, the two heated pools encourage a healthy escape from the brisk mountain air… the nature walks with prolific birdlife, koalas and wallabies have you gulping large doses of oxygen. Rooms? Chalet-style; uncluttered comfort; TV a no-no (as are other devices except for mobiles); don’t bring your smokes or coffee machine, they’re also verboten.
Why aren’t men embracing these retreats as wholeheartedly as the ladies? Food for thought, because we need it just as much, if not more, in this age of stress. So fellas, put aside your doubts about “wellness” and give your body, mind and spirit a new take on life that the girls already seem to understand.
Perhaps the best way to sum up is a comment I found from “Matthew” in the guest book:
“I left Gwinganna feeling like a new person with an open mind to life.”