The Bahrain Wellness Resort offered an interesting comparison to U.S. models for clinical care using integrative medicine.

Visit to the Bahrain Wellness Resort
Based on traditional Ayurvedic knowledge from Kerala, India, the Resort goes beyond the typical spa “fluff-and-buff” approach to integrate diet, massage therapy, aromatherapy, naturopathy, and yoga in a holistic fashion aimed at treating rehabilitation patients with chronic conditions.
The Chief Medical Officer explained to us that he is interested in “treatment” not merely “rejuvenation.” In the U.S. the distinction between “cure” and “healing” has been made, both in a clinical and a regulatory context. The Resort’s objective is not necessarily to “cure,” but it does have an integrative medicine concept in going beyond spa care to using CAM therapies to augment physical healing from disease.
While committed to treating patients who often fail conventional care elsewhere, the Chief Medical Officer also articulated a desire to bring the best of conventional medicine into the mix, alongside the traditional Ayurvedic expertise, and to delineate where the potency of CAM ends and the conventional aspects of care becomes essential. This recognition of the limits of complementary approaches to health is vital to a holistic approach that is grounded in evidence and appropriate caution.
Another interesting counterpoint to the emphasis on holism was that the kind of traditional Ayurvedic knowledge found in Kerala is said to be more authentic than the Ayurveda peddled outside of India. The packaging for Ayurvedic herbal medicine outside of India tends to meet modern marketing standards–glossy, slick, appealing. The CMO explained that the herbal medicine in his pharmacy have the same (or higher) potency than these heavily-marketed medicinal products elsewhere, although the packaging was very ordinary.
As to look and feel, the various scents of the facility cannot be described – the lemongrass of the cleaner mingling with various Ayurvedic herbal oils and concoctions – except to say that the effect was much more pleasing and healing than the usual toxic mixture of cleansers used in the U.S.
A final base of initial comparison involves advertising and the business of integrative medicine. Interestingly, the “special slimming package’ (14-day) includes consultation with an Ayurvedic doctor, one hour dry herbal powder massage, three medicated cleansing enemas, herbal medicines, daily yoga sessions, vegetarian diet food and deluxe room.