How well you live

Updated: Apr 30 2006, 05:34am hrs
Ask anyone, even those who choose to propagate wellness, to define it, and what you basically get are words.

Defining wellness may be proving to be a challenge, but the concept is among the hottest lifestyle trends in India. Last week saw Indias first wellness exhibition, Wellness Asia and Asia Spa 2006, held in a leading hotel in Delhi.

Wellness is first in the mind, its a change in the way you think, stresses Parineeta Sethi, organiser of the event that saw participants from various parts of the country as well as from various parts of Asia. You could be going to a spa every week, and still be stressed at the end of it. A spa is only a means to wellness, it is as much a state of the mind.

Wellness as a concept is well recognised internationally and there are very well organised bodies looking after the sector in various countries, informs Sethi. Seeking to emulate this in India is her goal, she says. We are already in talks about implementing with internationally recognised bodies, she says.

Caring for oneself was not something easily understood by Indians, Sethi bemoans. Visits to spas were considered a prerogative of the rich. Fortunately the outlook is changing now.

Sethi ascribes two main reasons for this the closer India integrates with global trends and the falling prices of spa related services. Now prices are down to Rs 1,500 or even Rs 1,000 per session, something that is easily affordable even by the middle class, which has seen a rise in their incomes of late as well, she says.

It is a booming industry, agrees Singapore-based Lee Sutton, director of public relations, Asia, Australia for Marriot International. She says that not only is it the global trend, its a great way to deal with stress and be calm.

That east Asia has taken the lead is evident by the large number of participants from the region at the fair. Kenneth Lim, area director, northern India, Singapore Tourism Board, too stresses the sector is a fast growing one as it helps people cope with an ever increasing pace of modern life.

More Indian visitors are coming to Singapore, and even exclusively for a wellness vacation. Destinations like Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and Hong Kong are offering special packages to attract customers.

But does India not have a beauty care tradition of its own Yes, but we tend to take the tradition for granted, says Sethi. Indian methods are time tested, but what we seriously lack is packaging to fit international standards, she says.

Pointing out that we tend to run after international methods and approvals, she highlights these traditions like the ones used in ayurveda and other Indian systems.

She is hopeful of changes though, noting that day spas have already started functioning in cities like Delhi and Mumbai, giving the busy professional a chance to catch up with a spot of care for himself or herself. Have you started your regimen yet