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Special Travel Issue | doctor feel good

Stick Out Your Tongue and Say 'Spaaaaaaa'

Side Trips: Travel Tips, Trends and Tools

October 13, 2002|RENEE VOGEL

In the centuries-old European spa tradition, patients traditionally "take the kur," often doctor-recommended mineral water treatments. On this side of the Atlantic, destination spas morphed into fat farms or retreats rather than healing centers--but lately some stateside spas are returning to their roots, offering cholesterol tests and body scans along with the hot rock massages and mud baths. Spa stays aren't chargeable to insurance, but some plans may cover medically necessary procedures, so pampering yourself could also get you less time in the doctor's waiting room.

STAR TREATMENT: Long a favored getaway of the Hollywood crowd, the hacienda-style 1923 Ojai Valley Inn & Spa offers a two-night Executive Health package that includes an exhaustive medical workup composed of core evaluations along with highlights such as nutritional and lifestyle consultation, bioelectrical impedance analysis and a kuyam, the spa's signature mud treatment. $2,760 per person. DestinationsHealth at the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa, 905 Country Club Road, Ojai; (888) 772-6524, www.ojairesort.com. DestinationsHealth, (800) 709-7019, www.destinationshealth.com.

SPOONFUL OF SUGARCANE: The Holistica Hawaii Preventive Medicine Center at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort and Spa in Honolulu offers a five-day/four-night Hawaii Wellness Retreat that includes a pre-arrival health assessment, Hawaiian and Balinese spa treatments, and detailed physical evaluation featuring procedures such as full body scan, heart imaging, blood count tests and a comprehensive medical consultation for results, as well as island idylls such as swimming, surfing, yoga, tai-chi, and meditation on the beach. $6,000 per person. The Holistica Hawaii Preventive Medicine Center at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort and Spa, 2005 Kalia Road, Honolulu; the Hilton, (808) 949-4321, www.hiltonhawaii.com; Holistica, (808) 951-6546, www.holistica.com; or through Spafinder, (800) 255-7727, www.spafinder.com.

WELL HEALED: The elite Canyon Ranch in the Berkshires offers a six-night minimum Ultraprevention package letting guests choose from an array of procedures. New England-style seasonal resort activities, including hiking, skiing and canoeing, join a menu of medical services such as comprehensive physical workup, physician and nutritionist consultations, a $2,815 credit on your choice of procedures such as fasting insulin test, cardiovascular risk profile, hair analysis or 24-hour amino acid analysis; a $315 credit on your choice of remedies such as Chinese medicine, neuromuscular therapy or hands-on cooking; a final wrap-up and phone or e-mail support with a nurse after you've returned home. $3,450 per person for spa accommodations, plus $4,400 for the Ultraprevention package. Canyon Ranch in the Berkshires, 165 Kemble St., Lenox, Mass.; (800) 742-9000, www.canyonranch.com.

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