Fitness Vacations, With a Twist (cont.)

Business is booming.

One reason is because it's these health-conscious, stress-ridden boomers who take nearly half of all vacations, according to Mike Pina, of the Travel Industry Association of America, a trade group representing hotels, airlines, and other vacation providers.

"People want to be more active, and what we have discovered is that they are looking for vacations that are an extension of this healthy lifestyle," he tells WebMD. "If they are working out, they don't want to lose that momentum when they're traveling, so they pick vacations where they can continue doing it. They want their vacations to include health and wellness, and it's a trend we've seen for several years."

But increasingly, there is more to achieving this wellness than just doing laps around the ship's running track. People are using their vacations to specifically get healthy.

"What we're seeing at Canyon Ranch is what we've always seen, but more of it -- people looking to be healthier," Mayersohn tells WebMD. "People come here for a wide variety of conditions, but for many, they fall into the primary bucket of stress. We know we can't make stressors go away, but we can beef up our resistance to better deal with them. And for us, that's more than just with exercise -- it's a complete mind-body experience. To maintain healthy or deal with a specific medical problem, you cannot neglect the nutrition or behavioral aspect."

So at his Tucson spa, the weeklong vacations start off with a consultation with a doctor. "And with us, it's a complete one-hour evaluation, not the typical seven minute doctor's visit," he says. "Then, vacationers see a nutritionist. Then, an exercise physiologist. In the evening, they get a massage. And what better environment to get all this expert health and medical advice than a luxurious spa?"

In fact, Mayersohn says that the fastest-growing draw of his resort -- long known for its endless offerings of exercise, wellness-oriented lectures, and healthy food -- is its medical practice. "It's really taken off," he says. "People are vacationing here specifically to see our doctors, often for specific treatment."

A Sexual Health Approach

Laura Berman, PhD, LCSW, can relate. The resident sex expert on Good Morning America and host of her own TV talk show on the Discovery Health Channel, this month opened her own spa-like facility to give women with sexual problems a vacation -- in more ways than one.

"Even more so than with men, sexuality in women is multifaceted, and when a woman has a problem with her sex life, it's not a matter of just giving her a medication to cure it," she tells WebMD. "For women, emotional and medical factors are happening simultaneously and interacting with one another. Even if the primary cause is medical, she has emotional issues that can't be ignored. Unlike men, medical intervention alone rarely works for women."

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