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Friday, 30 November 2012

Health and Wellness on Salt Spring Island

By Abhinav Verma

Salt Spring Island is famously known as a centre for physical health and wellness, well-being. It has several services that are present on the island that gives it this title of being a wellness centre. The Island offers services such as: Yoga, Spas and fitness centres. We can see these services are offered all around the island, and these services take advantage of the beautiful scenic environment. Yoga, as it is offered on the island, helps to cure people from hypertensions, bodily pains and even everyday stress. Therefore it is not surprising that yoga would be a crucial part of the services that the island offers to people. The island offers several trained yoga teachers, who try to incorporate a peaceful atmosphere on the island, through the method of yoga. Spas offer a similar, yet different kind of experience. On the island the main focus of spas is for the purpose of relaxation and rejuvenation. Spas help to reduce stress, as well as increase better blood circulation.. Fitness centres provide the required physical fitness that the island requires to keep the population healthy. It is these physical health and wellness services that encourage people to come to the island, and enjoy the hospitality.

For such services, there are many people who come to the island to enjoy them, during the tourism season, or, as long-term residents. Most of the residents, however, are retired wealthy persons or health patients. This is where the issue of sustainability becomes a problem for the island. There are two main sustainability issues that were highlighted during my visit to the island. The first one was the issue of collaborative marketing. The services that are available on the island are unable to market themselves well enough to encourage people to the island, so that these services can be used. They are unable to make partnerships with other businesses in order to attract more consumers on to the market, and this is starting to lead to economic hardships for the island.

Another issue that the island faces is the problem of seasonality. The tourism season is too short for services such as yoga and spas to capitalise on. To combat this issue yoga centres, such as the Santosha Yoga Retreat, combine yoga facilities with organic food growing as well. This method helps generate more income as the yoga centre now offers more than just one basic service. Methods such as organic farming are also very environmentally sustaining and will benefit the entire community. Another example of such a solution can be seen with the Harbour House Hotel. This hotel serves multiple purposes. It offers accommodation, wellness services such as spas and yoga areas, as well as, a special organic farm where they cultivate organic crops for consumption. This helps to diversify the services that are offered on the island and helps to make the island more sustainable in practise. I believe the different issues that I learnt, on the island, were very fascinating to see how sustainability could be such an issue even on a small island such as Salt Spring, where their main challenge is to continue their efforts of environmental sustainability, while trying to negotiate their issues with seasonality and collaborative marketing. Their innovative methods, in trying to find a solution to their sustainability issues, will definitely help them to keep their physical health and wellness facilities alive, and more appealing to a broader range of people. If for nothing else, the beauty of the island is very captivating, and I feel that people should visit this island for some natural peaceful living away from the rigours of city life.

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