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The Growing Health And Wellness Trend In Dubai

The Growing Health And Wellness Trend In Dubai

One of the themes of Expo 2020, hosted in Dubai was health and wellness and how we can create a healthier, happier world.

This included:

  • Striking a balance – giving mental and physical wellness equal worth in caregiving systems
  • Creating a culture of care – acknowledging the role of communities in nurturing healthier, happier societies
  • Rising to the challenge – harnessing the power of technology for safe, accessible healthcare

Dubai is committing to to these challenges by building the world’s largest Wellness Village. Roughly the size of 16 football pitches, the vision is to become internationally recognised as the go-to location of choice for quality healthcare and wellness services.

Health and wellness in Dubai

Dubai Healthcare City

The growing wellness trend in Dubai is part of Dubai Healthcare City in the Al Jadaf area.

Dubai Healthcare City, established in 2002, brings together core healthcare services, attracting the best in class global and regional names, as well as a network of businesses from hospitality to consultancies and retail outlets.

Dubai Wellness Village

The new Wellness Village, operated by WorldCare, offers environmentally friendly living spaces alongside a Wellness Centre focusing on the prevention and management of diseases, such as obesity, hypertension, diabetes and other physical conditions.

This 19 million sq ft wellness hub and urban oasis in the waterfront Al Jadaf area is set against the calming backdrop of the historic Dubai Creek and the Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary and overlooks the bold new Dubai Creek Harbour destination.

The hub prioritises healthy living, sustainable design, and innovative healthcare and wellness concepts from around the world.

Living spaces include personalised spa and exercise facilities, while the medical services are tapping into a global trend of “preventative healthcare, taking into account local and regional healthcare demands and demographic changes.

The concept of wellness spans more than just physical health. It includes mental and spiritual health, and incorporates more areas than traditional medicine, with a focus on holistic health.
Beth McGroarty
Research Director at the Global Wellness Institute (GWI) – Proactive on Prevention

Beth McGroarty, Research Director at the Global Wellness Institute (GWI), says a key element of wellness is that it “involves personal responsibility and proactive choice, rather than waiting for sickness and reacting with procedures and pills.

The growing wellness trend in Dubai and the concept of wellness also spans more than just physical health. It includes mental and spiritual health, and incorporates more areas than traditional medicine, with a focus on holistic health,” she continues.

Greater use of such holistic health and prevention ideas – including by traditional medical providers – has been driven by the high growth in chronic conditions globally, such as diabetes and heart disease“, says McGroarty. “Mental wellbeing is also a growing focus for wellness provision, as rates of depression and anxiety have increased“, she adds.

While wellness is often associated with alternative approaches that may lack evidence to support their effectiveness, holistic health and prevention are concepts increasingly used by conventional medical providers.

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Rapid adoption of health and wellness trends

The GWI’s Global Wellness Economy report shows that the 21% wellness tourism growth in the Middle East and North Africa has been focused in the UAE. During 2015, tourists made 1.7 million trips to the UAE, spending US$2.7bn.

Beth McGroarty says that a growing middle-class has led to a greater global interest in fitness, healthy food and stress reduction. Workplace wellness activity is also growing, with more programmes to help workers stay healthy at work internationally.

As wellness has gone global, McGroarty says there has been a shift towards “indigenous practices.

If you are in a place, you want to explore those local health traditions, such as spa experiences or the local food.
Beth McGroarty
Research Director at the Global Wellness Institute (GWI) – Proactive on Prevention

Dubai’s medical tourism strategy

In 2014, the Dubai Health Authority launched its Dubai Medical tourism strategy, seeking to create leading elective health and wellness treatments through investment in and improvements to the quality of services.

It’s since built it’s position as a global medical destination by introducing a value-based, comprehensive, integrated, and high-quality service delivery system, and to promote public and private collaboration in health care.

A key part of this strategy committed to improving health and wellness in Dubai, the Dubai Healthcare City is made up of two phases;

  1. Phase one is dedicated to healthcare and medical education
  2. Phase two is where the Wellness Village is located, focusing on wellness services
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