A devotion to refining health for the UAE.
Over the last few years, the world has witnessed a noticeable reevaluation of people’s perspectives on their health, mental and physical wellness. Even employers’ interest in their employees’ wellness has shifted for the better. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 however, has accentuated this change in awareness, and the population as a whole seems more invested in self-care and wellness. The region has seen a stipulated rise in consumers investing in wellness and transformative experiences rather than material goods with the onset of the pandemic.
Meet Asma Hilal Lootah, a health and holistic wellness advocate and the founder of one of the leading wellness retreats in the region, The Hundred Wellness Centre. Lootah has been devoted to refining the health and quality of life for people in the UAE through her centre. The renowned wellness centre has been consistently rewarded through the years and its mission is to continue enhancing the experiences and programs of the centre to change peoples’ lives for the better.
Below, Contributing Editor, Athwifa has an in-depth conversation with Asma on whether wellness and self-care should be considered as the new luxury or not.
1. Firstly, could you share with us how you started off your career in health and fitness and what inspired you to launch the wellness center?
After I graduated from George Washington University in 2000, I returned to the UAE and began working in the corporate world. During that time, I started practicing Pilates and found that it had such an incredible impact on my life, from my mental health and overall wellbeing. Exercise fueled my self-discovery and my entrepreneurial spirit inspired me to open The Hundred Pilates Studio. A few years later in 2011, this single studio evolved into The hundred Wellness Centre which today offers rehabilitation, chiropractic therapies, emotional therapies, nutrition, life coaching, and a health-food café.
2. How did The Hundred Wellness Centre keep up with the drastic changes during the onset of the pandemic?
The pandemic transformed and disrupted nearly every aspect of our world. Our homes became the central stage for so many things and so many people had to rely a lot on the power of the internet to maintain human connection and interaction. At The Hundred Wellness Centre, we ensured that all our treatments were made readily available online and we continued to offer therapy and support to our clients for mental health, emotional trauma, and physical health and nutrition advice.
3. In recent months with the onset of the pandemic, we have observed a rise in many investing in luxury wellness programs as a part of their self-care, what in your opinion provoked such a change?
The pandemic has had a huge impact on people’s mental health, it has created a lot of additional stress and anxiety, in the form of having to be home full-time and causing feelings of loneliness and depression and I believe that working from home has blurred the lines between our personal and professional lives with many of us consciously or unconsciously working longer hours, never really switching off. There is also a collective need for catharsis and renewal after the past year and I feel that many people are looking to regain and find new ways to take care of themselves. There is also an evolved and refreshed understanding that wellness no longer simply refers to a lack of illness but more to a holistic state of being, where one’s mental, physical and emotional health should be synchronized.
4. Is wellness the new luxury? Why or why not?
I do not believe that wellness should be regarded as a luxury or that anyone should have to make sacrifices to invest in their wellbeing. Being in a state of wellness and practicing self-care should be accessible to everyone, whether it is simply listening to your body and what it needs, ensuring we get enough sleep, exercising, eating better or meditating. We ask our bodies to perform and accomplish so much every day that each of us has an obligation to take good care of it.
5. How do you feel the future is going to be for the luxury wellness industry? Is there any way for luxury wellness to take place virtually too?
Since the pandemic, health and wellness have become more important than ever, and that increased health consciousness has fueled the wellness industry. There is more demand for wellness programs, and it is our responsibility to promote the importance of self-care, that it is not simply a trend or a luxury, but a way of life. Taking care of ourselves and finding a balance in our personal and professional lives is imperative to become more efficient, productive, and ultimately and perhaps most importantly, happy. I believe and hope that in the future, people will regard ‘luxury’ not as a state of material possessions but as a concept of good overall mental, emotional and physical health.
6. Any upcoming programs that will be introduced soon at Hundred Wellness?
My goal has always been to ignite the wellness movement in the region through positive nutrition, Pilates, life coaching, and alternative therapies. At The Hundred Wellness Centre we are constantly evolving and employing new programs and therapies to help our community and clients. We have just launched Occupational Therapy for children and also Hormone Health & Nutrition Sessions. We also have some exciting new programs that we shall be launching later this year.
7. What would be some of the essential advice you’d like to share with the readers on how to implement a self-care routine as a part of their daily schedule?
Self-care is pivotal for managing our social, emotional, and psychological well-being. I think most importantly, we have to erase the notion that there is a perfect or correct way to do it. Listening to your body and what it needs is invaluable and truly transformational. Self-care doesn’t have to be a therapy session or meditating, it can manifest itself as getting a manicure, booking a massage, or simply taking five minutes out of your day to focus on yourself and what you are grateful for.
About The Editor
Athwifa is a business graduate of Sikkim Manipal University and has been on the pursuit of enhancing her career as a content writer, in the past contributing to coveted publications in the region such as Harper’s Bazaar Arabia. Athwifa is passionate about culture, food, hospitality and wellness as well as scouting the latest trends.