They’re taking a full holistic approach with their range of medical and aesthetic services.
By Aiden Jewelle Gonzales
Even with Thailand’s growing smorgasbord of beauty and wellness centres, it’s rare to find a one-stop-shop for all your needs, whether you’re looking for a medical consultation on weight management; physiotherapy; the full range of aesthetic treatments including Botox, fillers and even hair transplants; or perhaps authentic Ayurvedic spa treatments using oils imported from India. Therefore, I was intrigued to discover that the newly-opened VLCC at Avani+ Hua Hin Resort offers all of the above and more, leveraging medical- grade and cutting-edge technology that leaves measurable and quantifiable results.
Established in India in 1989, VLCC were pioneers in weight management, holistic healing and other wellness programmes, and they’ve brought their world-renowned ethos and science-driven services to 14 countries around the world, and now to Thailand. Their wellness centre is tucked just past the lobby of Avani+ Hua Hin Resort, and as you enter, you’re enveloped in soothing shades of cream, with relaxing music filtering through the air. Friendly staff greet you to explain their residential programmes, which can last from three days to seven, covering the full span of aesthetics, holistic healing, integrated wellness, and immunity building treatments, and all of which begin and end with medical consultations with expert practitioners across a range of fields. Each programme, I’m told, is specifically tailored to the guests’ needs, and is continuously tweaked throughout your stay depending on the results of your assessments.
Before we began, we were given a tour of the deceptively expansive facility, which looks small and intimate from the entrance but spreads out over two floors, with different areas to cater specifically to different guests’ needs. We were first shown the salon, which covers beauty basics such as nail care services using VLCC’s own products (some of which are for sale at the entrance) as well as haircare and even makeup, a must-have in as big an Indian wedding destination as the resort is.
Next, we were shown the various medical consultation rooms, all professionally kitted out and with white-robed doctors and professionals to guide you through every step of the journey. The first step in any package, I was informed, was the body composition analysis room, which is “the entry point of any custom journey because it’s important to understand the body from the inside out.” Using the same equipment that NASA uses to measure the body composition of their astronauts, you’re given key analyses such as your muscle mass, body water composition, fat composition, and visceral fat percentage, the latter of which refers to the fat around your organs, and is especially important in predicting your risk for issues such as obesity, heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes.
You’re given a printout of your comprehensive results, but you can also access them online, with explanations for each point. For example, I was informed that though, to my relief, my visceral fat level was low, I needed to increase my skeletal muscle mass by a few kilos, through exercise and weight training – a fact that did not surprise me but was a wake-up call when seen in black-and-white.
Next, we were taken to a room that takes your anthropomorphic measurements, the second step in any package. This included flexibility and endurance tests by a physiotherapist who will gently walk you through certain stretches, as well as check your posture and gait. This would also be the point where guests can consult with the practitioner about any musculoskeletal issues, such as neck or back pain, to hone the treatments available. Despite assuming I had no issues other than the usual office syndrome, I was informed that my flexibility on the right side of my body had been affected by carrying too many weights on my dominant shoulder – a fact that was proven to me when I was woefully unable to do certain stretches. Treatments, however, will be readily available after the assessment, which will be customised as part of their physio programme, and which uses a combination of manual techniques and machines.
Other rooms downstairs included the IV therapy room, which offers treatments spanning weight management, liver detoxification, skin brightening, haircare, and VLCC’s signature concoction, a personalised IV treatment where the doctor will identify which vitamins a client needs after a consultation; and an activity room, where guests are given lecture sessions on dietary and lifestyle modifications, including label reading and live cooking sessions with chefs, to maintain the changes made over the 3-7 day period at VLCC. A final evaluation is then conducted in a separate room where clients can talk to a doctor about general medical concerns and underlying diseases, such as diabetes; gain insight on weight management such as how not just to reduce weight but to contour your body; and get a hair and skin analysis session using a specialised dermascope. I was especially intrigued by the latter, which I was given a chance to sample, and it analysed everything from my skin type to its texture, pore size, and pigmentation, as well as recommended treatments for any of the above; a nine-page dossier which you can access at any point online.
Finally, we moved upstairs to the aesthetics and spa treatment rooms, the latter of which span traditional Thai massage rooms to therapy rooms designed for Ayurvedic treatments, with specialised equipment straight from India. The aesthetic rooms had probably the most fascinating technology, and we were given a walk-through of the myriad treatments available. The WeShape machines were touted to tone fat, trim cellulite, and firm up sagging skin on your face and body, some with combined ultrasound and infrared tech to reduce fat under your skin, and all designed for different areas of the body. Afterwards, their signature lymphatic drainage massage is recommended as it will more easily clear the stubborn fat which was dissolved, and I was told that visible results can be seen after one session, with measurable differences after 2-3 sessions.
Other aesthetic treatments that VLCC offers comprise of classic botox and fillers, as well as treatments for both low-grade and high- grade alopecia, including total hair transplants. There were also injections and treatments to stimulate collagen neogenesis and healing of your skin, for a more youthful face; LED face masks to treat acne, hyperpigmentation, as well as other skin issues; and high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) treatments, which will use heat to coagulate the protein on your face and cause a lifting effect that lasts up to 6-8 months. “Back in India, we call these lunchtime procedures, as you can do them over one lunchtime,” I’m told with a laugh. “One session is enough to see a difference.”
Finally, we were shown the hydrotherapy room, which combines manual techniques with technology to stimulate your skin renewal, using aqua jets and infusing vitamins directly into the skin; and their capacious Turkish hamam done up in beautiful white marble, for steam therapy.
Before we left, we were given the opportunity to experience the Shirodhara treatment in one of VLCC’s ayurvedic treatments rooms, where specialised oil infused with Indian herbs is poured directly on to your ‘third eye’ in a steady stream. Primarily used to treat any psychometric concerns, such as anxiety and even sleep apnea to some extent, the treatment and massage was sublime, seemingly draining all my worries away with the warm oil – and perhaps they did, as the massage is meant to drain all your toxins through your feet. This was, I was advised, only one of many Ayurvedic services offered by VLCC, which includes therapy, healing, holistic practices, pranayama and even yoga, all with a trained Ayurvedic specialist onboard. “Anything and everything in India is offered here,” I’m told, and indeed, I could not imagine a better place to access India’s centuries-old knowledge and tradition of wellness, right in our backyard.
VLCC at Avani+ Hua Hin Resort
1499 Petchkasem Road, Cha-am, Hua Hin, Phetchaburi 76120 Thailand
Tel: 032 898 989