Tabacón Thermal Resort & Spa today launched a partnership with esteemed Instructor at Harvard Medical School and founder of Priority Wellness Group Dr. Natalie Christine Dattilo to create a psychologist-approved sustainable wellness program for guests and staff. The ESCAPE® to Tabacón is the first of its kind, uniting organizational self-care with traditional wellness techniques and evidence-based therapies to educate, nurture, and promote health.
According to a recent study, sixty-eight percent of travelers are likely to base their next trip around improving their mental well-being. In partnership with Tabacón, Dr. Natalie created the guest-facing package with six key mind-body strategies from her trademarked, science-backed ESCAPE® approach: Exercise, Sleep, Connect, Appreciate, Play, Exhale. The program includes sensory, emotional, and physical experiences unique to Tabacón, proven to increase relaxation, ease mental distress, and improve overall health. Guests who book the ESCAPE® to Tabacón will also have access to Dr. Natalie’s custom self-care guidebook that offers breathing exercises, mindfulness activities, and gratitude techniques that can be easily incorporated into daily life beyond the stay at Tabacón to maintain lower stress and anxiety when returning home.
“Over the last two years, physical and mental health have become the most important guiding factors for daily decisions. Since then, people have taken a greater interest in maintaining health through self-care. Travel is a vibrant way to restore fundamental tenets of health and wellbeing through sleep, play, and connecting with nature,” said Dr. Natalie, Instructor at Harvard Medical School and Founder of Priority Wellness Group, a boutique mental health consultancy. “This trend of travel as a form of intrinsic healing will be top of mind for luxury travelers looking for the ultimate reprieve, and we’ve developed the ESCAPE® to Tabacón to fit that need. I’m honored to provide my clinical expertise to further enrich the unique vacation and employment opportunity Tabacón provides.”
The wellness program is unique because it was created for guests and staff alike, acknowledging the entire hotel ecosystem and the importance of a holistic health experience for everyone at Tabacón. The staff enrichment plan is available to every Tabacón employee and includes evidence-based mental health support, along with their policies for maternity and paternity leave, financial loan opportunities, and preventative health care. It also includes a self-care guidebook crafted by Dr. Natalie that incorporates feedback from annual staff reviews to stimulate staff morale and wellbeing. Tabacón is already an established leader in environmental sustainability, and, with the ESCAPE® to Tabacón, they demonstrate their commitment to the internal and emotional environment.
“The mind-body connection is vital to restoring and maintaining health and we want to practice what we preach,” said Mario Mikowski, Tabacón Board Member. “Throughout the pandemic, we took great lengths to support the welfare of our staff including converting our restaurants into community kitchens and donating school and cleaning supplies. This is a natural next step to encouraging workplace wellbeing and organizational self-care for a thriving community, inside and out. We’re delighted to also extend those principles to our guests through the esteemed work of Dr. Natalie and the ESCAPE® to Tabacón package.”
The ESCAPE® to Tabacón package includes a 5-night stay and components included below:
- EXERCISE circulates stress hormones that build up and can cause or exacerbate mental health challenges like anxiety and depression. Brief bursts of exercise have been shown to boost our feel-good brain chemicals and help us relax. Get your heart rate up and experience the mental health benefits of exercise in Costa Rica’s natural gym by choosing an adventure of your choice: horseback riding, waterfall hike, zip-lining adventure, or whitewater rafting.
- SLEEP helps us process and store emotional information. Sleep challenges can impact the brain’s ability to consolidate and remember positive experiences, leading to increased distress and possible illness. To encourage deep rest, Tabacón collaborated with local, female-owned skincare company Biosfera to develop the ESCAPE turndown service which includes a pillow spray infusion of jasmine, musk, citrus and a proprietary ‘Healthy Mind’ essential oil blend for use in meditation or in a hot shower that calms the senses in preparation for sleep.
- CONNECT with the local community, yourself, and your natural curiosity. Humans need social experiences to strengthen neural connections to grow, learn, and thrive. Experience a private outdoor yoga experience to reconnect with your thoughts and nature to boost emotional health. Tabacón has also developed a binaural beats track available for guests to download that weaves the sounds of its own bird song and thermal river into a form of sound wave therapy to encourage an imaginative, meditative, and relaxed state of mind. Guests can listen to this while exploring the gardens and the rainforest during their stay, as well as once they return home.
- APPRECIATE your surroundings, local customs, and traditions. Research shows gratitude enhances mental health by increasing mindfulness to cope with life’s uncertainties. Dr. Natalie recommends starting by identifying three things to be thankful for in the present moment, which can be helpful for managing anxiety. At Tabacón, guests can practice gratitude for nature’s abundance. This includes a private tree planting ceremony on site which, once grown, will be home to different bird species including the endangered green macaws.
- PLAY! is something most adults are severely lacking and crucial to our health. Play inspires laughter, which increases endorphins, soothes tension, and attenuates the effect of stress on the body, lessening the damaging effects of stress-hormone cortisol. There are many ways to play, but Dr. Natalie recommends splashing around in Tabacón’s natural thermal pools and taking a Pura Vida cooking class for two. The chefs will impart new skills while you dance to the music and enjoy the freshest lunch of local delicacies. You’ll be delighted how good you’ll feel during and after having fun.
- EXHALE and inhale some of the cleanest air in the world at Tabacón’s open-air rainforest spa. The benefits of clean air include lower blood pressure, cellular growth, and mental acuity. Tabacón’s signature Emotional Massage uses aromatherapy, deep breathing techniques, and pressure points to re-establish your equilibrium. Part of the process, meditation and deep breathing techniques calm the nervous system to reduce stress, enhance focus, and boost the immune system to counteract the negative effects of stress response hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. The massage is followed by 25 minutes of a relaxing balneotherapy.