Wellness is an inherent part of the Vietnamese culture and society, especially in northern Vietnam where traditional Vietnamese medicine dates back thousands of years. Today, traditional herbal medicine and therapies such as acupuncture continue to serve an important role in health maintenance and disease management alongside western medicine and hospitals.
The largest traditional medicine institute in the country is the National Hospital of Traditional Medicine, 29 Nguyen Binh Khiem, which is recognized internationally for its research and training and is a World Health Organization (WHO) collaborating center in Vietnam. It functions like a regular hospital but also specializes in treatments according to traditional methodology such as herbal remedies, acupuncture, and cupping.
Acupuncture is the most popular traditional therapy treatment known to be effective in treating a wide range of ailments and disease. The National Hospital of Acupuncture, 49 Thai Binh St., Dong Da District, is the leading acupuncture hospital specializing in treating patients exclusively through this methodology. The hospital is recognized by WHO and receives patients and students from all over the world who come to experience and learn about this traditional therapy.
Embracing modern wellness
It has only been in recent years that international wellness trends such as yoga, spas, and fitness centers have boomed in Hanoi. The stress of a modern lifestyle, environmental pollution, and food contamination are the driving force behind the growing interest in these wellness services. Expat wellness practitioners initially catered to the expatriate community but in recent years wellness has gained wider interest among the younger generation and middle class Vietnamese. For this reason, many of the wellness service providers can be found in the West Lake area (Tay Ho) where many expats and middle class Vietnamese reside.
Zenith Yoga is one of the first studios to open in Hanoi. The studio has a good selection of experienced, certified yoga teachers who are both Vietnamese and foreign. The main studio is in Tay Ho with extensive daily class offerings for yoga, pilates and meditation classes. Their second studio near Hoan Kiem Lake has an attached vegetarian café and is popular among yogi travelers passing through Hanoi.
While there are also many spas and salons offering relaxing massage services, there are just a few that offer professional massage therapy. Karen Gay’s A-Roaming Bodyworker practice offers complementary holistic healing services, which includes massage therapy to energy healing to assist a person in their healing whether it is physical, mental, emotional or spiritual.
Santal Spa is popular with expatriates and tourists alike. The spa has ten private treatment rooms with a complete range of spa services from massage therapy to beauty care.
This is part 1 of 2 series on Wellness in Hanoi. To view a comprehensive list of wellness services in Hanoi visit Wellness Vietnam’s Hanoi Directory.