For over a decade, tourists from different corners of the world have come to the tranquil town of Hoi An in central Vietnam seeking health improvement through a special tour aimed at healing their illnesses from the inside.
This year, nearly 400 people from 25 countries are staying in Hoi An from March 10 to 14 to take part in a program known as “Vietnam Retreat,” during which all activities are oriented toward improving participants' well-being.
The tour is an initiative taken by Serge Benhayon, an Australian who founded Universal Medicine to provide health services that are "universal in their approach toward medicine and healing.”
According to Benhayon, all of his tour participants are either ill or having early signs of developing an illness, and the purpose of his tour is to help them feel better through mental therapy.
He believes patients with a wide range of illnesses, including diabetes, spinal degeneration, psychological disorders or even cancer, can benefit from a lifestyle free from stress and full of optimism.
Benhayon said he had come to Vietnam 11 years ago in search of a location with the perfect nature and people for the purpose of his tour.
He visited Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Hue, Ha Long among other popular destinations, but it was Hoi An with which the Australian fell in love at first sight.
Since then, "Vietnam retreat" has been an annual program among a range of health services that Universal Medicine offers to its clients.
|Foreign tourists ride bicycles in Hoi An, located in central Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre News|
A fat-free diet
Huy Nguyen, owner of the Tropical Beach Hoi An resort where 400 participants on Benhayon's tour are staying, said the group had very specific requests about their dining options.
"They ask for a diet mainly composed of vegetables and fruits, which always make up around 80 percent of the dining table," Huy said.
"The meat that they have – such as shrimp, fish and other seafood – is either boiled or grilled with absolutely no fat used in cooking," he added.
According to the resort owner, participants also refrain from cigarettes, alcoholic drinks and any form of stimulants, and restrict themselves strictly to drinking only water.
Eunice Minford, a 52-year-old surgical doctor who has psychological problems that have taken a toll on his professional performance, said his condition has improved greatly since he started taking part in the tour ten years ago.
Now Minford says he works happily every day looking forward to the days he will be spending in Hoi An.