For those looking for a wellness getaway based on traditional Arabic wellness practices, Zulal is an ideal destination
By: Suman Tarafdar
Posted on: July 19, 2022
In a world that is prioritising wellness more than ever before, it is not a surprise that people are traversing the planet in search of perfect antidotes to illnesses. One of them is Traditional Arabic & Islamic Medicine (TAIM).
TAIM is a system of healing practiced since antiquity in the Arab world within the context of religious influences of Islam. It comprises of medicinal herbs, dietary and mind body practices, spiritual healing and applied therapy whereby many of these elements reflect an interconnectivity between Islamic medicine and prophetic influences as well as regional healing practices emerging from specific geographical and cultural origins.
One rare place that provides authentic TAIM treatments is Zulal Wellness Resort, an expansive haven of relaxation, located in the northern tip of Qatar. Perched on an exclusive coastal position overlooking the Arabian Gulf in Al Ruwais, Zulal is a modern oasis of wellness for the well-travelled person.
Dr. Mubaris Ahamed, a qualified Unani Medical Practitioner and Cupping Therapy Specialist based in the resort, says, “While Islamic religious influences comprise of Islamic medicine and prophetic influences, regional healing practises include Ayurveda from India, Chinese traditional medicines (TCM), Unani medicines and Persian medicines. This takes the shape of medicinal herbs, dietary practices, mind body therapy, spiritual healing and applied therapy.”
Dr. Ahamed points out that traditional Islamic medicine is based on four humour theory – yellow bile, black bile, phlegm/water and blood/air, made famous by Hippocrates, regarded to be the father of medicine. Humoral concept has occupied a central place in Tibb, a Unani holistic traditional system. According to its central tenet, the right proportion and intermixture (homeostasis) of them according to quantity and quality constitute good health, while a lack of proportion and imbalance in quantity and quality and irregular distribution leads to disease.
“During our consultation, we find out which humour is dominant in that particular person,” says Dr. Ahamed. “One humour is dominant in each person. To find the dominant humour, we will go through the temperament of that person. There are four types of temperament – hot, cold, dry and wet.” Giving the example of water, he points out that in its natural state, its temperament is cold and wet, which makes our body cool and wet. In its solid state, it makes our body cool and dry, while in its gaseous state i.e. steam, it makes our body hot and wet.
TAIM is a system of healing practiced since antiquity in the Arab world within the context of religious influences of Islam. It comprises of medicinal herbs, dietary & mind body practices, spiritual healing & applied therapy whereby many of these elements reflect an interconnectivity between Islamic medicine & prophetic influences as well as regional healing practices emerging from specific geographical & cultural origins.
“To find a person’s temperament, we look at a person’s history, habits, body structure, way of talking, and walking, hair, tongue reading and pulse reading,” Dr. Ahamed explains in detail. “As per the temperament, we have things which are named six essential factors - atmospheric air, food and drinks, physical movement and repose, mental movement and repose, sleep and wakefulness and evacuation and retention. We prescribe treatments according to temperament and factors.”
The treatments at the recently opened Zulal take various forms, offering an immersive experience that caters to the specific needs of anyone who is seeking to revive their mind, body, and spirit. A distinctive feature for example are the gardens. “In Zulal, we have different kinds of gardens,” points out Dr. Ahamed. “They are named garden of Contemplation, Essence, Well Being, Nourishment, etc. which are all rich with TAIM inspired herbs like olive, fig, rose, aloe vera, camel grass, and lemon grass. We take guests into these gardens and describe them.”
Zulal also has a House of Wisdom, inspired from olden times when philosophers sat together and shared knowledge in such areas. Guests can infuse themselves in ancient healing wisdom, spending time with expert consultants, and browse the collection of health inspired books, local Qatari art work, and enjoy refreshing herbal tea that is handpicked and TAIM-inspired from Zulal signature blends. “We have 100 plus tea blends, and our tea master explains the use and benefits of tea,” mentions Dr. Ahamed. “Guests can select which one they love and enjoy tea while reading the books.”
Near the House of Wisdom is the apothecary, again inspired from ancient times, where the resort’s medicinal herbs are kept.
At Zulal, experts guide guests on their wellness journeys from beginning to end, inspiring lifestyle changes with personal consultations and a therapy programme tailored for each guest that includes treatments, activities, and nutrition. “As a holistic concept, we have mind-body rejuvenation, with the holistic department offering energy healing and reiki among other therapies,” Dr. Ahamed said.
Zulal also makes traditional herbs recommended in TAIM. These include black seeds, which are anti-diabetic, improve hormone balance and boost immunity. Saffron is an antioxidant, sunshine spice as well as an aphrodisiac, while carob seeds are a replacement for cocoa, anti-inflammatory and caffeine free. Dr. Ahamed expands on the offerings as he says, “We also use TAIM-inspired food items like pomegranate, orange, fig, aloe vera, apple citrus, water melon, and grapes.”
“We have 100 plus tea blends, and our tea master explains the use and benefits of tea.”
Islam encourages the use of camel milk as it has medicinal properties, points out Dr. Ahamed. While being local to the geography, it is low in cholesterol and sugar, and high in vitamins and minerals, can be consumed by the lactose intolerant, is good for diabetics, for immune health, heart conditions and is an antioxidant.
Wellness at the resort comes in two categories. Zulal Discovery is a haven created for families where they are encouraged to engage in programmes and activities that strengthen the bonds and dynamics between members. Zulal Serenity, only for adults aged at least 16, is a sanctuary designed to take you on a journey to reset your mental and spiritual wellbeing, so you can embark on a refined, sensory, and luxurious experience.
This naturally healing location is a 1.5 -hour drive from the Hamad International Airport, the country’s main airport and 1-hour drive from Doha city centre.
For anyone looking for wellness based on traditional Arabic medicine, Zulal offers a unique blend of traditional knowledge in luxurious settings, ideally suited to cater to the specific needs of anyone who is seeking to revive their mind, body, and spirit.