Located in the quiet, rural Llucmajor area of Mallorca, residential treatment centre and mental health clinic The Balance treats what it calls ‘high performers’ through bespoke inpatient rehab.
The Balance supports emotional, physical and psychological issues covering alcohol and substance abuse and addiction and provides mental health retreats and rehab treatment for others including anxiety, eating disorders, burnout and trauma.
Clients have a personal in-house counsellor/case manager, a private chef, complementary therapists and other support staff.
Alongside therapeutic techniques, The Balance uses proven, evidence-based techniques such as biofeedback and direct current brain stimulation. It also offers polyvagal theory-based treatments using music which, apparently, works on the vagus nerve to release trauma.
Treatment starts at E35,000 a week and goes up to E75,000 a week. The minimum stay is four weeks and people usually stay between four to eight weeks.
As a business, luxury rehab clearly makes sense. But founder of The Balance, Abdullah Boulad, is as much a man with a mission to improve lives as he is an entrepreneur.
In his book Living a Life in Balance: A Holistic Guide for Physical, Mental, Social, Spiritual Health & Performance Abdullah explains how he was born in Lebanon in 1979 and spent the first seven years of his life there before his family fled to Switzerland.
He ‘carried a heavy load of psychological baggage’ and ‘stepped into peaceful Switzerland with war raging inside my mind’.
Feeling like an outcast, Abdullah was driven to excel. While still at school, he became an entrepreneur buying computer parts, assembling home computers, and selling them. At 16 he was running a web design company and studying architectural design.
Today, he holds master’s degrees in General Management and Business Engineering from the Swiss University of St. Gallen. He is also qualified in Psychology, Integrative Health and Medicine, Nutrition and Food, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Neuro-Linguistic Programming, Mindfulness, Life Coaching and Addiction Treatment.
To me, Abullah said, ‘I was overworking and heading for burnout. I had a heart attack and ended up in hospital. This was a wake-up call for me to dig deeper into how I could live my life differently, learn about different mental states and improve my own. I also had issues with health within my family, with my wife and son. After overcoming these, I researched rehabilitation. I came across a centre in Switzerland offering rehab for the ultra-rich, joined and became CEO. But I was always thinking that I could do things differently.’
Deciding to strike out on his own, Abdullah opened the first Balance in Zurich around 2018. Realising that Mallorca had the right combination of sun, natural beauty and what he calls ‘a healing energy environment’ he opened the centre in Llucmajor a couple of years ago.
The image most of us have of rehab is of a pretty tough regime. It’s not like that at The Balance, which calls itself the ‘world’s best luxury rehab centre’.
‘For our clients, group work wouldn’t be suitable,’ Abdullah explained. ‘We prefer a discreet individual approach. And we don’t push people to do what they don’t want. It’s more about supporting them to make decisions for themselves.’
The Balance achieves this by providing an environment for a client in line with the level of material comfort they’re used to — rather a lot. Next, it provides a bespoke programme that meets a client’s individual needs and is delivered in a flexible way around the clock.
‘We understand the affluent, their needs, the problems that they face,’ Abdullah said. ‘For example, the children of rich people suffer traumatic experiences such as emotional neglect very often. This can cause addictions, anxieties and other issues.’
Most addictions are the same whether you’re rich or poor. But some are more likely to affect the rich.
For example, crypto addiction is when someone becomes addicted to trading digital currencies. It’s similar to an addiction to gambling or stock trading but, as Abdullah explained, ‘If you gamble at the casino you have to go home at some point. Stock markets close. Crypto is available all the time. It’s like a casino in your pocket.’
If a client is an addict, The Balance begins by getting them off the substance or behavioural pattern to see what underlies the addiction. Next, it connects them with their body and mind and with nature.
‘We give clients different possibilities to get their joy back,’ Abdullah said. ‘If someone’s passionate about dancing, we include this in the programme. Or music therapy. Or equine therapy. On Mallorca, we offer hiking in nature.’
Sarah Elfvin has been taking The Balance clients on mindful hikes for some time now.
‘We integrate with silence as we walk,’ she told me. ‘I think this is sometimes easier than therapies that involve talking. With the hikes, I hold space for people without listening, which is what a therapist would do. When you talk, mind will always be involved because you create your own stories.’
Sarah also offers yoga and mindfulness at The Balance. These help people use breath to step outside their thoughts and forget themselves for a moment. ‘It’s another kind of energetic joy,’ she said.
For Abdullah and his team success comes when they’re able to connect with a patient and gain their trust. After that, it’s about the client understanding for themselves what’s good for them, implementing a new routine when they’re at home and continuing to work on themselves.
In this way, recovery becomes a long-term process not just a short-term goal.
Abdullah doesn’t believe it’s possible to answer the question whether The Balance clients find it harder back in the real world than people who haven’t been through luxury rehab.
‘If you’re wealthy and don’t have to work, you may lack purpose. Unlike other addicts, you might also have the money to buy drugs easily,’ he said. ‘But I don’t think it’s possible to prove scientifically that it’s harder for the affluent to adjust to being back in their world. They have to go through the same mental process as everyone else.’
In case clients do struggle, The Balance stays in contact with them after they’ve left. ‘We’ve also had therapists going home with them and helping them settle in,’ Abdullah told me. ‘Whenever we see the need we’ll offer aftercare and continuous care.’
Contact The Balance to find out more about what Abdullah and his team offer.