The best of health on your holidays

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The Independent Travel

If music be the food of love then dance is the heady booze that washes it down. There is little more joyfully liberating than flinging your limbs about to repetitive beats. Pair this with the world's most sensual music and you have one of the most therapeutic forms of exercise about ­ belly dancing. Both meditative and performative, Arabic dance is as much about self expression as it is about technique.

Unlike other current fads for complex dances, such as tango and salsa, Arabic dance is a form which even a complete novice will be able to enjoy from lesson one.

Really good show

If music be the food of love then dance is the heady booze that washes it down. There is little more joyfully liberating than flinging your limbs about to repetitive beats. Pair this with the world's most sensual music and you have one of the most therapeutic forms of exercise about ­ belly dancing. Both meditative and performative, Arabic dance is as much about self expression as it is about technique.

Unlike other current fads for complex dances, such as tango and salsa, Arabic dance is a form which even a complete novice will be able to enjoy from lesson one.

Dance Holidays (01206 577000 www.danceholidays.com) offers Arabic dancing holidays in Granada, in southern Spain. The tutor is Wendy Buonaventura, who regularly performs at the prestigious Institute of the Arab World in Paris. Her teaching focuses mainly on Egyptian Baladi, the popular solo dance of women. It also covers dances from North Africa and the Middle East.

A one-week course, including return flights, transfers, hotel with breakfast and all classes, is £495 per person, based on two sharing.

A good pampering

The contemporary definition of a good pampering goes far beyond just a face pack and a massage ­ treat the mind, body and soul simultaneously or expect little reward. Ayurvedic (Indian herbal medicine) treatments adhere to just this philosophy. Those seeking something a little less mundane than a spa hotel should consider a visit to Ulpotha, a village retreat in the middle of Sri Lanka.

Ostensibly a "farming village" surrounded by forest and situated around a lake, Ulpotha opens for a limited number of visitors for a few weeks per year. It offers Ayurvedic oil treatments and massages along with native herbal steam baths and yoga. Accommodation is in asanas (open "huts" with pitched, palm-thatched roofs) and food is organic, grown within the village and cooked to local vegetarian recipes.

The next open weeks are 10-24 June and the cost is £950 for two weeks, including full-board twin-share accommodation, all treatments, courses and transfers. Flights to Colombo are extra ­ reckon on £500 return. Contact Neal's Yard, as above, or visit the website at www.ulpotha.com.

Float all your troubles away

For a holiday that treats medical conditions in a non-medical environment, try the Dead Sea between Israel and Jordan. It is renowned not only for enabling you to float effortlessly while reading the newspaper, but also for its unique health-giving properties.Those suffering from arthritic, rheumatic or dermatological conditions benefit from the unique combination of salts and minerals, higher oxygen content and therapeutic mud.

Another rather novel idea, in Turkey, is the thermal area of Kangal where those suffering from psoriasis can bathe with healing fish. The thermal springs here contain curative carbon dioxide along with Kangal's fish (unique to this area of the world and capable of living in water temperatures of over 37C) which are said to draw out the infected areas of bathers.

Blue Moon Travel (020 8202 2028, www.bluemoontravel.co.uk) offers breaks to the Dead Sea for £828 per person, per week, based on twin-share, and including return flights, transfers and half-board accommodation. Treatments at the Dead Sea MOR Clinic start from £105 per person, per week. A fortnight of treatment in Kangal for £999, including half-board accommodation, flights, transfers and treatments.

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