Though the world’s life expectancy is longer than ever before, myriad health concerns related to stress, poor dietary habits and limited social interaction are on the rise. Asia has long fostered a number of holistic and natural wellbeing methods and it’s here that we turn our attention to see how ancient practices, such as tai chi, yoga, meditation and the Japanese tradition of forest bathing, can help combat modern health issues. Led by two expert faculty, TEAN’s unique Holistic Health and Wellness in Asia Program introduces students to a variety of complementary modalities that promote optimal health and healing, both academically and experientially. The 3-week course travels from northern to southern Thailand exploring not only the country’s natural charm and culture, but the role of mindfulness and mindfulness-based therapies in holistic health, self development and sustainable living including an immersive 2-week retreat where students dive into the practices themselves.


Study Asian mindfulness and holistic health practices – such as tai chi, yoga, forest therapy, reiki and meditation – and their role in helping prevent or reduce contemporary ailments

Spend time in two of Thailand’s most stunning regions, the northern city of Chiang Mai and southern tropical coastal area of Krabi

Learn from leading holistic health experts including a health ecology researcher and an integrative medicine therapy specialist

Practice meditation, qigong, yoga and more during a 2-week retreat complete with excursions like free diving in the Andaman Sea and climbing 1,200 steps to a remote temple at sunrise

Explore the natural beauty of Krabi’s karst cliffs, mangrove forests and tumbling waterfalls to feel restored by nature

Create a foundation for holistic wellbeing in your own life or as an understanding for future studies

Combine this with another course from the other Summer in Thailand session for an extended summer experience


Program Terms

During the summer, this program is offered for Session One of our Thailand Summer Program. Students can select to enroll in one session for a three-week program (4 credits) or two sessions for a six-week program (8 credits). See more details on the Summer in Thailand program here. Over the winter this course is offered as a standalone three-week program (4 credits).


KIN 365T Asian Approaches to Holistic Health and Wellness

Global life expectancy is longer and more prosperous than ever before due to the unparalleled public health, agricultural, industrial and technological advances of the past century. Yet these gains have been accompanied by a rise in psychological and metabolic conditions such as anxiety and depression, cardiovascular diseases, obesity and diabetes that dominate the disease landscape in the West and are now also on the rise in most Southeast Asian countries.

These so-called “diseases of civilization” are potentially related to stress-induced inflammatory metabolic disorders and energetic imbalances due to sugar-rich diets, limited physical activity, intense workloads, sleep deprivation and social disconnect.

Recognizing the short-term nature of most drug therapies and their inability to address a problem’s underlying roots, this course is intended to provide participants with a practical wellness foundation that can be applied in one’s everyday life or be used to develop professional wellness programs. Influenced by the wisdom of Asian holistic philosophies, it focuses on applying diverse principles and practices that are also grounded in interdisciplinary scholarship (evolutionary biology, health promotion, psychology, etc.) to promote holistic well-being.

This course is relevant to majors in public health and medicine, but is also open to anybody wishing to enhance personal development. In particular, it is designed to help with:

  • Advancing a career in complementary health practices.
  • Learning valuable, life-long coping skills thanks to a focus on self-care and stress reduction to provide students with skills to build resiliency, enhance personal development and prevent burnout for themselves.

Contact us to request a syllabus for this course.


Dr. Pierre Echaubard

Pierre Echaubard, Ph.D, is a health ecology researcher specializing in infectious diseases ecology and evolution, vector-borne diseases adaptive management and the linkages between biodiversity, health and wellbeing. A regular consultant for the WHO-TDR (a WHO special program on disease of poverty) and for numerous academic institutions and governmental organizations, he has been involved in numerous environmental and public health projects examining how social-ecological factors influence both vector-borne and parasitic diseases transmission and communities resilience and more.

Pierre also regularly teaches courses in ecology and biodiversity conservation, sustainable development, public health and tropical medicine as well as develops experiential education programs focusing on mindfulness-based practices and the role of nature in holistic health and wellness.

Michael Weitzman

Michael has been the coordinator and head instructor of the St. George’s University School of Medicine, Integrative Medicine Therapies Thailand Selective for the last ten years. This selective has educated more than 500 future doctors on the integrative therapies of Thai massage, tai chi, qigong, yoga and meditation. A certified Mindfulness Meditation Instructor, he has studied Qigong and Meditation with the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program, Mantak Chia’s Healing Tao system and the Energy Arts online school.


Upon completion of the course you will be issued with an Elmhurst University academic transcript. The course is worth 4 U.S. credits. The course consists of 60 hours of class contact time over three weeks including lectures and presentations, practical sessions, workshops and field trips.



Week One

The first week of the course is based in the northern Thai town of Chiang Mai where we will use open discussions and workshops to provide the necessary conceptual and factual knowledge and stimulate critical engagement with the course topics including:

  • Eating, exercise and sleeping
  • Mindfulness and mindfulness in Buddhism
  • Connecting with others
  • Biophilia and nature therapy

The first week is intended to provide foundational background knowledge and initiate essential discussions preparing for the field retreat.

Benefiting from Chiang Mai’s history as a 700-year old urban Buddhist center students will be introduced to Buddhist mindfulness at a local temple. Located on the mountain (Doi Suthep) that borders the city, students will mindfully walk through the forest to the temple (40 minutes) for this introduction to Buddhist meditation.



The field retreat (13 days) will be held in Krabi province in southern Thailand. Krabi’s lush forests, turquoise waters, coral reefs and towering limestone karsts provide the background for nature- and movement-based mindfulness practices as well as immersive sustainable living experiences in local communities.

Over the 2-week retreat, there will be 10 days (4.5 hours/day) of effective learning focusing on experiential learning by putting into practice the themes discussed at the beginning of the course. The retreat exposes participants to a series of workshops and experiential learning activities – combining mind-body therapy and nature therapy, plus movement and eating for optimal health – in addition to open discussions and seminars.

Throughout the retreat, students will learn and practice the following:

  • Tai chi-Qigong: metarobics set, stretching set, balance set, flow zone set
  • Yoga: restorative and therapeutic yoga short sets (fusion yin/vinyasa and pranayama)
  • Movement-based practices: Slacklining, rock climbing, Muay Thai, trail running, walking with emphasis on mindful movement, flow and breathing applied to stress reduction. While a basic level of fitness is required for this course, optional alternatives are provided for the more intensive movement-based practices.
  • Nature-based therapy: Inspired by the Japanese approach of Shinrin-yoku or “forest bathing,” you will formally and informally experience the healing power of being mindful in nature. During hikes in the rainforest, near waterfalls and during kayaking in the mangroves students will be provided tools to become awake in nature.
  • Breathing techniques: Emphasis on diaphragmatic breathing and pranayama with applications to stress reduction. Breathing workshop followed by an introduction to free diving.
  • Thai massage: An introduction to Thai massage and self massage techniques
  • Reiki: Level 1 content will be discussed and practiced to learn energetic self-healing
  • Whole food, plant-based nutrition: Experience a workshop on whole food plant-based meal preparation



  • 2.5 GPA
  • Currently enrolled at an approved degree-granting institution of higher education.
  • The course is an introductory-level health course and assumes no (or very little) previous university-level health studies experience, however students studying health or integrative health will certainly have the opportunity to expand on their knowledge by participating in the program.
  • Practical as well as interdisciplinary experience in one of the following areas is an advantage but not mandatory: yoga, meditation, psychology, public health, medicine and physiology, evolutionary biology, nutrition science, physical education and more.

Program Details

Winter 2021/2022

This program not running for Winter 2021/2022. Please check back for future available terms.


Be introduced to Chiang Mai upon arrival with an Orientation that combines useful informative sessions with intriguing introductory cultural experiences. Experience a sensory overload as you learn about Thai culture and society, jumpstart your knowledge of Thai Buddhism with a visit to one of Chiang Mai’s glittering gold temples, practice speaking key Thai phrases, and sample an array of deliciously diverse Thai cuisine. (All meals are included!)


In Chiang Mai students stay in twin-share accommodation with other TEAN students. The accommodation is fully furnished and located in a vibrant area, close to cafes, restaurants and street food.

In Krabi, for the retreat portion of the program students stay in twin-share rooms in guesthouse style accommodation in the forest, within 3 miles of the popular Ao Nang beach. Rooms are simple and clean with air conditioning and bathrooms. Breakfast is provided daily. TEAN staff also stay on-site.


Our team works with you start to finish through the study abroad process. Our programs staff will help guide you through the application process to go abroad, then upon arrival in Southeast Asia, you will be met by our on-site staff who will provide assistance throughout your time in Thailand.

Meet the Team

Program Dates


TEAN has a rolling admissions process. Late applications may be considered. Contact TEAN if the application deadline has passed.

Program Capacity

This program accepts 14 students only. Early applications are advised as the program will close once capacity is reached. Students may be added to a waitlist.

Winter 2021/2022 Dates

This program not running for Winter 2021/2022. Please check back for future available terms.

Application Deadline Nov 15
Arrival Day Dec 27
TEAN Orientation Dec 27 Dec 28
Class Starts Dec 28
Ethical elephant park visit Jan 2
Travel to Krabi Jan 3
Last day of class Jan 15
Program Ends Jan 16

Summer 2021 dates

This program not running for Summer 2021. Please check back for future available terms.

Application Deadline Mar 15
Arrival Day May 21
TEAN Orientation May 22
Ethical elephant park visit May 23
Class Starts May 24
Last day of class June 11
Program Ends June 12

Following this course students have the option to add  Environmental Conservation and Sustainable Development in Southeast Asia offered during Session 2. This course is designed to complement the Asian Approaches to Holistic Health and Wellness course. Both are taught by Dr. Pierre Echaubard.

Fees & Inclusions

Winter 2021/2022

This program not running for Winter 2021/2022. Please check back for future available terms.

Summer 2021

Estimated program fee: $4,100

Two Session Special

$500 off total cost of program
Must take a course in Session 1 and Session 2


  • Full tuition (4 credits from Elmhurst University)
  • Guaranteed pre-arranged housing
  • Overseas health insurance, plus evacuation and repatriation insurance
  • Orientation Program with meals, activities and transportation
  • WiFi access in housing
  • Flight from Chiang Mai to Krabi
  • Airport transfers and all course-related ground transport
  • Cultural events, excursions and field trips throughout the program
  • Most meals in Krabi 
  • Ethical elephant park one-day visit
  • Extensive pre-departure counseling and information
  • Readings for all courses (provided as PDFs to download)
  • Staff and resources available 24/7 to provide assistance and recommendations during emergencies


  • International airfares (approx $1,200 – 1,400)
  • Some meals (approx $150-200)
  • Local transportation in Chiang Mai and Krabi for personal outings (approx $30)
  • Travel insurance ($350)


TEAN Scholarships

Apply for TEAN scholarships – starting at $1,000 – for the chance to receive money specifically for studying abroad. Each year we award thousands of dollars in need- and merit-based scholarships, diversity scholarships, a full ride scholarship and more. Visit our scholarships page for details!

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