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Building a Blue Zone: This UAE mega project is the world’s first “healthy living island”

Few names evoke the same kind of warm, fuzzy feeling in regards to holistic health as SHA Wellness Clinic. They won over 100 international honors last year for their holistic approach to living well, including the World Spa honors’ “World’s Best Clinic” title.


Located in a picturesque clutch of land between the Sierra Helada Natural Park and the Bay of Altea in Alicante, Spain, the original SHA clinic was established in 2008 and is well-known for using cutting-edge, edge-courting technology, advanced nutritional practices, and the newest in live-longer life hacks.

In 2024, the company expanded internationally by adding a gorgeous new medical spa resort on Mexico’s Caribbean coast. On an island here in the United Arab Emirates, however, they are currently building their next project, which is far larger in scope.

Stay well

Their goal, in collaboration with IMKAN, a local developer partner, is to create the first artificial “healthy living island” in history. It is located near the lapis seas of Al Jurf, which is midway between Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The location was formerly Sheikh Zayed’s own beach retreat.

The island’s approach is perfectly serene, surrounded by a verdant canyon of native ghaf trees and home to roaming oryx that are always curious and kind. The more than 100 residential and recreational buildings that will be scattered over the island are currently being built, with the foundations of this wellness atoll already having been laid.

With SHA Residences Emirates, SHA hopes to construct a man-made Blue Zone in this location.

Into the Blue

That objective should be clear to you if you were among the millions of viewers of the acclaimed Netflix documentary Live to 100: Secrets of the Blue Zones.

A “Blue Zone” is a region of the world, usually an island or tiny settlement, where people live significantly longer than the typical human being. This longevity is thought to be caused by a number of things, including nutrition (especially eating seasonal, local, unprocessed foods and consuming less meat and fish protein), remaining active, feeling purposeful, and receiving care from the community for the elderly.

But outside of a naturally formed setting, how can such remarkable age-defying effects be replicated?

SHAdes of blue

The tried-and-true technique of SHA Wellness Clinic is based on an integrated approach to optimal health. It’s an applied focus on nine key areas of wellbeing: physical performance, cognitive stimulation and emotional health, natural therapies, enhanced aesthetics, preventive and healthy ageing medicine, and healthy eating.

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