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 and meditation, can help combat modern health issues. Led by two expert faculty, TEAN’s unique Holistic Health and Wellness in Asia Summer 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 different practices themselves.


Study Asian mindfulness and holistic health practices – such as tai chi, yoga, Thai massage, 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, mindful eating, qigong and more during a 2-week retreat complete with prepared plant-based meals

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



Asian Approaches to Holistic Health and Wellness (PHE 410)

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.

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.

Although not a requirement, the approach of this class caters to students who are vegetarian and/or practice or are interested in yoga and other holistic pathways to wellness.

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 (WHO special program on disease of poverty) and for numerous academic institutions and governmental organizations, he has been involved in environmental and public health projects examining how social-ecological factors influence both vector-borne and parasitic diseases transmission and communities resilience and more.

Dr. Echaubard 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.

Thai Language

In addition to the Health course students have the option to take a one-credit Thai language course. Taught over 15 hours during week one of the program the course will provide students with an introduction to survival Thai speaking and listening.


Upon completion of the course you will be issued with a Portland State University academic transcript. The course is worth 3 U.S. credits. The course consists of 55 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, moving, sleeping
  • Mindfulness introduction and mindfulness in Buddhism
  • Connecting with others
  • Biophilia and nature therapy

The first week is intended to provide foundational background knowledge, experience Buddhist mindfulness practice at a local temple and initiate essential discussions preparing for the field retreat.



The field retreat (14 days) will be held in Krabi province in southern Thailand. Krabi’s lush forests, turquoise waters, coral reefs and towering limestone karsts will 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
  • Mindful yin yoga and active vinyasa yoga
  • Mindfulness meditation
  • Breathing
  • Thai massage
  • Reiki
  • Rock climbing
  • Muay Thai

Traditional Thai and vegan cooking workshops, practicing mindful eating, and experiencing the healing power of being mindful in nature through rainforest hikes, kayaking through mangrove forests and more, will further add to the course’s experiential holistic health approach.



  • 2.5 GPA
  • Currently enrolled at an approved degree-granting institution of higher education.

Program Details


Get to know Thailand upon arrival in Chiang Mai, or the Rose of the North, with an Orientation that combines useful informative sessions with intriguing introductory cultural experiences. Experience a sensory overload as you visit a local market, jumpstart your knowledge of Thai Buddhism with a visit to one of Chiang Mai’s glittering temples and sample an array of delicious northern Thai cuisine.


In Chiang Mai students stay in off-campus modern twin-share rooms with other TEAN students. Just a 5- to 7–minute walk to campus, the accommodation is fully furnished and located in a vibrant university area.

In Krabi students stay in twin-share rooms in a 3- or 4-star hotel with swimming pool. The location is within 3 miles of the popular Ao Nang beach.


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.

Program Dates


TEAN has a rolling admissions process. We recommend submitting your application anytime from January for Summer applications. Earlier applications will be accepted. Late applications may be considered. Contact TEAN if the application deadline has passed.

Program Capacity

This program accepts 20 students only. Early applications are advised as the program will close once capacity is reached. Students may be added to a waitlist.


Application Deadline Mar 15
Arrival Day May 24
TEAN + University Orientation May 25
Elephant Nature Park visit May 26
Class Starts May 27
Travel to Krabi Jun 2
Last day of class Jun 14
Program Ends Jun 15

Following this course students can enrol in an additional Thailand Summer Program course. Dr. Pierre Echaubard also teaches the Environmental Conservation and Sustainable Development in Southeast Asia course offered during TEAN’s regular Thailand Summer Program.

Fees & Inclusions

Summer 2019


**Students have the option to enrol in a one-credit Thai language course taught during the first week of the program. Cost for the additional course is $300.


  • Full tuition (3-4 credits on a Portland State University transcript)
  • Guaranteed pre-arranged housing
  • Overseas health insurance, plus evacuation and repatriation insurance
  • Orientation Program with meals, activities and transportation
  • Wireless internet access in housing
  • Flight from Chiang Mai to Krabi
  • Local SIM card provided upon arrival with initial credit (student to bring an unlocked phone)
  • Field trips as specified
  • Most meals in Krabi (most food will be whole food/plant-based cuisine. However, non-vegetarian options can also be arranged for students, if need be.)
  • Elephant Nature Park one-day visit
  • Extensive pre-departure counseling and information
  • Readings for all courses (provided as PDFs to download)
  • ISEAA academic grade report at conclusion of program
  • Credit approval and transfer assistance
  • Help with student visa preparation
  • Financial aid transfer planning
  • Airport pickup and transfer to accommodation in Chiang Mai
  • Staff and resources available 24/7 to provide assistance and recommendations during emergencies


  • International airfares (approx $1,200 – 1,400)
  • Some meals (approx $100)
  • School uniform (approx $30)
  • Local transportation in Chiang Mai and Krabi for personal outings (approx $30)
  • Student visa ($80)


TEAN Scholarships

Receive money to study abroad starting at $1,000 by applying to TEAN scholarships. 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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