HOW TO BE A HOLISTIC HEALER

In recent years, holistic medicine has been growing in popularity. With more and more people burning out, many are turning to holistic medicine to seek new ways to manage stress.

Whatever the reason, holistic healing practices are increasing health care options.New-age disciplines like acupuncture, intensive massage therapy, Ayurveda and holistic health coaching are becoming more accessible. This has inspired more people to turn to unconventional healing practices.

Holistic Healing Defined

Holistic healing can be described as aligning the body’s mental and physical state back into its natural “state.” It addresses the imbalances in the body, bringing it back to its natural state of function. Holistic healing focuses on a wide array of healing practices. Each of these practices falls outside the conventional healing treatments. This includes treatments that are pharmaceutical and surgical in nature. Holistic healing is complementary to traditional medicine. Its healing practices are often integrated with conventional medicine, complementing conventional care. With numerous types of holistic healing practices available and new therapies emerging continuously, those starting out in the field of holistic medicine may be a little overwhelmed. Becoming a better holistic medicine practitioner requires a mindful approach. Here are several ways to become a better holistic healer today.

Find Your Specialty

While numerous holistic practices exist, they can often be grouped into five categories. These include:

●      Biological-based therapies (aromatherapy, herbal medicines, etc.)

●      Energy therapies (Reiki)

●      Alternative medical systems (Ayurveda, traditional Chinese medicine, etc.)

●      Mind-body interventions (relaxation classes, cancer support groups, etc.)

●      Manipulative and Body-based methods (chiropractic, massage therapy, etc.)

Becoming specialized in one holistic practice means you are able to arm yourself with a kind of detailed knowledge that holistic clients are looking for. Pursuing a specialty to focus on provides greater opportunity to become a subject matter expert and differentiate yourself. Specialising in education and experience defines you as a quality resource — one that many clients will seek out to address their medical concerns.

The Importance of Continuing Education

Whether you’re a seasoned holistic practitioner or simply getting your feet wet, continuing professional development is important. Remaining competent in your holistic profession is an ongoing process. Throughout your professional career, this will require continued holistic therapy training. To be a successful holistic health practitioner requires a commitment to lifelong learning. There are several ways for holistic practitioners to continue developing their skills in an ever-changing environment.

Volunteering

Volunteering your time and experience can be invaluable in furthering your skills as a holistic health practitioner. Health practitioners are afforded many options when it comes to volunteering. Some can choose to go serve in their local communities, aiding under-served populations with limited access to holistic medicine. Others still can go abroad with agencies like Natural Doctors International or Acupuncturists Without Borders. These opportunities enable holistic practitioners to improve access and promote the use of integrative alternative medicines. Students still on their holistic education path can also commit time to volunteering. Volunteering as a student in a clinic provides practical clinical experience.Volunteers are given comprehensive training from staff and physicians who are involved in this holistic community. These experiences help students realize their full potential, which is crucial for when they seek out professional roles.

Work Based Learning

While many holistic practitioners can choose to become self-employed, there’s something to be said about working in a healthcare clinic. Job opportunities are plentiful in healthcare clinics, from wellness centers to physicians’ offices. These clinical settings create a learning environment that will provide long-term continuous learning opportunities. Such learning environments will be essential further on in your career if you ever decide to pursue your own practice.

Upgrading Courses

Earning a position within a healthcare clinic provides additional opportunities in gaining further certification and licensures. These can be crucial in furthering your specialization in a specific holistic practice. Many healthcare clinics will even support your desire for continuous learning, enabling you to receive ongoing training and credentials through healthcare training courses.

Holistic Medicine and Technology

Another approach to becoming a better holistic healer is to use technology. The dynamics and use of modern medical technology improve the delivery of healthcare. Enhancements provided by technology advocate the prevention of illness and the preservation of health. Holistic medicine can employ modern technology to create a multi-faceted approach to wellness.

Technology-based holistic medicine:

●      Provides better communication between holistic health practitioners and patients

●      Promotes a greater ability to research

●      Promotes a healthier body

●      Provides better treatment options for various illnesses and ailments

Pulling it Together

Taking a holistic approach to your professional career requires more than just examining your current career experience. A holistic approach encourages complete participation, understanding where your career has taken you and where you hope it will continue to take you. A holistic view of your successes, goals and dreams empowers your ability to become a better holistic health practitioner for all of your clients.

AUTHOR BIO
Marc Innes is the Owner and Principal of the School of Natural Therapies, a training school for Massage & Holistic Therapies located in London. Marc began his career in the NHS, working in a number of managerial and training roles within the Ambulance Service in London. He spent much of that time educating and coaching medical staff. Over time, he developed an interest in all things complementary to Allopathic Medicine, in particular, Reiki Healing and EFT, which culminated in running a successful teaching and ‘energy healing’ practice. Marc is passionate about the massage and complementary therapy industry.

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THE BUSINESS OF FLOW

Loving what you do and being in flow is a key ingredient for happiness, success and fulfilment, and vocational wellness is one of the fundamental ingredients to an overall sense of wellbeing and happiness. Yet for many of us, it can at times, be really difficult to understand what makes us tick at our best. Where are we most in flow? Why do we do what we do? What is our underlying talent? And how do we ensure that we are creating and living the life and work we love?  

Last year I discovered 'Wealth Dynamics', which is a psychometric personality test that identifies your natural talent and tells you exactly which path is correct for you, and what strategy you should follow to build wealth. The clarity I received was just what I needed to understand where I best serve my business and which other profile types can best support me to grow the business in a sustainable and balanced way. 

Wealth Dynamics is a holistic approach that encompasses the wisdom of the I Ching, Chinese Five Elements and classic psychometric testing. A business approach that weaves in all of these elements spoke to me as I highly value 'self enquiry', 'knowing thyself' and 'creating a business and life I love'. 

Upon completing the profile test I was then guided to Genius U, which expanded upon what path I should follow in life. When you follow your natural genius, life becomes a joy. But if you focus on your weaknesses, everything becomes hard work. Again this highly resonated for me. 

A comprehensive series of Microdegree's are attached to Genius U, which lay out the foundational steps for progressing up the Lighthouse, which is another tool that identifies your wealth spectrum level and then explains how to take yourself to the next level. The underlying philosophy is based on the levels of consciousness and chakras. As we expand in our awareness and take action steps to move to next level our business cannot help but grow. 

Roger James Hamilton is a NY Times Best-Selling Author. Futurist and Social Entrepreneur. He is the Founder of Entrepreneurs Institute and the creator of GeniusU, Wealth Dynamics & Talent Dynamics. Roger presents seminars on these principles around the globe and last year I attended his Fast Forward Summit in Melbourne. As a result of this inspirational event I booked myself into iLAB, a two week retreat in Bali.

Joining a group of wonderful business owners from all around the world, we were guided through an educational journey that included personal growth, business learnings, clarities and experiential workshops with various experts. Set in amongst a beautiful tropical resort serving delicious wellness food and with a morning schedule of exercise I absolutely loved that I was able to merge wellness and business in this two week experience. 

For more information visit: www.entrepreneursinstitute.com

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HEALTH IMPACT OF A RETREAT

The retreat industry is a niche sector of the wellness tourism industry that focuses on transformative experiences that aim to improve the health of participants through healthy lifestyle experiences, along with providing the skills and knowledge to help maintain healthy behaviours. The findings from the reviewed studies suggest there are many positive health benefits from retreat experiences that includes improvements in both subjective and objective measures. The results suggest that retreat experiences can produce benefits that include positive changes in metabolic and neurological pathways, loss of weight, blood pressure and abdominal girth, reduction in health symptoms and improvements in quality of life and subjective wellbeing.

In addition to facilitating general health improvements, there is evidence that retreat experiences can have a positive impact on chronic disease processes and provide benefits for some people with life threatening and/or chronic diseases. 

The finding that retreat experiences can lead to sustained and significant health improvements long after participants return home suggests that these experiences assist guests in making positive lifestyle changes and adopting healthy behaviours that lead to a variety of positive psychological, physiological, cognitive, clinical and metabolic effects. The ability to influence participants’ health once they return home is dependent on many factors including the type of participants involved, the education and experiences provided during the retreat program, and the provision of follow-up activities such as online coaching, nutrition programs, or follow-up consultations with practitioners. 

While it is not possible to determine which parts of the retreat intervention have the greatest influence, it is likely that improvements in health are due to a combination of psychological and behavioural factors that lead to better coping mechanisms and enhanced resilience to stress, as well as metabolic factors that lead to alterations in gene expression and DNA repair mechanisms.

Despite the potential for retreat experiences to benefit people with chronic and life threatening disease, the retreat industry does not routinely interact with the health care sector with few patients being referred to retreats by medical practitioners and retreat experiences are generally not covered by third party payment schemes or eligible for tax deductions or incentives. The lack of integration between the healthcare and retreat sectors may be partly due to a lack of data with which to evaluate retreat experiences.  

Such data could include a combination of psychological, cognitive, physiological, anthropometric and biochemical measures that together provide a holistic assessment of outcomes. This would allow retreat participants to evaluate and monitor the impact of their experiences and provide data to engage the medical profession and third party payers. It would also be beneficial for the industry to develop a standardised reporting system for retreat activities so that the influence of different types of retreat experiences can be assessed and results meaningfully compared across retreats and studies.

While retreat experiences appear to have positive health impacts, there is no published data on the economic impact of retreat experiences. There is however, substantial evidence that non-residential wellness programs, which share a similar focus on health promotion and lifestyle modification, provide a substantial economic return. A review of 28 studies of corporate wellness programs finds that the economic benefit of participation is substantially higher than the costs of providing the program. Stead reports benefit-to-cost ratios averaging 3.4–1 which indicates that corporate companies receive on average US$3.40 for every US$1 invested in the respective wellness program. In addition to return on investment, employees benefit from participating in corporate wellness programs through experiencing better health, lowered disability payments and reduced health care expenditures, while companies benefit from reduced employee turnover, increased productivity and reduced absenteeism and presenteeism along with intangible benefits such as being an employer of choice and attracting highly skilled employees and creating a positive corporate culture 

While the economic benefits of corporate wellness programs are becoming well established, it is unclear if similar benefits are offered by residential retreats. Future studies that include a health economic analysis are therefore needed to determine the cost-benefits of retreat experiences and the return on investment for participants, businesses, health insurers and policy makers. This may enable retreat operators to advocate for tax benefits, as well as inclusion in health insurance policies, and corporate wellness schemes. 

As the observed improvements in chronic diseases are based on a small number of patients, future research using larger numbers of subjects and longer follow-up periods is needed in order to determine the populations most likely to benefit and quantify any long-term health benefits. Future studies could also benefit from more rigorous study designs including the use of standardized outcome measures, more detailed descriptions of the retreat interventions and study population, and the inclusion of a health economics analysis in order to determine the economic benefits of retreat experiences for individuals, as well as for businesses, health insurers and policy makers.

Excerpt from: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12906-017-2078-4 

Researched by: Dhevaksha Naidoo, Adrian Schembri and Marc Cohen

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Posted on March 1, 2018 .

DAY SPA AT WILLIAM INGLIS

January began on a busy note, following a phone call from the soon to open William Inglis Hotel in Warwick Farm, Sydney. The hotel had been in planning and under construction for some time, however the addition of a day spa and fitness centre was only decided upon in November, so by the time I received a call in December it meant this pre-opening needed to be executed with utmost efficiency. 

Fortunately pre-openings are one of my favourite tasks. I actually enjoy rolling up my sleeves and being onsite to bring everything to life. Plus I love visual merchandising and interior styling! However, first things first. I needed to understand the location, guest demographic, hotel concept and owners vision so that I could choose the appropriate spa partner, curate a treatment menu, guide the brand identity and choose styling items for the day spa. Then the phone calls and planning began. 

Waterlily Skin Body and Spa was able to deliver an opening order and training within the tight time frame we had. I pulled together a critical path, delegated out various jobs so we could meet the deadline and began purchasing the most urgent of the 600 or so operational supply and equipment items. The Christmas break was the perfect time to go into creative copywriting for the spa menu, which was then immediately handed over to the Accor sales and marketing team for graphic design. I found the stock image below, which is perfect because it speaks to horses, racing tracks and brides... everything the William Inglis Hotel is about. 

The design of the day spa was mostly complete so no major changes to layout could be made, but a few tweaks in the selection of furnishings and the addition of more retail shelving was actioned. Arriving into what was still a construction zone on January 11th with 7 days to unpack OSE, set up, train the team, implement systems and processes and be photo shoot ready required great communication and coordination. Fortunately we were working with a great Accor management team so this helped us overcome the usual little disasters and defects that happen when construction is still in play. 

Our lovely therapists and spa manager were trained in the treatment protocols and we then ran a soft opening for two days which gave us the opportunity to practice and discover the weak areas we still had time to fix before official opening day. Very important and highly recommended for any new business. 

Overall this is a grand hotel and the spa is a beautiful addition, which I expect will become quite the destination for the Liverpool area. I myself look forward to returning for a spa experience when next in Sydney. 

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WELLNESS AS A STATUS SYMBOL

The Global Wellness Institute have now released their trends for 2018, which are very conceptual and a little difficult to grasp at the 'grass roots' operational level. However, the trends below presented by Euromonitor struck a chord with me and I thought they were definitely worth sharing. 

LONGEVITY ECONOMY - In 2018, almost a quarter of everyone on the planet will be over the age of 50, a record number. It is being suggested brands focus less on millennials and more on customers over the age of 50. The growing population over 50 represents a fast-growing contingent of active, productive people who are working longer and taking the economy in new directions. Women over fifty want to be represented by the media.

AUTHENTICITY - is a standout consumer value in 2018. Visual communication is inspired by flawed images drawing on wabi-sabi as its founding principles, advocating that beauty is to be found in imperfection, impermanence and the authentic. 

REAL WORLD HOLIDAY - Due to digital dependency and the difficulty of uninterrupted reflection, several tour operators, cruise lines and resorts are now promoting unplugged vacations (Digital Detox Trips). Participants pledge to leave digital devices behind while the Intrepid Travel tour leader emails updates to their loved ones. Urban hotels helping guests switch off include Renaissance Pittsburgh hotel, offering a family digital detox package letting guests exchange their devices for traditional board games. 

EXPERIENTIAL LUXURY - high-end personalisation is thriving due to demand for “experiential luxury”, the shift from “having to being”. 

POST-PURCHASE CONTACT - with the company’s representatives, the medium and the tone of the response are also critical parts of the customer journey, shaping their view of the business. 

STATUS SYMBOL - The desire to be fitter and healthier seems to be almost universal. Healthy living is becoming a status symbol, as more consumers opt to flaunt their passion for wellness through paying for boutique fitness sessions, “athleisure” clothing, food with health-giving properties and upscale health and wellness holidays. The spectacle of those willing to throw money at their quest for spiritual improvement is seen via the frequent consumer Instagram posts of retreat experiences posing against scenic backdrops. Consuming “stuff”, was once an indicator of wealth, but is now being replaced with the lack of things, lack of excess fat, and even a lack of wayward thoughts, which now defines aspiration and is at the heart of the consumer interest in wellness.

WEARABLE DEVICES - now offer to track mental wellbeing as well as physical fitness. 

BOUTIQUE HEALTH - The consumer interest in staying well sees them combining wellbeing activities with cathartic physical activity. This is reflected in a thriving menu of more esoteric, boutique fitness workout choices in urban hubs and spas. Some unlikely combinations have emerged, including BoxingYoga, BootyYoga etc

SLEEP - Many consumers are increasingly interested in products that promote healthy sleep, urged by professionals not to view sleep as a lifestyle choice, but to respect it as they do diet and exercise, as a core health building block. An estimated three million people are listening to sleep playlists on Spotify, making it one of their most popular genres. The above-mentioned sleep monitoring machine Sense has sustained its consumer appeal with the addition of new sounds to sleep to and greater accessibility

WELLNESS HOLIDAYS - Promote the idea that consumers can take some time out, transform themselves and return a better, happier person. Activity holidays for physical and mental health are a growth sector. Money is no object when it comes to top-of-the range luxury pampering and rejuvenation treatments in hotel spas and dedicated wellness centres.

So as I step into my 2018 spa and wellness projects I will certainly be considering how these trends might apply to any given project. 

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DAY SPA AT MITCHELTON

Designing a Day Spa is one of my passions, especially when I have the opportunity to work with an iconic brand, along with visionary owners and interior designers. The commitment to perfection and following the process to get there, is for me a joy, rather than a tedious task. And such was the case when preparing the pre-opening of the Mitchelton Day Spa. 

Working with Hecker Guthrie Design Studio we began with a detailed design brief and an allocated space located on level 2 of the hotel. Once gathering the details of what was required of a day spa, the design team set to working on three possible floor plans. We then discussed the strengths and weaknesses of each upon which the designers quickly came up with another two variations. We were now close to getting it right! Just a few more refinements and our floor plan maximised the space, created optimal flow for the guest journey and reduced the problem of having staff 'running' through the day spa more than was necessary. 

Next we began working on lighting and electrical plans, joinery design and finishes and fixtures. Storage was maximised in each of the treatment rooms so that staff could efficiently turn their room around between treatments whilst also lessening the traffic of therapists visiting reception and back of house for supplies. Less movement equals more peace and a smoother and more effective operation. A drawer dishwasher and hot/cold water filter was built into the relaxation room joinery minimising the need for carrying tea cups to the kitchen. Private change rooms inclusive of toilet, basin and shower adjoin a open plan locker area so as to maximise the space, whilst also providing a luxury experience. All of these details ensure a seamless experience for guests and staff. 

The palette is calming with the addition of 'pop' features such as the tiles in the wet areas and the gorgeous dark green marble reception desk. The floor surface chosen is quiet, anti-fatigue, durable and perfect for a day spa environment where oils and product can easily damage and deteriorate a surface. Beautiful linen curtains and curved walls add a soft touch to the entire space, and removable covers grace the relaxation chairs and lounges so that a fresh clean look can be maintained. 

USPA was chosen as its a perfect fit for this beautiful country location. Made in Victoria and offering a comprehensive and natural face, hair and body collection, the USPA concept marries beautifully with all that Mitchelton stands for. 

The team at Pop-n-Pac Creative developed a luxurious linen bound spa menu compendium and matching collaterals based on the templates provided by Spa Wellness Consulting. 

Finally after many long hours of unpacking stock, setting up, implementing systems and training the team, the Day Spa at Mitchelton opened on the 1st of December. And very quickly we were inundated with gift voucher requests and forward bookings. If I dare say it, I believe this lovely day spa overlooking the Goulburn River and set amidst vineyards and the iconic Mitchelton Estate will very soon be considered one of Melbourne's best destination day spa's, and that makes me very satisfied, content and proud. 

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VANA RETREAT, INDIA

Three years ago I was contacted about a role, for a soon to be opened retreat in India, called Vana. It was an interesting offer, but alas my gypsy soul was well settled back in Australia so moving to another continent was not an option. However, my curiosity was piqued and I was keen to follow this wellness newcomer to see what it would offer when opened. Cut to October 2017 and I find myself touching down at Dehra Dun airport prepared and ready for 7 days of contemporary ashram living. 

A friendly and humble Indian driver was waiting to collect me at the gate and then we drove through villages and countryside for an hour before arriving through the gates of Vana. A welcome bracelet (red thread) was wrapped and tied around my wrist upon arrival, which is traditional when entering temple ceremonies and rituals.

I was inducted into the Vana way and shown to my room before I made my way back to the Tibetan Healing Centre for a Sowa Rigpa therapy, which followed with dinner and bed. The next morning I began my day with a classical hatha yoga class, which included pranayama and yoga nidra to close the class. Something the yoga classes in the west have lost. After breakfast I made my way to the wellness centre with 'spa wish list' in hand. My initial wellness consultation was with an Ayurvedic Doctor and based upon the discussion I was asked to surrender to the prescribed plan that was seen to be best for my dosha and current imbalance. By lunch time I had received my spa itinerary for the entire week, which includes a daily Ayurvedic massage, tibetan healing, a consultation with the Tibetan Doctor and a number of other treatments. 

This is a contemporary ashram in every sense. Vana Retreat offers inspiration as to the power of simplicity, spirituality and silence. This retreat model was appropriate given the location and design of the property as it is not an expansive property and by way of its very design causes one to go on a journey of inner reflection. No mobile phones are allowed in public spaces and this causes further 'present moment awareness' and makes me realise how attached I have become to my device. I enjoy this digital detox. A set of white kurta pajamas are delivered to the room every day and not having to think about what to wear is one less decision each day and has a way of removing the egoic need we typically have to be 'special'.

Currently Vana offers a minimum 7 day retreat and soon this will be a minimum of 10 days as they strive to preserve a purist philosophy and maximise the healing result for guests. I met quite a number of guests who have already been to Vana 5 to 7 times in the 3 years it has been open. Certainly testament to Vana doing something very right. There is certainly a purity to the Vana way that is expressed through the ecological approach of the building, the spa and healing therapies, and the approach to food. The Dalai Lama has been to visit and bless Vana, and quite honestly the strong intention that belies this business can be felt in the ether. Spiritual and cultural traditions are honoured and as a guest I have the opportunity to touch the authentic essence of India without the usual dirt and noise of the country. 

Finally where would a retreat be without its food? Well I can say the approach to food is not restrictive in terms of flavours and colours, but rather served in small portions so that the taste buds can enjoy a variety of ayurvedic foods in a contemporary sense. A cooking class is also presented twice a week. One of my favourite times is afternoon tea in the lounge with my book 'The Road Less Travelled' by Scott M Peck. Apparently when the student is ready the teacher appears, and it seems I am now ready to read this classic tale of personal growth and spiritual development, which lands deeply inside of me given the reflection time I have had on retreat.

Day 7 comes around all too soon, but what I can say is that I am well rested and ready for the final leg of this 5 week exploration holiday. Upon departure another red thread bracelet with a charm is wrapped and tied around my wrist with well wishes. I am also given a red thread (presented on a copper platter) and invited to make a wish whilst tying the thread around an installation on the wall in the welcome/farewell pavilion. I pause and think for a moment before tying my 'lucky' thread to the wall. 

Overall Vana Retreat offers something very unique. Bringing Hindu and Buddhist philosophy and healing together ensures that the Vana way offers a lot of wisdom, integrity and applicable philosophies for modern day life and psychological development.

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THE NYC WELLNESS SCENE

Whenever I am researching fitness trends there is one city that just keeps on popping up. New York City! So it made sense to add a 'fitness/wellness holiday' in NYC following the Global Wellness Summit. Here are some of the experiences and brands I had the chance to visit and try on. 

1 HOTEL - I have been dying to visit the 1 Hotel in Brooklyn and was not disappointed. Its such an excellent model of a socially conscious brand with ecological design at the core of its philosophy. Every sustainable detail has been considered making it every bit authentic. The brand is part of the Starwood Capital Group and brainchild of hotelier Barry Sternlicht. There are currently 3 hotels in USA with 4 more opening internationally in 2018/19, which tells me this sustainable model is wanted by our guests and wellness warriors. 

BAMFORD SPA - Thinking I was going to have to visit the UK to visit a Bamford Spa you can imagine my delight when I discovered that the 1 Hotel has partnered with Bamford Spa. The spa offers a complete ecological perspective throughout its operation and it was nothing short of eco luxe exquisite. Next time I will definitely be treating myself with a treatment, but for this visit a retail bag of bamford goodies had to suffice.  

AIRE ANCIENT ROMAN BATHS - I was told if visiting NYC I had to visit AIRE, and so I booked my first 'night out' here and was not disappointed. This exquisite thermal bathing area is set below ground level featuring candles, music, various baths including a magnesium float bath, jacuzzi, thermal baths, cold plunge pools, a salt pillar for self applied body scrubs, steam room and a space for treatments. I added a salt stone massage to compliment my bathing experience. This brand is expanding across Europe and the UK and I can see why its such a popular choice for city dwellers as it offers an 'other worldly' relaxation experience in the heart of the city.

INSCAPE MEDITATION - This space features two meditation pods with specialised lighting. The variety of seating props were excellent, offering something suited to every type of person and their physical comfort. The class is introduced by a facilitator who sits in the centre but the class itself is lead by a recorded voice. The brilliance in this is being able to offer a class that is universally likeable, with good sound and without requiring an expert meditation teacher to be present. The retail store at Inscape offered an excellent range of boutique wellness products and a very nice relaxation area to hang out with a cup of fruit infused water and a book.

WOOM YOGA - I jumped in a cab and went downtown for a midday yoga class in the Woom room. This centre offers yoga classes and sound meditations amidst a light show of patterns and imagery projected onto the wall. The music was quite loud and the lighting reminiscent of a night club in parts and I felt energised and engaged in the journey. Definitely worth a visit when in NYC.

PELOTON CYCLING - This class is a convenient and immersive indoor cycling experience, streaming daily live classes from the NYC studio. This could be an excellent offering for the wellness hotel room concept. The advantage of this model is that guests receive a consistent standard of instructor. I see this model being perfect for homes and hotels. 

SOUL CYCLE - This class is a style of cycling that incorporates motivational and dance based instruction. It is a fun, intense workout in a dark room that is similar to a dance studio. Taking the cycle scene by storm its an excellent style of class to consider for any health retreat. 

TRAMPOLEAN CLASS - Ive often thought that rebounding classes need to enter the fitness arena. Well NYC offers trampolean and I really got a workout in this class. In a dark industrial style room we did all sorts of moves on the rebounder with the addition of hand weights and therabands to tone and stretch the entire body. This was an excellent low impact class with high impact results. The health benefits of rebounding are numerous as it cleanses the lymphatic system and exercises every internal organ and cell in the body, whilst delivering excellent aerobic exercise without impacting on joints. 

In addition to soaking and fitness classes I also did what anyone must do when in NYC, which was to go up to the top of the Empire State Building, see a show on Broadway and add in a spot of shopping in Times Square. I loved every minute in this vibrant city and cant wait to visit again. 

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MODERN MAYAN WELLNESS

Following the Global Wellness Summit, I wasn't going to miss the opportunity to join a post summit trip to the newly opened Chable Resort in the Yucatan region of Mexico. Ten years in the making, Chable first opened its doors in November 2016 and was already heralding international acclaim, so I was certainly looking forward to the journey. 

Based on ancient Mayan culture and set on the most exquisite 750 acre property, complete with remnants of ruins to remind one of centuries past, a beautiful blue hacienda houses the reception, retail boutique, a bar and some other spaces. Beautiful furnishings, artworks and sculptures grace each room and meet us upon our arrival to this other worldly resort. 

After check in I am escorted along a winding path to my private villa, set in amongst the jungle. The room is spacious and well appointed with a bathroom that connects to the outdoors, a comfortable king size bed and sitting area, along with a private plunge pool and terrace. I am in heaven! After a very social 10 days of travelling I am ready to rest and sink into the surrounding nature. 

A light lunch is served at the restaurant that sits by the most magical pool, before I make my way to an afternoon in the spa. The treatment menu is like nothing I have ever seen before so I book 8 treatments in the space of 3 days. I want to take in all of this mayan healing. I have Janzu, Rain Goddess Ritual, a Bio Energy Lift Facial, Mayan Herbal Compress Massage amongst other things. The menu also offers a Traditional Ceremonial Temazcal, however unfortunately the shaman is unable to perform the ceremony on the needed day which gives me a reason to return. I could hardly imagine going to stay at Chable without having at least one spa treatment from this amazing spa menu. 

The stand out feature of the resort for me is the day spa, but then perhaps I am biased as I am sure a cigar smoker or tequila drinker might say otherwise. In any case the central spa facilities are stunning, with treatment rooms branching off along a circular path overlooking the central cenote, which is a fresh water hole considered to be sacred in Mexican culture. Having other facilities such as the fitness centre, a café, swimming pool and yoga deck connected to the day spa keeps the wellness activities nicely connected. There is also a café located at the spa which offers a complimentary daily tasting of small bites. 

The men’s and women’s change room each have an outdoor thermal bathing area with sauna, steam, salt room, showers and hot and cold pools. Near the entrance to the relaxation lounge is a small open room that displays the local ingredients and herbs that make up the spa products and smoking ceremony mix. A large white conch shell set in the middle of a pond resides in the centre of the spa. Here and before my first ritual I was guided across the stepping stones and into the centre of the conch for a Mayan intention setting and smoking ceremony. Depending on the ritual chosen, some rituals began with drumming, sounding of the conch, rattles or other instruments. Definitely the most unique ritual experience I have encountered to date and I loved it!

The resort had a visiting yoga teacher who offered a number of classes during the day that included yoga, meditation, guided visualisation, journaling and talks on mindfulness. Most classes were on the yoga deck that sat on the edge of the sacred cenote. There were also another couple from Spain that facilitated a qi gong class accompanied by live spiritual music. This was both unique and wonderful. Led in the courtyard under the expansive shade of a large tree I was transported to another place with the movements, breath and sound.

Chable has found a way to successfully offer wellness alongside other cultural traditions of Mexico such as a cigar bar and Ixium, the fine dining restaurant, which has a tequila collection of over 3600 bottles. The food menu’s were not entirely wellness focused, but they were small portions of Mexican style food and the staff always enquired as to whether I had any dietary requests, so they were ready and able to cater to dairy, sugar and gluten free options.

Overall, Chable Resort has found a way to merge authentic wellness, mayan spirituality and healing, along with traditional Mexican culture, which is what makes it the perfectly balanced wellness getaway. 

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GLOBAL WELLNESS SUMMIT

This year I had the fantastic experience of attending the Global Wellness Summit, which has held at The Breakers in Palm Beach, Florida. The professionals that attend this amazing event are at the forefront of the global wellness movement across a wide array of industries. The speeches, presentations and forums were of the highest calibre, with future thinking, ground breaking technology and what is happening across the planet being discussed and discovered. We had glamorous evening events to attend, round table lunches and the opportunity to meet the best in the spa and wellness industry. Inspiring on all levels! 

The eight wellness trends that emerged this year were the most left of field I have ever seen and can be found on the GWS website, so if you are reading this blog I will let you discover those for yourself. My personal favourite take homes were as follows;

Healthy Building Design: Why It’s a Smart Decision for Businesses and Investors - Delos presented research on guest satisfaction, loyalty and behaviours related to staying in hotels that offered a wellness environment via the stay well rooms. The results were very impressive and should certainly have hotels considering this approach.

Millennials are not Wellness Newbies: Presented by Good & Well - This was a fantastic presentation on the trends and behaviours of millennials in regards to wellness. Influencers have a major impact on a business having millennials as followers and are more likely to attract attendees to their retreats.  

Other Interesting Points Learned at GWS were;

Energy is 4 dimensional - Physically energised, spiritually aligned, mentally focused, emotionally connected

Energy expenditure has to be balanced with energy recovery 

Depression and anxiety cost the global economy $1 trillion dollars in lost work days 

People actually become happier as they age

Technology opens up Wellness and mental support to all people 

Eyes are direct connection to the brain and if we can stimulate the brain through the power of nature it will have a positive affect

Hotels need to integrate authenticity and sustainability 

When sustainability is only an economic drive the intention is upside down 

Equanimity within and compassion without are the core of living a well life 

Anytime we judge someone new we are judging them on... high warmth and high competence 

Move away from anti-ageing to age embracing 

We are sinking in data but starving in wisdom 

Fear is not a sustainable motivator to change. What is sustainable is fun, freedom, pleasure and love

Hot spring tourism has been emerging and developing rapidly over the past 20 years

There is great potential for virtual reality to be brought into the wellness space

The 2018 GWS will be held at Technogym HQ in Italy so a little sojourn to Europe may be on the cards.  

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