Lifestyle Asia July 2016

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out of Town

An aerial view of Aegle Wellness Center

Finding Balance on an Island The Mykonos Village in Balesin Island is the address of a holistic wellness center that offers Thalassotherapy treatments by the sea, state-of-the-art medical diagnostics and customized diets and supplements


Text and additional photos by BIanca R. Salonga

onday was the unlikely day of the week to fly out to

Balesin island CluB. While the rest of the metropolitan was preoccupied with work concerns, a 25-minute flight to the island on the east presented a different agenda for the next four days including soaks in Aegle’s Thalassotherapy pools, Hyberbolic Chamber therapy and Intravenous Detoxifying drips. Allotting several days solely for pampering seemed like an indulgence but just like a board meeting or a deadline, achieving balance for the body, mind and soul was a goal that deserved the same kind of attention and effort as in the workplace. THerApy by THe SeA Aegle’s brand of patient care was immediately felt from the time of boarding. Dr. benjamin Valdecañas, who specializes


in regenerative Medicine was on board to ensure that everything was in order. Upon stepping onto the tarmac of balesin early in the morning, staff of Aegle greeted those signed up for the program. A concoction of apple and ginger welcomed guests. “This is one of our fresh and healthy juices at Aegle,” explained Therese, the head supervisor of the newly opened health facility. “We opened less than a month ago and you are the first to experience our fourday wellness program.” Following seamless check-in, the short drive from the balesin village to Mykonos via cart filled the lungs with fresh air. At the end of a cul-de-sac stood the new wellness center that was built

Thalasso pools that look out to the ocean

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using the same design sensibilities as the rest of the recreated Greek village. The entire structure was painted in white with touches of bright blue. “Aegle is the first of its kind to open in Asia. We are the only facility in the region to offer Thalassotherapy which is popularly used in europe for medical therapy,” said Therese. Using seawater as the main component, the specialized water treatment entails soaking in jet pools while looking out into the ocean for approximately 20 minutes. “each pool is infused with oils and minerals that help address various conditions. The jets allow skin to absorb the components found in the water,” said Dr. ben. Thalassotherapy, a Greek term that

translates into sea therapy, was first made popular in the 19th century in brittany, France and has since then gained traction among those who practice holistic wellness. pool SoAkS, SMooTHIeS AnD A VIeW oF THe oCeAn There were six pools on the third floor. Three rounded baths facing the pacific were built for herbal treatments. “you will experience the Thalasso relax later in the day accompanied by a smoothie,” promised Therese. on the other side were geometric shaped medicinal pools that aid in addressing inflammation, skin conditions and body sores. Soaks were often scheduled for JUlY 2016

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A hearty serving of seabass, quinoa and fresh greens

The wet floor area where a Thalasso pool helps open pores before treatment mornings and midday. Cardio and resistance training in the mornings were followed by a quick dip in the pool located on the “wet floor.” Found in the same area are steam and infrared saunas that help open the pores in preparation for soaks. Several minutes immersed in the Soothing Thalasso pool helped ease knots and sores from physical exertion. It was also opportunity to squeeze in a quick nap as waterproof pillows were provided. Water was comfortably set to body temperature while the jets stimulated light pressure on skin. The scent of oils mixed with the fresh air blown from the sea nearby. The only sounds to be heard were those of the jet stream and far off waves crashing against the shore. The arrival of nurses carrying fresh fruit smoothies was a welcome distraction from the peace and quiet of the moment. Fluffy white robes with the image of Aegle, the goddess of healing in Greek mythology, 114

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The Chariman’s Choice is a mix of kale, malunggay, banana and celery embroidered on the right chest were brought out signaling the start of massage treatments. Deep tissue and lymphatic massages were the preferred antidotes for tensed muscles and tissues. DIeTS WITHoUT DeprIVATIon The center’s dining outlet, Ambrosia, has an open air sitting area to take in the view while sipping on the first smoothie of the day. In-house nutritionist Arian Tuazon joined to talk about diets and balancing out meals. She began with a general assessment of the current diet. “We don’t believe in depriving the body of food but there are ways to balance your meals each day so that you can have a little of everything,” she shared, bringing out a menu containing Aegle’s recommended dishes from various dining outlets on the island. Dishes like beef baklava, Salpicao and Costoliccio were a few of the food options listed on the menu. Arian explains, “eating

outside is one of the challenges to following a healthy and balanced diet but the right portions and proper meal planning is the best strategy.” The next four days worth of meals were planned out in various restaurants from breakfast to dinner. lunch at the Greek restaurant and the meals that followed had proven the point of achieving a sustainable, healthy diet. Mixed vegetable soup filled the belly before a matchbox serving of beef baklava was brought out, complimented by a crisp Taverna salad. “There are two ways to feel full without having to consume too much carbs. Start your meal with soups or a plateful of salad,” she suggested. Throughout the program, early dinners were set up in various parts of the island to offer a variety of flavors portioned to maintain a 1,200-calorie limit each day. on one night at Costa del Sol, tasty servings of Costoliccio (spiced spare ribs) were on offer accompanied by gelato for dessert. lIFESTYlEaSIa.PH

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Photos courtesy of Aegle Wellness Center

Arian cautioned, “If you feel like having a sweet treat, cut down on the carb for that meal. The key to maintaining a healthy diet is to always offer variety. When you get back to the real world, it’s unrealistic to think that you can survive on a rigid menu of only vegetables or zero carbs.” STATe-oF-THe-ArT DeToxIFICATIon Doctor ben and medical associate louis Valencia Jr were the attending physicians during the four-day program. They met with patients in the afternoons and checked in on them in between treatments. “you are literally glowing,” commented Dr. louis after 40 minutes inside the Hyperbaric oxygen Chamber. The treatment had been recommended each day to help carry pure oxygen to all parts of the body. It was designed to help stimulate stem cells, which consequently hastens the body’s healing process. Dr. ben explained, “The glass tube is pressurized up to 10psi so that your skin and lungs take in the pure oxygen. For the first few minutes, you will feel a slight discomfort in the ears similar to when a plane is taking off or when diving deep depths. After you reach your psi, you will lie in the chamber for 40 minutes and take in pure oxygen. This is highly recommended for athletes who suffer from injuries or stroke patients. It has even shown good effects on patients with Alzheimer’s disease.” The first session in the pressurized chamber caused slight anxiety especially for patients hesitant about the idea of being enclosed in a small space. The company of trained nurses who lifted the phone apparatus to check up on status provided comfort. Soon, those 40 minutes inside the chamber became the highlight of each day due mostly to the afterglow it brought to the face and the immediate feeling of being invigorated. Detoxifying is an essential component of the program. “When you undergo detox, it follows that you also strengthen your immune system,” said Dr. louie. Intravenous therapy solutions, also referred to in the center as “hangover heaven,” are administered to help cleanse the liver and blood of accumulated toxins. This was followed by Colon Hydrotherapy which, “makes use of the body’s natural filtering system to flush out detoxification by-products.” ConSUlTS AnD CUSToMIzeD SUppleMenTS The daily consults were also devoted to discussing results from medical tests done on the second day of the program. Complete blood Count, body Composition lIFESTYlEaSIa.PH

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Thalasso pools where a soak and smoothie was enjoyed during sunset

Analysis, Hormone Analysis, Food Sensitivity and Toxicology tests were administered by well trained nurses in the morning. based on the results, physicians discussed in detail current health condition, goals and challenges followed by recommendations for diet, exercise and supplementation customized for each patient. “We prefer to take our time when talking to our patients unlike in clinics in the city where you always feel that you are rushed. We try to be as thorough as possible so that we can give patients the best care they need,” said Dr. louie. Supplements were also introduced during the four-day period which had been customized according to test results. Two sets had been prepared, one for day and another for nighttime. each set was individually packed in zip lock bags for added convenience. There were sachets from each set good enough to last a month. “once your supply has ran out, you can also call for a refill. It’s very convenient and it was put together specifically to address your health concerns and condition,” shared Therese. reADy To FACe reAlITy The programs at Aegle Wellness Center allow for easy reintegration into the real world. Meals presented by the inhouse nutritionist showcased variety and highlighted the importance of portioning and planning. “Considering your lifestyle, unhealthy dishes can become unavoidable so I suggest that you learn to compensate.

If you have a big dinner event in your calendar, make sure to have something lighter during lunch and breakfast.” exercise regiments were also suggested to suit various lifestyles. Dr. ben explained, “The best time to exercise is always in the mornings, but I say that exercise at any time of the day is always better than none at all.” Circuit exercises led by the resort’s gym instructor, Coach Smiley, were designed to allow for patients to integrate a few minutes of high intensity workout into a tight schedule. There were also nightly meditation and yoga sessions led by the island’s resident yogi, Andie. “In the mornings, you can alot a few minutes for meditation and deep breathing so that you can ease into the day without having to surrender to the stress of work or the demands of your daily lives. If you can find time to enroll in a few yoga classes that would be even better,” she said. on the last day, a last consult had been scheduled with Dr. louie. As the reality of returning to the city crept in, he offered a comprehensive assessment of the state of health and measures by which to address them. He ended with, “The program is just the beginning of your journey to better health. When you get back, you are a work in progress. Aegle is more of a place to go to reboot, find balance and restart.” Aegle Wellness Center is located on Balesin Island Club, Quezon. For more information, visit <>

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