first heard of Kate Reardon through a friend who had recently returned from her Bali health retreat, Natural Instinct Health. This friend sent me into a state of shock when she told of the 10-day retreat where she didn’t eat, drank only juices and a green, health syrup and gave herself an enema twice a day. She also said she had never felt more alive since. Obviously I was intrigued. How did Kate, a girl from Mooloolaba, end up in Bali hosting health retreats – and quite unusual ones at that – with complete strangers? … I found out early one morning, hot coffee in hand, through Skype. “Really, it’s because a shaman told me this was my calling,” Kate says from her home in Ubud, Bali. “My husband Pat and I had been travelling around in Peru when we spent some time in the Amazon Jungle, learning about the plants and their natural healing powers. I was so intrigued and something really struck a chord with me about how these cultures learn to heal themselves through nature. “It was a big pivotal point for me because I was just travelling around being a gypsy I guess, and then this shaman said, ‘go home and study natural medicine’, so I did!” Kate enrolled at the Endeavor College of Natural Health at the Gold Coast that year, embarking on a five-year university degree in naturopathy and nutrition, culminating her studies by opening a clinic in Burleigh Heads, practicing in the Multimodality Complementary Medical Centre. “When I first started practicing as a naturopath I was like any newly graduating student, ready to go live my dreams, ready for the adventure of a lifetime,” Kate says. “I jumped head first into a clinical setting not letting fear stop me in my tracks. I had just spent five years studying my arse off at university and had such high hopes for myself, as I enthusiastically wanted to share all my newly acquired knowledge with as many people as possible.” But it wasn’t long before this free spirit wanted to be released from her desk job and go searching for a deeper meaning to health and nutrition. “I just never felt like I wasn’t doing enough. I didn’t really feel that I was in my right place, sitting behind a desk, telling people what to do. I loved it, but I knew it wasn’t where I wanted to stay,” says Kate. “I would only ever have an hour session with them, and it was never enough. They would come in, I would go through their diet, their lifestyle, what needs changing, what needs work, prescribe supplements and change things around and then they would leave. “I wanted to not just alter their diet but really educate them, get them in the kitchen and show them practical things, teach them how to look after themselves and empower them not only on a physical pathway to health and wellness but also incorporate aspects of emotional and spiritual healing into the equation as well.” Kate moved her practice into her own home, turning a room into a healing centre where she could bring clients for longer, more extended times and work june 2014
on guiding them towards a healthier mind and body. Within three months of opening, she knew this was her career calling. “Within six weeks of thinking about the idea of running a retreat I had been offered a job to manage a fasting retreat in Koh Samui, Thailand and landed on the island before I had even really processed the idea,” says Kate. “I had left behind my home, my family and friends, my newlywed husband (he followed me out three months later), my business that I had worked so hard to build up and almost all of my possessions. “Despite feeling completely out of my comfort zone, I knew I had made the right decision because I had found a reason to wake up everyday, wanting to learn more, wanting to help more and I could see the difference I was making in people.” Kate worked for a year at the retreat before making the bold move, alongside husband Pat, to start her own health retreat, taking her new-found skills in healing, along with an extensive knowledge of nutrition and the body with her. In 2011, Kate and Pat opened Natural Instinct Healing in Ubud, a 10-day detox, health, fasting, cleansing and yoga retreat for people to practice the tools to transform their lives, focusing on a holistic model of body, mind and soul awareness. “Our whole vision for the place was to create an environment where people can come and heal themselves, and not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually as well. This is why we did it in Bali, because of the spiritual energy of Bali and because it’s away from their everyday life,” says Kate. “When people come they are really out of their comfort zone, and I know that I have 10 days with them so we do yoga, we do meditation, I do healing with them, we do nutritional workshops, we do all kinds of stuff to really allow them to have that break from their old patterns and behaviours. When they go they are truly relaxed, refreshed and rebooted. It’s not just an hour session where they come and go.” Kate says many of her friends and family have attended the retreat, but also people from around the world are now hearing of Natural Instinct Health. “When people come to us they are usually in desperate need of some type of cleanse, whether it’s a physical body or trauma they have been through. When they leave they are looking really rested and relaxed, which is beautiful,” she says. “The common fact is that they all want to be better, whether that’s physically, emotional or whether they want to deepen their connection with themselves. It’s like they all change and look for something deeper. “At the end, it is just amazing, it’s just phenomenal, I mean totally transformed and I just feel so lucky and grateful that I get to do this job, because I get to meet amazing people from all over the world and I am constantly inspired by that.” Kate is truly following her heart and living her dream. And it’s only going to get better for this 31-year-old, who will soon release a book on natural healing in the hope of inspiring others to follow her path of a healthier, more holistic life.
Published on Jun 1, 2014