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SPECIAL: PLAN YOUR ESCAPE 2016

Spa

TRAVEL & RETREAT Planner 2016


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FROM THE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

Spa

TRAVEL

DO YOU FEEL BUSY?

T

hat’s a rhetorical question these days as most of us feel a sense of busyness and not really having enough time to do all the things that we need to do in life. It’s the way of modern living driven by technology and a 24/7 lifestyle. The problem is that running around trying to get things done is not conducive to health or happiness. On a physical level, the daily grind of being constantly at a level of “stress” reduces your immunity so you catch more colds, impairs your digestion so you don’t get as much from your food as you should, and means that you never quite replenish yourself so you feel like you are running on empty. On a mental and spiritual level, the act of constantly being busy in order to acquire things or maintain a certain lifestyle, while on some levels may be necessary, won’t bring you happiness. Research constantly tells us that experiences and a sense of belonging is what makes us feel happy so if you are so busy that you don’t have time to connect or engage in life, then what is the point? Maybe it’s time to reset your life and reclaim the vitality and happiness that you want. Maybe it’s time you planned your next holiday to be a spa or retreat experience that can help you achieve that reset. At a spa or retreat, you have the opportunity to get away from the demands of everyday living and give some time back to yourself. To help you choose the spa or retreat experience that is right for you, we have gathered some of the leading spas and retreats where you can truly restore, regenerate and reset, along with articles describing the best spa and retreat practices and wellness traditions from both ancient and modern times. At these destinations, you will find massage, relaxation, bathing, yoga, detox programs, nutritional instruction, health assessments, meditation, and amazing but healthy food. Most are in beautiful surroundings or have created stunning environments for you to step into, as they partner with you in creating the opportunity to step out of your busy life and into the life you want. Caring and trained staff will be available to guide you and make sure that your spa or retreat experience is what you need it to be. Go ahead, make your next holiday a meaningful one; choose a spa or retreat experience and have the rest of your life.

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Planner 2016

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Terry Robson Ph +61 2 9887 0320 MANAGING EDITOR Kerry Boyne EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Kate Duncan DESIGNER Kate Podger NATIONAL ADVERTISING MANAGER Kirsti Rae (Couper) Ph +61 2 9887 0369 QUEENSLAND ADVERTISING CONSULTANT Amy Frank Ph +61 488 424 232 SOUTH AUSTRALIAN SALES & MARKETING Sandy Shaw Ph +61 8 8342 5989 VICTORIAN ADVERTISING MANAGER Tracey Dwyer Ph +61 3 9694 6403 RESOURCE GUIDE SALES Chris Middleton Ph +61 2 9887 0629 ADVERTISING PRODUCTION CO-ORDINATOR Hannah Felton Ph +61 2 9887 0376 ADVERTISING SENIOR DESIGNER Martha Rubazewicz MARKETING CAMPAIGN EXECUTIVE Kye Blackett Ph +61 2 9887 0326 PUBLISHER Janice Williams COVER CREDIT Getty Images

CHAIRMAN/CEO Prema Perera PUBLISHER Janice Williams CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER Vicky Mahadeva ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Emma Perera ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Karen Day CIRCULATION DIRECTOR Mark Darton CREATIVE DIRECTOR Kate Podger EDITORIAL & PRODUCTION MANAGER Anastasia Casey MARKETING & ACQUISITIONS MANAGER Chelsea Peters SUBSCRIPTION ENQUIRIES 1300 303 414 CIRCULATION ENQUIRIES to our Sydney head office: +61 2 9805 0399

WellBeing Spa, Travel & Retreat Planner 2016 is published by Universal WellBeing Pty Ltd, Unit 5, 6-8 Byfield Street, North Ryde NSW 2113, Australia. Phone: +61 2 9805 0399, Fax: +61 2 9805 0714. Printed by KHL Printing Co Pte Ltd, Singapore. Distributed by Network Services, Phone: +61 2 9282 8777. Editorial advice is non-specific and readers are advised to seek professional advice for personal problems. Individual replies to readers’ letters by consulting editors are not possible. The opinions expressed by individual writers in WellBeing are not necessarily those of the publishers. This book is copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study, research, criticism or review as permitted under the Copyright Act, no part may be reproduced by any process without written permission. Enquiries should be addressed to the publishers. The publishers believe all the information supplied in this book to be correct at the time of printing. They are not, however, in a position to make a guarantee to this effect and accept no liability in the event of any information proving inaccurate. Prices, addresses and phone numbers were, after investigation and to the best of our knowledge and belief, up to date at the time of printing, but the shifting sands of time may change them in some cases. It is not possible for the publishers to ensure that advertisements which appear in this publication comply with the Trade Practices Act, 1974. The responsibility must therefore be on the person, company or advertising agency submitting the advertisements for publication. While every endeavour has been made to ensure complete accuracy, the publishers cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions. This magazine is printed on paper that comes from a mill that satisfies the requirements of ISO 14001. *Recommended retail price ISSN 0812-8220 Copyright © Universal Magazines MMXVI ACN 003 026 944 universalmagazines.com.au IMPORTANT: This magazine is intended as a reference volume only, not as a medical manual. While the information is based on material provided by researchers, the magazine does not presume to give medical advice. Be sure to consult your physician before beginning any therapeutic program. We are a member of

Terry Robson, Editor-in-Chief

& RETREAT


CONTENTS

Contents AUSTRALIA VICTORIA 6 Hepburn Bathhouse & Spa Nestled within the Hepburn Mineral Springs Reserve near picturesque Hepburn Springs and Daylesford, Hepburn Bathhouse & Spa has been welcoming visitors since 1895. 8 The Loft in the Mill Consisting of two magnificent buildings, The Loft in the Mill is located opposite Olinda Village in the tree-clad hills of the Dandenong Ranges. 10 Onsen Retreat + Spa Just outside of Hotham and surrounded by mountains and gumtrees of the high country, Onsen Retreat + Spa is perfect for bathing and restoration. 12 Peninsula Hot Spring Only 75 minutes south of Melbourne on the picturesque Mornington Peninsula, natural hot mineral waters flow from deep underground into the pools and private baths at Peninsula Hot Springs. 14 Saltair Day Spa The region’s original “destination day spa”, Saltair is situated in a coastalrural setting but only a few minutes from Torquay and an easy one-hour drive from Melbourne’s West Gate Bridge. 16 Wellbeing Health Retreat Located at the beautiful St Andrews Beach about an hour from Melbourne’s CBD, Wellbeing Health Retreat is an easily accessible way to bring back some balance to your life. 18 Wellineux Urban Retreats Set within a beautiful inner-city urban sanctuary, Wellineux Urban Retreat is your opportunity to relax, rejuvenate and reconnect with your authentic self. 20 Yarra Valley Living Centre Set on 40 acres of natural bushland and landscaped gardens, nestled among rolling hills at the foot of the Great Dividing Range, Yarra Valley Living Centre provides a range of healing and wellbeing retreat programs.

Photography: Getty Images

NEW SOUTH WALES 26 Billabong Retreat Situated on 12 acres of stunning natural bush surrounding two beautiful billabongs located in the leafy locale of Maraylya, Billabong Retreat is only a 45-minute drive from the Sydney Harbour Bridge. 28 Byron Bay Detox Retreats Set among 30 acres of native bushland fronting onto the turquoise waters of Tallows Beach, Byron Bay Detox Retreats is just south of Australia’s most easterly point, Cape Byron, on the NSW North Coast.

30 Gaia Retreat & Spa Nestled amid lush green valleys and undulating hills in the fertile hinterland of Byron Bay in northern New South Wales, the multi-award-winning Gaia Retreat & Spa is surrounded by 25 acres of stunning subtropical gardens.

24 Spa sanctuary Spas offer many ways to nurture your body, mind and soul.

QUEENSLAND

38 Tea too The healing, regenerative, contemplative powers of tea can be the perfect fit for your spa and retreat experience.

36 Living Valley Springs Situated on 145 acres of green hills, valleys and pristine countryside in the UNESCOlisted Noosa Biosphere Reserve, Living Valley Springs is only 30 minutes from Noosa, but a million miles from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

INTERNATIONAL BALI 42 Sukhavati Ayurvedic Retreat & Spa Sukhavati is a four-tiered estate located on the Penit River and surrounded by verdant tropical jungle. It is about 30 minutes inland from Seminyak and 40 minutes from Denpasar airport.

NEW ZEALAND 48 Millbrook Resort Framed by rugged mountains and set across 500 acres of beautiful Central Otago countryside, Millbrook Resort is a unique New Zealand spa destination.

THE WORLD 54 Journeys of the Spirit Journeys of the Spirit creates wellness holidays, spiritual journeys and unique travel experiences for individuals and small groups, allowing them to reconnect to their wisest and highest self.

32 Unblock and unload Cleansing and detoxification are quite different — but both useful — steps on the road to a less toxic life.

40 The return to ritual Spas and retreats offer the opportunity to embrace the healing potential of ritual in your life. 44 Foot rituals A simple foot soak can do wonders for your whole being and extraordinary experiences can be created for your feet and for you. 46 About face Your face is your window to the world and a nourishing facial can help keep that window clean and clear. 50 Hot stone therapy Hot stone therapy is now a revered treatment in spas around the world and works deeply on many levels to help you return to your true self. 52 Soak it up There’s more to bathing than being solo and silent. Bathing is an art form that can be social and an integral part of your healing experience.

ARTICLES

56 Retreat reads Your retreat experience will include lots of opportunity to indulge in some books that will nourish your mind and soul.

22 Nothing beats a retreat A visit to a retreat offers you a chance to stop, heal and take home information that will keep you healthy in the long-term.

58 Be prepared You will get far more out of your spa or retreat experience if you are properly prepared and have the right gear with you.


HEPBURN BATHHOUSE & SPA The historic Hepburn Bathhouse & Spa has been welcoming visitors since 1895 to bathe in the region’s mineral waters. Nestled within the Hepburn Mineral Springs Reserve near picturesque Hepburn Springs and Daylesford, the Bathhouse & Spa draws mineral waters directly from the source to offer a unique experience. WHY BATHE IN MINERAL WATER? Called balneotherapy, bathing in mineral water has been practised for centuries in spas throughout the world to treat all sorts of ailments. Increasingly used for workrelated conditions such as back problems, balneotherapy is also proven very effective for rehabilitation after accidents as part of the whole treatment process and for things such as gout, arthritis and stress-related illnesses. It’s a great way to relax the body and mind before going into a treatment. The heated mineral water relaxes your muscles and allows your pores to open so you can absorb the variety of minerals the water has to offer though the skin directly into the blood stream. The beneficial minerals include silica, which

is great for the skin, hair and bone formation; magnesium, good for muscles and essential for kidney function; and potassium, for allround mental health.

FACILITIES The Retreat comprises 10 glamorous fivestar villas. Contemporary and elegant, they are designed for complete indulgence and comfort and all have magnificent, serene views over native bushland. Each villa is flanked by a balcony and filled with natural light. Car parking is provided and there are four single-storey villas and three two-storey buildings with a villa on each floor.

THE EXPERIENCE Traditional communal bathing in warmed

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mineral water pools is available in the Bathhouse and the Sanctuary, with a range of hydrotherapies including spa and relaxation pools, spa couches, an aroma steam room and salt-therapy pool. Private bathing is the ultimate in luxury. Bathing in unfiltered, pure mineral water direct from the historic springs, with your choice of naturopathic additives to enhance the wellness experience, is available for individuals or couples. The Hepburn Bathhouse & Spa also offers a magnificent day spa dedicated to your wellbeing where you can experience relaxing and reviving treatments including wellness mineral massages, body wraps, body exfoliation and therapies, facial therapies, hand and foot therapies as well as spa rituals.


Hepburn Bathhouse & Spa | VICTORIA

FOOD Built in 1908, this Edwardian heritagelisted building has long been a meeting place in Hepburn Springs. It features magnificent stained-glass windows, a beautiful tiled floor and vaulted ceiling, which combine to create a unique and welcoming environment for those visiting the Mineral Springs Reserve. After taking in the waters at the Hepburn Bathhouse & Spa, go for a leisurely walk through the park and fill your water bottle from the natural springs. Complete the wellness journey at the Pavilion Cafe where a selection of green smoothies, warm or iced Hepburn tea and antioxidant-rich beverages are on offer. Another option is to indulge in Hepburn Bathhouse & Spa’s famous Devonshire tea with freshly baked scones, house-made berry jam and double cream. Gluten-free options are also available.

YOUR STAY Hepburn Bathhouse & Spa is dedicated to relaxation and tranquillity, and is a mobile phone and smoke-free environment. Appropriate swimwear is required in the Bathhouse. Towels are available for hire from the lower-deck reception if necessary. Children under the age of 16 years must be supervised by a responsible adult at all times. Appropriate swimwear is also required the Sanctuary (includes Bathhouse use), and a robe, towel and locker will be provided for your use. A minimum age of 16 years is required for entry to the Sanctuary and the Spa treatment area. Bookings for the Bathhouse are not necessary, however bookings for the Sanctuary are recommended.

GETTING THERE Hepburn Springs is approximately a 90-minute drive from Melbourne CBD, located in the heart of Australia’s spa country, 4km north of Daylesford. The best mode of transport is via car; however, public transport is possible by catching a train from Southern Cross to Woodend, then a bus from Woodend to Daylesford, followed by a taxi from the town centre to Hepburn Springs.

CONNECT WITH HEPBURN BATHHOUSE & SPA W: hepburnbathhouse.com P: 03 5321 6000 E: info@hepburnbathhouse.com A: Mineral Springs Reserve Road, Hepburn Springs Vic 3461


VICTORIA | The Loft in the Mill

THE LOFT IN THE MILL The Loft in the Mill is located opposite Olinda Village in the tree-clad hills of the Dandenong Ranges, just one hour from Melbourne’s CBD and one-and-a-half hours from Melbourne Tullamarine Airport. The Dandenong Ranges are a series of low-altitude ridges and gullies of great natural and man-made beauty. The luxurious volcanic soil and high rainfall of the region make it the perfect home for flower nurseries, fruit orchards and an abundance of exceptionally beautiful gardens. The area is also a haven of hidden delights for nature lovers, outdoor adventurers, art enthusiasts, foodies and those seeking some rest and rejuvenation. THE EXPERIENCE The Loft in the Mill consists of two magnificent buildings: The Mill and The Carriage House. The Mill The Mill is a replica of a 19th-century English flour mill and contains three luxurious floors of varying sizes and shapes with unique decor in each space. The spaces include The Loft Suite, The Hathaway Suite, The King Arthur Suite, The Duchess’ Quarters, The Herb Garden Suite and The Victorian. There are six private entrances and features include ensuite bathrooms, double spas, log fires and private courtyards. The Carriage House The Carriage House is a three-bedroom, two-storey bluestone building situated at the rear of The Loft in the Mill property. It is modelled on a 19th-century stage coach stop and has a 30-square space, three generous-

size bedrooms, log fire and gas heating, full kitchen and dining facilities, a dining table to seat 10, lounge and double spa. The Carriage House is a great option for family reunions, several couples getting away together, or even small conferences of up to 12 people as it has two private entrance suites attached: The Governors Retreat and The Tudor.

in the comfort of your own room, choosing from a range of styles including a luxurious relaxation massage, remedial, aromatherapy, pregnancy or couple’s massage. A selection of activities such as wine tours, hot-air ballooning and tours of the Dandenong Ranges can also be arranged using carefully selected operators.

The Hideaway There is a beautifully crafted tranquil garden in the rear of the property surrounded by sculptured gardens beds, handcrafted stone walls and a backdrop of seasonal colours and forest greens. Here, you can relax and enjoy the sound of beautiful birdsong and the fresh, crisp, clean mountain air while you lounge on signature rattan outdoor furniture.

PAMPER AT THE LOFT IN THE MILL

SERVICES The Loft in the Mill provides massage services by highly qualified therapists. You can relax and enjoy your massage

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Pamper Package 1 Midweek Monday–Thursday — $780 Friday–Saturday — $920 Two-nights’ accommodation in The Loft, The Hathaway, The King Arthur or The Governors Retreat A 60-minute couple’s massage at Nourish Day Spa & Wellbeing Centre A perfumed True Grace candle in your suite on arrival A chilled bottle of bubbly on arrival A midday check out


The Loft in the Mill | VICTORIA

Pamper Package 2 Midweek Monday–Thursday — $650 Friday–Saturday — $730 Two-nights’ accommodation in The Herb Garden or The Duchess’ Quarters A 60-minute couple’s massage at Nourish Day Spa & Wellbeing Centre A perfumed True Grace candle in your suite A chilled bottle of bubbly on arrival A midday check out Terms and conditions Mention WellBeing magazine when booking to redeem this offer. Valid from 01/05/16–01/05/17

FOOD Complimentary light breakfast provisions are available in your room upon arrival, including bread, jam, cereal, juice, milk and a selection of tea and coffee. Cooked breakfast vouchers can be purchased from reception. For dinner and lunch, there are 16 restaurants within a 2km radius of the property, which have combined with The Loft in the Mill to provide specials for you to enjoy during your stay. All restaurant bookings must be made through the reception desk in order to receive the specials available.

GETTING THERE Melbourne to the Dandenong Ranges From Melbourne, travel along the Eastern Freeway, continue onto the EastLink tollway, exit at the Burwood Highway, follow the road to Upper Ferntree Gully, or exit at Canterbury Road, Ringwood, and follow the road to Montrose. At Montrose, turn right at the roundabout and follow the Mount Dandenong Tourist Road to Olinda. Travel by metro train to Lilydale or Belgrave. A daily bus service runs between towns and villages. Melbourne Airport to the Dandenong Ranges From Melbourne Airport, take route 43, exit onto the Eastern Freeway and proceed as above.

THINGS TO REMEMBER Preferred check-in time is 2pm and check out is 11am. Reception is open daily from 10am–6pm and 7pm on Friday. On occasions when you are checking in late, individual arrangements can be made to suit your travel plans.

CONNECT WITH THE LOFT IN THE MILL W: loftinthemill.com.au P: 03 9751 1700 A: 1602 Mount Dandenong Tourist Road, Olinda Vic 3788

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VICTORIA | The Loft in the Mill

ONSEN RETREAT + SPA The raw beauty and serenity of the alpine region naturally inspires you to shake off the city stress and leave inhibitions behind. Crisp, fresh air, endless views, icicles in windows, spectacular sunsets and crackling fireplaces create utter tranquillity, and the majesty of Hotham’s mountains powdered with snow echo a Zen-like silence.

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ll this combined makes the alpine region of Mount Hotham the perfect location for the Onsen Retreat + Spa, offering many therapeutic benefits after a long day spent skiing and snowboarding. Just outside of Hotham, surrounded by mountains and gumtrees of the high country, Dinner Plain village is home to the Onsen Retreat + Spa. Featuring a Japanese-inspired 40-degree outdoor onsen, it is perfect for bathing and restoration after a rigorous day spent in the snow. The spa also offers beauty and body treatments, massages, an indoor pool, gym and group fitness classes for a total wellbeing experience.

FACILITIES AND TREATMENTS The retreat has five treatment rooms and a couples Mizu room for delivering luxurious massages, skincare and body treatments. However, the main feature of the retreat is the 40-degree outdoor onsen, which can help restore the body back to optimal condition by stimulating circulation and easing muscle tension, all while snowflakes gently fall around you, mesmerising the senses. There’s also an indoor heated pool, a fully equipped gym and fitness classes, with memberships available for frequent users. A range of treatments are available during your time at Onsen Retreat + Spa including body exfoliations and wraps,

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hand and foot treatments, plus a variety of massage styles including Moroccan remedy massage, aroma stone massage, muscle-zone focus massage and remedial therapy massage. Additionally, there’s the Onsen signature massage, a technique combining the best of a range of massage methods: Swedish, aromatherapy, relaxation, breathing techniques and passive stretching. Your therapist works to optimise the various systems of your body with this exclusive signature massage to restore balance and harmony. Customised signature aromatic oil blends are used to enhance your experience and your therapist will help you personally co-create the ideal essence for you.


Onsen Retreat + Spa | VICTORIA

WHY BATHE IN THE ONSEN? The Japanese have been bathing in hot waters for centuries as part of their health regime. Bathing is said to ease conditions such as back problems and is proven to be beneficial for rehabilitation, arthritis and stress-related illnesses. A soak in the onsen is a great way to relax the body and mind before going into a treatment.

MOUNT HOTHAM AND DINNER PLAIN Mount Hotham is a beautiful mountain and ski resort located in the Australian Alpine National Park, only four-and-a-half hours’ drive from Melbourne and eight hours from Sydney. The winter months boast excellent skiing and snowboarding terrain as well as great food, après-ski and a nightlife scene. Staying at Mount Hotham, you can enjoy everything the resort has to offer with onand-off mountain accommodation or at Dinner Plain, the ambient and quaint alpine village only 10km from the resort. The accommodation includes self-contained apartments, chalets, lodges and motel-style rooms that are suitable for singles, couples, groups or families.

GETTING THERE The Onsen Retreat + Spa is located in Dinner Plain on Big Muster Drive. There is street parking available or you can catch the Dinner Plain to Hotham bus that runs in the winter season from Hotham Central.

THINGS TO REMEMBER Please check in at reception at least 20 minutes before your scheduled appointment, ensuring adequate time for you to prepare for your treatment. Please understand that if you arrive late, your treatment time may be reduced accordingly. Some guests choose to undress completely for body treatments, while others prefer to wear underwear. Our advice is to choose what makes you feel most comfortable. During body treatments, we drape your body with warm towels, only exposing the specific area undergoing treatment. Please wear swimwear when using our communal bathing facilities.

CONNECT WITH ONSEN RETREAT + SPA W: hothamholidays.com.au/onsen-spa P: 03 5150 8880 E: info@onsen.com.au A: Big Muster Drive, Dinner Plain Vic 3898


VICTORIA | The Loft in the Mill

PENINSULA HOT SPRINGS Situated a mere 75-minute drive south of Melbourne on the picturesque Mornington Peninsula, natural hot mineral waters flow from deep underground into the pools and private baths at Peninsula Hot Springs. Hot mineral waters flow from an aquifer 637 metres below the surface and the 50-degree-Celsius water rises under its own pressure to within 10 metres below the surface, and is then pumped into the pools.

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t the magnificent Bath House and Spa Dreaming Centre, you can relax and heal as you bathe, enjoy the spa, partake in treatments, or dine at the cafe. Whichever activity you choose, Peninsula Hot Springs is a social bathing oasis designed to enhance your health and wellbeing.

THE EXPERIENCE As you enter the bathing area at Peninsula Hot Springs, you’re transformed to another world, one where your mind and body are calmed by steam, soothing aromas and the sound of trickling waters. Together with local accommodation providers, Peninsula Hot Springs offers packages for spa lovers who want to extend their luxurious getaway. You can choose a package to suit your needs, ranging from the most indulgent to simple stay-and-bathe packages. Whether you are looking for a

beachside retreat, bed and breakfast, luxury hotel or serviced apartment, there is an accommodation option to suit your needs. Contact Peninsula Hot Springs or check out the website to find a package that suits you.

INDULGE AND HEAL With the option to tailor your experience at Peninsula Hot Springs, you will enjoy a wide range of personalised treatments and dining packages. Services available to help you heal and regenerate include full-body massages, facials, mud treatments, foot and hand treatments, and ancient healing stone therapy. At the Bath House, you can indulge in more than 20 globally inspired bathing experiences, including thermal mineral spring pools, a hammam (Turkish steam bath), cave pool, underground sauna, reflexology walk, family bathing area, and the Hilltop pool with 360-degree views.

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During your visit, you can also take part in complimentary wellness classes including yoga, warm-water exercise, meditation and Qi Gong (held once a week and available seasonally) Alternatively in the Spa Dreaming Centre, you can choose from tranquil thermal mineral pools, private indoor and outdoor bathing options, an infrared sauna steam room, and Zen chi treatments. There is also a wide selection of spa treatments available, which utilise therapies that incorporate Aboriginal massage and healing techniques. Additionally, you can take time out before or after your experience in the relaxation room. The Spa Dreaming Centre is a serene environment that is reserved for guests 16 years and older. Several massage styles are available, which serve to relax, invigorate or re-energise your total being. You might also like to try one of the following specialty massages:


Peninsula Hot Springs | VICTORIA

Yinga massage — this unique signature massage is designed to reconnect you to your surroundings and encourage a sense of wellbeing. A combination of relaxation techniques, pressure points and stretching promotes relaxation and balance. Kodo massage — tone and realign your energy flow with this rhythmic full-body massage, inspired by traditional Aboriginal techniques. A focus on spiralling movements and pressure points provides a total sense of balance and wellbeing. Choose a native oil to rejuvenate, reharmonise or detoxify. Peninsula vine massage — a warm grape balm, made using the skins and seeds of grapes and sourced locally from the Mornington Peninsula, is applied. The balm is enriched with antioxidants and rejuvenates the skin. This treatment starts with heat being applied onto the back to boost circulation and the grape balm is then massaged onto the skin using relaxation techniques. The overall effect is to help ground and relax busy minds and promote a complete sense of calm.

FOOD Enhance your visit to Peninsula Hot Springs with a light, healthy and delicious meal in the Spa Dreaming Centre café , reserved for guests 16 years and older. Breakfast and lunch packages are available daily and dine and bathe packages are available on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings. Alternatively, the Bath House café offers a selection of light meals, freshly ground coffee, cold drinks and snacks from morning until early evening every day, with pizza and bathe packages available daily.

GETTING THERE The Bath House and Spa Dreaming Centre are both open seven days a week. There is ample parking available but if you would prefer to not drive, there are tour companies that offer packages including transport and a visit to Peninsula Hot Springs.

THINGS TO REMEMBER Swimsuits are required in both bathing areas but keep in mind that the mineral-rich water may discolour swimwear. Appropriate footwear is recommended to prevent any slips around wet areas.

CONNECT WITH PENINSULA HOT SPRINGS W: peninsulahotsprings.com P: 03 5950 8777 E: info@peninsulahotsprings.com A: Springs Lane, Fingal Vic 3939


VICTORIA | The Loft in the Mill

SALTAIR DAY SPA Saltair Day Spa is located a few minutes from the beachfront town of Torquay, 22 kilometres south of Geelong at the beginning of the Great Ocean Road. Although you are just moments from Torquay’s famous surf shops, you wouldn’t know it as you sit in the main relaxation lounge of Saltair, taking in the stunning views of Spring Creek Valley and blue ocean waters. Saltair is the region’s original destination day spa, situated in a coastal-rural setting but only a few minutes from Torquay, 15 minutes from Geelong and an easy one-hour drive from Melbourne’s West Gate Bridge. THE EXPERIENCE Once you arrive at Saltair and make your way up the 300-metre driveway, taking in the outstanding vistas towards the Great Otway National Park, you soon realise this isn’t going to be an average day-spa experience. On your way towards the entrance, you pass four stunning water features, before being welcomed by exceptional therapists as you enter the main relaxation lounge that features a huge Romanian crystal chandelier, floor-toceiling mosaic tiles, floral arrangements, glass walls and soft music. Here, guests feel cosseted and embraced by luxury. The Saltair experience incorporates true relaxation, specialised care and being indulged with the best natural products. There are two relaxation lounges, three

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dual rooms, four single treatment rooms, a hydrotherapy spa room, a spray tan room and change-room facilities. Throughout, Saltair Day Spa retains a boutique feel with Indigenous-themed wall hangings and centrepieces.

INDULGE AND HEAL Saltair’s Signature massage is widely renowned and has placed the day spa at the top of TripAdvisor’s Spa & Wellness Australia category. Oil blends developed by Saltair are used and are named after ideals and beliefs of what a day spa should represent: “Inspire”, “Freedom” and “Signature”. These emphasise that Saltair is more than a place of business; rather, it’s an oasis of tranquillity that will transform and bring positive change.


Saltair Day Spa | VICTORIA

The main spa product range is LI’TYA, derived from naturally sustainable and sourced Australian ingredients and used throughout Saltair’s menu. LI’TYA’s Kodo massage is an Indigenous-inspired rhythmic massage widely enjoyed by guests. Saltair is one of the oldest LI’TYA day spas in the country and has received multiple LI’TYA Spirit of Spa awards. Products from Australian spa company Heritage Healers are also offered in facial treatments, combining medical-grade oxygen gas with personalised Australian wild flower essences (derived from Western Australia). Globally renowned and multi-awarded skincare company Nimue is used for all derma-cosmeceutical facial treatments, incorporating collagen needling as well as advanced peels. Nimue is known for its combination of natural acids that are results-driven. For hair removal, Alexandria Professionals sugaring is used, the next generation in the removal of body hair. It uses no chemicals or heat and has a philosophy of healing the skin during the hair removal process.

FOOD Outdoor gourmet catering for small and large groups is available and can be incorporated into group packages under Group Bookings on the website. Any additional costs will be clearly outlined by staff at the time of booking and confirmed prior to the appointment.

GETTING THERE Travel from Melbourne to Saltair Day Spa is as simple as driving straight along the Princes Freeway (including Geelong Ring Road), verging onto Anglesea Road, turning left onto Grossmans Road, right onto Ashmore Road and then you’re there! It’s an easy one-hour drive. Transport is your own vehicle or by arrangement with the spa’s transport partners. You can find more information on the website.

THINGS TO REMEMBER General spa etiquette applies, including turning off mobile phones, no loud noise and, sorry, no children within the dayspa complex. Disposable underwear is provided where appropriate and bathing attire is optional in the private single-use hydrotherapy spa.

CONNECT WITH SALTAIR DAY SPA W: saltairspa.com.au P: 03 5261 9977 A: 50 Ashmore Road, Torquay Vic 3228

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VICTORIA | The Loft in the Mill

WELLBEING HEALTH RETREAT Located at beautiful St Andrews Beach, about an hour from Melbourne City, Wellbeing Health Retreat is an easily accessible way to bring back some balance to your life. The retreat is just a 10-minute drive from the facilities of Peninsula Hot Springs and an easy five-minute stroll to delightful St Andrews ocean beach. In these serene and peaceful surroundings, you will find yourself ideally situated for the life-changing retreat you have been seeking. THE EXPERIENCE There is plenty of space to spread out in comfort, offering ample opportunities to relax, reflect and rejuvenate in a gentle way. The venue is a beautiful two-storey building overlooking the ocean. It has five bedrooms to cater for couples, twin share or single clients. It has ocean-view areas for workshops, meditation and light stretches. It also has two kitchens, four bathrooms, two spa baths and large gardens for quiet reflection, mentoring and enjoying the fresh ocean breeze. The St Andrews Beach retreat is just one of the locations Wellbeing Health Retreats offer.

WELLBEING RETREAT There are three-, four- or seven-day retreat packages available, which include all vegetarian meals, accommodation, Peninsula Hot Springs bathing pass, workshops, meditation, stretches,

beach reflective walks, massage and mentoring sessions. Overall, you can enjoy a unique and powerful combination of healthy eating, light detoxification, natural hot springs, gentle stretches, mindfulness training, healing sessions and fun activities to help create a sense of balance in your life. Assessments using a heart-coherence device are also provided, pre- and postretreats, as feedback for you to evaluate the benefits of your experience. Massage The package includes a therapeutic and gentle massage and every client is invited to have one; it is a great way to unwind and relax the body and mind. Workshops Retreat workshops cover all aspects of health — physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. The workshops are designed to provide awareness and offer simple

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tools and techniques for total wellbeing. The theme is to promote mindfulness, self-awareness and to empower clients to create healthy, life-serving habits. The workshops are interactive and clients will pair up for optional share experiences. Surveys conducted by Wellbeing Health Retreats consistently show that for the average person, a retreat of just two nights leads to significant improvements in wellbeing. Meditation sessions Both owners Sharada and Tony are extremely knowledgeable about various meditation practices. They have chosen some simple, effective mindfulness- and HeartMath-based techniques appropriate to each specific retreat. These include body scans, silent mindfulness exercises, silent reflective beach walks and conscious contemplation. Heart coherence meditation is also used to rebalance energy centres.


Wellbeing Health Retreat | VICTORIA

Mentoring The retreat includes one-on-one mentoring/ healing sessions for guests (by appointment only) with either Sharada or Tony to discuss specific health aspects or needs. Virtues exercises Virtues exercises are included in the retreat, with the specific intention to recognise and build character strengths such as unity, confidence, integrity, trustworthiness, cooperation and many others. This is a great way for guests to discover their true selves, their inner strength, raise their sense of self-worth, find a sense of purpose and make a positive difference for themselves, their families, others and the planet. Breathe easy Breathe-easy training is offered to assist you in calming your mind and thus allowing the elimination of stress and initiating a relaxation response. It is the ability to relax that is vital to self-healing. The retreat stocks a wide variety of health and wellbeing devices such as VieLight, Earthing sheets, Virtues cards and more. Guests are welcome to sample and purchase these items. In addition to the offerings at the Wellbeing Health Retreat, guests can opt to arrange and pay for extra services at Peninsula Hot Springs.

ON THE MENU Meals are vegetarian and are light, healthy and delicious.

GETTING THERE From Melbourne, head via the Mornington Peninsula Freeway towards Portsea. It is about a 60-minute drive to the St Andrews Beach venue.

THINGS TO REMEMBER Let your healthy mind and a healthy body be the gift that you bestow upon yourself. Have fun, enhance your wellbeing, learn new skills, relax and recharge.

CONNECT WITH WELLBEING HEALTH RETREAT W: wellbeinghealthretreat.com P: Sharada Rumi 0412 190 909 Tony Neale 0407 064 844 E: wellbeingpathways@gmail.com A: Bass Meadows Boulevard, St Andrews Beach Vic 3941

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VICTORIA | The Loft in the Mill

WELLINEUX URBAN RETREAT Set within a beautiful, easily accessible, inner-city sanctuary, the Wellineux Urban Retreat is your opportunity to relax, rejuvenate and reconnect with your authentic self. Enjoy a day of self-discovery and a precious moment to invest in you.

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ocated at Tally Health, Melbourne’s first full-service premier health and wellness hub, Wellineux makes use of the location’s dream pod floatation tanks, massage rooms, yoga studio, paleoinspired wholefoods cafe and the impressive warehouse-style gym.

SERVICES The philosophy behind Wellineux is that wellness is the sum of intentional activity in eight integrated areas: discovery, nutrition, movement, rest, mind, connection, resources and growth. Underpinning any joyous, rewarding, contented life is a foundation of wellness, yet no two people will experience “wellness” in the same way. This is why Wellineux doesn’t offer generic advice but instead believes in inspiring and empowering individuals to find their own unique way. Wellineux encourages you to look deep into your soul and listen to your spirit in order to discover the changes needed to live your best life, while also providing you with the tips and tools to get you there. Wellineux offers a range of retreats including individual and corporate packages, as well as wellness workshops and coaching, all designed to support your wellbeing, both professionally and personally.

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THE PERSONAL RETREAT EXPERIENCE The Wellineux team have carefully crafted their one-day Urban Retreat to encompass a range of activities that will balance your body, mind and spirit, including: A 75-minute yoga class to commence the day A floatation experience in a dream pod A massage treatment Meditation coaching Creative activities that are designed to encourage self-discovery (such as a terrarium-making workshop) An introduction to functional movement in a state-of-the-art gym Opportunities for further coaching and personal development Nourishing, wholefood meals A beautiful take-home gift box, to further support you on your wellness journey You are also able to customise your own retreat experience, to suit your unique


Wellineux | VICTORIA interests and location. If you have a group of 10–12 and would like Wellineux to tailor a package, the team are more than happy to discuss options with you — a great idea for hen’s parties, mothers and daughters and even birthday parties.

THE CORPORATE RETREAT EXPERIENCE Wellineux also offers corporate retreat packages, as an opportunity to invest in the health, wellbeing and mindset of your team. Equip your employees with the skills to tune in to their most authentic and inspired selves. This is your opportunity to encourage team building and close connections and to watch your workplace productivity thrive as a result. You can tailor a corporate retreat to suit the needs of your organisation, by choosing specific themes that you would like woven through the day. Depending on what you need to focus on in the workplace, such themes can include (but are not limited to): Relationship building Team cohesiveness Fostering creativity Thinking innovatively Courageous conversations Creating space Slowing down the busyness Self-discovery Wellineux also offers a series of workplace wellness workshops and off-site mindful leadership coaching. Speak to the team about curating a workplace wellness experience to suit you.

FOOD Paleo-inspired, wholefood meals, smoothies, snacks and drinks are provided throughout the retreat experience. All foods are designed to nourish and energise and are refined-sugar-free, gluten-free and foodintolerance friendly.

GETTING THERE Wellineux, housed within Tally Health, is best accessed by car and offers ample parking on-site. As it is within close proximity to Melbourne city centre, transportation via Uber or taxi is reasonably affordable. Public transport requires a 5–10-minute walk.

THINGS TO REMEMBER To ensure they are adequately catered for, guests are advised to mention any food preferences prior to attendance, as well as to advise the Wellineux team of any limitations they may have regarding yoga movements.

CONNECT WITH WELLINEUX W: wellineux.com P: 0400 927 031 E: amanda@wellineux.com A: 51 Brady Street, South Melbourne Vic 3205

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VICTORIA | The Loft in the Mill

YARRA VALLEY LIVING CENTRE Set on 40 acres of natural bushland and landscaped gardens, nestled among rolling hills at the foot of the Great Dividing Range, Yarra Valley Living Centre provides a picturesque backdrop and a tranquil environment for a diverse range of healing and wellbeing retreat programs. The rustic natural bushland setting and beautiful ornamental gardens provide a wide variety of spaces to enjoy nature, and the biodynamic and organic vegetable gardens offer ample seasonal fare prepared in the retreat kitchen.

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ake a leisurely stroll along walking trails, explore the labyrinth down by the Little Yarra River, take in the mountain views from the gazebo at the highest point of the property or find a bench in your favourite part of the gardens to rest, and just be — there is so much to discover and enjoy on this stunning property.

FACILITIES The centre offers double, twin or dormitorystyle accommodation. Double and twin rooms include a private ensuite and dormitories have two attached bathrooms. Shared areas of the centre include a large communal dining room, conferencing room, lounge/break-out area and two purposebuilt meditation sanctuaries. In addition, the centre operates therapeutic rooms that offer body therapies and counselling services (subject to

availability), as well as a resource centre, stocking a large variety of books, CDs, DVDs, meditation stools and juicers.

SERVICES Whether you’re faced with a cancer diagnosis, living with multiple sclerosis, or simply want to reach a greater level of wellbeing, the Yarra Valley Living Centre offers quality education, guidance and support throughout its retreat programs. The centre promotes a whole-person (holistic) and integrative approach to health, healing and wellbeing and for more than 30 years has been helping people improve their recovery outcomes from serious ailments such as cancer and multiple sclerosis as well as find a better quality of life through education and the implementation of The Gawler Cancer Foundation’s Seven Essential Elements.

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Regular meditation, good nutrition, power of the mind, emotional healing, quest for meaning, moderate exercise and effective support are all research-based practices widely recognised for their health benefits, and form the backbone of the centre’s educational retreat programs. During your retreat stay, you will receive expert education and tailored support in the practical implementation of these practices, designed to encourage your body’s own innate healing potential and help you connect to your natural state of wellbeing.

FOOD You will be nourished with delicious, organic plant-based wholefoods carefully prepared according to the Gawler method by the retreat kitchen. The majority of the produce used is seasonal and grown in the Yarra Valley


Yarra Valley Living Centre | VICTORIA

Living Centre’s expansive organic vegetable and herb gardens and fruit orchards. Additionally, a bottomless herbal tea and dandelion coffee station is set up in the dining room and can be accessed all day and night. The kitchen caters to all allergies, so please advise at the time of booking if you have any special dietary requirements.

GETTING THERE The centre is located in Yarra Junction, Victoria, approximately 70 kilometres and 90 minutes by car from Melbourne CBD. Travel directions can be provided at time of booking. Transfers from Melbourne Airport or Melbourne CBD can also be arranged at time of booking.

THINGS TO REMEMBER As caffeinated coffee or tea is not provided, it is recommended that you minimise or eliminate your intake of these drinks a few weeks before the program so that you can avoid withdrawal symptoms and gain the most out of your time there. The Yarra Valley Living Centre offers a great range of herbal teas, dandelion coffee and juices to complement the delicious menu. Both participants and staff value the delightfully clean and fresh country air and the smoke-free environment of the centre. In recognition of this and in accordance with the principles of the centre, smoking is not permitted anywhere on the 40-acre property.

FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE FOR CANCER RETREAT PROGRAMS The centre understands that high medical expenses and/or the inability to work can result in financial hardship for people living with cancer. For this reason, it has a Foundation Bursary fund from which Yarra Valley Living Centre can allocate funds towards the cost of your attendance. The amount offered is dependent on individual financial circumstances and is determined upon application.

CONNECT WITH YARRA VALLEY LIVING CENTRE Visitor’s tours can be arranged (by prior appointment) between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday. Please call to arrange a time to take a look around. W: gawler.org P: 03 5967 1730 or 1300 651 211 E: info@gawler.org A: 55 Rayner Court, Yarra Junction Vic 3797


SPA SANCTUARY Spas offer many ways to nurture your body, mind and soul. Words / Lee Mylne

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he warm oil hits my brow in a gentle stream, then switches to a rhythmic dripping. The only sound is a ticking clock that adds to the hypnotic effect. Ayurveda, Indian natural healing, seems an ideal way to restore my energy and I’m keen to try what I’ve been told is the most relaxing of the therapies, shirodhara, the continuous pouring of oil over the head and scalp. After the massage, wrapped in a towel, I turn my face up to the oil and find myself lulled into a serene state as the rhythm takes over and tension evaporates. The oil is aimed at the “third eye” and is intended, I’m told, to clear the head, unwind the nervous system and induce profound relaxation. It works well and I’m soon ready to face the world again … slowly.

THE SPA EXPERIENCE Taking respite from the pressures of the everyday is becoming an essential part of a holiday. No matter where you go, you are within easy reach of a sanctuary of quiet, where experienced hands can provide a healing touch. Whether in India or any other part of the world, seeking a spa experience is a wonderful way to explore the kinds of healing treatments — for mind, body and

soul — that ancient cultures have practised and evolved. While Thai and Swedish massage techniques may have led the way in modern spa culture, other cultures have learned that sharing their knowledge of healing — for this is often much more than mere pampering — is valued by their visitors. Spa and wellness centres around the world are combining traditional healing philosophies and native ingredients with Western science and luxurious settings. Depending on where you are in the world, these could be organic herbs, essential oils, honey, seaweed or myriad other traditional and locally sourced ingredients. Different cultures have their own special methods of healing, drawing on their environment and culture to help you surrender your senses, heal your soul and pamper your body.

CULTURAL HEALING In Australia, spa treatments are increasingly drawing on Aboriginal healing methods and massage techniques, and using traditional Indigenous ingredients — plants, mud and minerals from the sea — in spa products, often designed in consultation with the people of the area you are visiting.

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Polynesian cultures also have a tradition of massage and healing. New Zealand has long extolled the virtues of “taking to the waters”, and has a history of health spas based around its fantastic geothermal pools, which have soothed, healed and pampered New Zealanders and visitors for generations. Throughout the country, hot pools range from small, spa-type mineral pools to large, thermally heated swimming pool complexes. Relaxation and rejuvenation can be found in steaming, bubbling natural mineral springs or in pools of thick, warm, therapeutic mud. New Zealand also has an abundance of retreats offering yoga, meditation and cleansing rituals, usually in majestic natural settings, to help with the process of destressing, detoxing and refocusing the energies of the body. In Hawaii, where traditional healers believe that the success of a treatment depends largely on an individual’s spirituality, one of the most popular treatments is the lomi lomi massage — an ancient Hawaiian healing technique using long, rhythmic strokes to restore balance and harmony. The ultimate is the lomi lomi pohaku (stone) massage.


why spa? | ARTICLE

MODERN SPA Across all continents and islands, whatever your choice of destination, a spa treatment seems to be almost an integral part of a holiday package. It’s all about cleansing and rejuvenating and being ready to face the world again. Hotels and resorts, particularly at the top end of the market, frequently design signature treatments and introduce sessions that can be shared by mothers and daughters, couples and friends. These days, a spa experience is not only for women, with men lining up just as eagerly. Most offer a range of massages, facials, hydrotherapies and other pampering services and you’re left with the difficult decision of which to choose. Special programs and packages to promote health and wellbeing include stress management, yoga, tai chi, meditation, healthy eating and developing a positive mental approach to life. Perhaps you will shut out the world for a while — literally — in a flotation tank, resting on a sea of salt-saturated water warmed to body temperature. In some day spas, you’ll be lured in by lush white towelling robes, slippers, amazingly aromatic oils, dim lights and soft music. In others, the experience may be less about the luxury and pampering and more about releasing the demands of work and life for a few precious hours. Whatever your aim, there are myriad choices available for the spa seeker. So enjoy the cocoon while you can.

Whether in India or any other part of the world, seeking a spa experience is a great way to explore the kinds of healing treatments — for mind, body and soul — that ancient cultures have practised and evolved.

Photography: Getty Images

Lee Mylne is a freelance writer specialising in travel and tourism. Her most recent book is A Glass Half Full and Other Travel Stories (Vivid Publishing). W: aglasshalf-full.com

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NOTHING BEATS A RETREAT A visit to a retreat offers you a chance to stop, heal and take home information that will keep you healthy in the long-term. Words / Lee Mylne

PERSONAL PRIORITIES

It’s easy, with the many demands of a busy lifestyle, to lose sight of personal priorities and needs. Retreats help you take a more holistic approach to wellness and wellbeing, including diet, activity, rest and relaxation. You can choose retreats from a plethora of places that are springing up catering to a hunger for pampering, detoxification and increased fitness.

escape to a month or more, depending on your needs. Retreats are dedicated to caring for guests’ health and wellbeing, helping them leave daily stress behind and promoting good health. Some offer intensive cleanse or detox programs, while others just allow the chance to regroup, revitalise and re-energise; a place to slow down, enjoy healthy food, fresh air and lots of rest and relaxation.

A TAKE-HOME MESSAGE

THE RETREAT EXPERIENCE

Most retreats — whether in an Australian bushland setting or perhaps in more exotic climes such as an Asian temple — follow a similar pattern, designed to teach its participants better ways of living. Australian retreats usually offer programs for anything from a weekend

After easing in to the new surroundings, days start early — although thankfully not always at sunrise. Usually, there’s a form of gentle exercise to start the day, perhaps a tai chi, yoga or Pilates session on the lawn or somewhere you’ll feel close to nature.

Photography: Getty Images

We have chosen a retreat for the same reasons that many others do: to give our minds, bodies and souls a chance to recharge and regain their balance. Health retreats have become almost a necessity in modern-day life, as the pressures of work and family life increase and the pace of life quickens. Whether you are climbing the corporate ladder, running a family with varying commitments — to children, partners, parents — or, in many cases, doing both at the same time, everyone needs time for themselves. Sometimes, just simply “getting away from it all” is enough. Many people choose to go to a retreat alone for this very reason.

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why retreat? | ARTICLE

After breakfast, there might be a gentle bushwalk scheduled or some other activity. The natural surroundings in which most retreats are located add to the sense of peace and harmony that will be built during your stay. In the afternoon, most retreats allow quiet time for resting, relaxing with a book or indulging in pampering treatments. Others offer workshops on wellness, healthy lifestyle choices and other aspects of a balanced life. Meditation is often a key part of a retreat, whether it’s done alone, in small groups or guided by an experienced teacher who can impart breathing and centring techniques to help manage stress. For those who want to challenge themselves, some retreats offer more active adventures such as abseiling, mountain biking and rock climbing. If health is your focus, choose a resort that offers one-on-one consultations to enable you to learn to look after yourself better and teach you the skills to do so.

A MOMENT TO REFLECT Making changes to lifestyle habits can be challenging, but a retreat — with help and new techniques to address those changes — can be a major factor in kickstarting a new, motivated regime when you get home and help you to make healthy lifestyle choices an enjoyable and integral part of your life. Taking stock of your diet, the principles of balanced nutrition and learning how to adapt your diet to your lifestyle and family situation can also be a key part of a retreat, especially for individuals who are keen to improve physical fitness, strength, flexibility and lose weight. At a good retreat, you’ll be encouraged to slow down, eat well, relax, recuperate and surrender to some much-needed pampering. It gives you time to reflect on life and how you see yourself. The key aim of your retreat experience is to go home rested, rejuvenated, relaxed and inspired.

YOUR RETREAT MENU The types of experiences to choose from at your retreat will usually include: • Tai chi • Yoga • Pilates • Bush walks • Meditation • Dietary counselling • Massage • Detoxification programs • Health practitioner consultations

Health retreats have become almost a necessity in modern-day life, as the pressures of work and family life increase and the pace of life quickens. WELLBEING SPA, TRAVEL & RETREAT PLANNER 2016

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BILLABONG RETREAT Billabong Retreat is located in the leafy locale of Maraylya, only a 45-minute drive from the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The retreat is situated on 12 acres of stunning natural bush surrounding two billabongs. It is so beautifully encapsulated in nature that you will find it hard to believe the property is so close to Sydney.

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bundant with colourful and vocal native life, the area is home to hundreds of bird species, albinofaced black wallabies, lace monitors, deer, microbats and water lizards. At night, the whole place throbs to the chorus of frogs and cicadas. Bush rock escarpments rise up from the water’s edge with huge boulders creating lovely nooks that are ideal for meditating with nature.

THE EXPERIENCE The main retreat centre is perched high on the escarpment with a large, covered outdoor lounge nestled in the treetops overlooking the water. The two main rounded yurt buildings are designed to maximise energy flow while the sun reflects a dance of coloured light through multi-coloured roof cupolas. Amenities include an aqua-therapy

magnesium pool, clifftop cabins overlooking the billabong, and a yoga and meditation room with vistas across the treetops. Brand-new deluxe cabins feature indoor and outdoor baths, queen beds, lounge areas, air conditioning and multimedia stations loaded with relaxation music and meditation pieces. Guests can book in for two-, three-, fiveor seven-night stays, and day retreats are also an option, providing the perfect minibreak to refresh and revitalise body and soul. At Billabong Retreat, you can unwind, be pampered, learn simple wellness techniques and enjoy delicious wholefood cooking. Each retreat includes twice-daily workshops introducing all aspects of yoga, mindfulness and meditation and is suitable for any level of experience or fitness. The retreat’s wellness program combines ancient wisdom

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with modern scientific thinking, which, for example, leaves guests having learnt a simple 10-minute practice that if done daily can change lives. During your stay, you can also choose to indulge in a massage, a facial, hypnotherapy, kinesiology, naturopathy and private yoga consultations. Trained and caring practitioners will attend to your specific needs in a nurturing and healing environment. You choose your healing program based on whether you want to enhance your mind-body connection or simply be pampered. A naturopathic session, for example, will provide detailed personal lifestyle advice and a hypnotherapy session may help break a harmful habit. Or you may simply wish to enjoy your surroundings and indulge in a massage or a facial treatment. Billabong Retreat facials feature LI’TYA


Billabong Retreat | NEW SOUTH WALES

products that use ingredients derived from Australian native plants. All facials include skin-specific cleansers, activating exfoliators, herbal masks and moisture therapies.

PRIVATE SESSIONS During your stay at Billabong Retreat, you might like to expand yourself with a private yoga or meditation session. In a private yoga session, your teacher will identify your physical, mental and spiritual requirements and then guide you through a personalised yoga practice designed to suit your specific needs. During your private session, you can choose to explore new asanas, work on your alignment or learn new breathing and meditation techniques. In a private meditation session, you’ll learn a repertoire of simple techniques that can be practised anywhere to help you train your mind and enhance emotional self-regulation. Techniques included in these personalised sessions range through breath awareness, body scans, mantras, moving meditation and the use of sound.

FOOD Billabong Retreat offers delicious gourmet vegetable-based wholefoods that are seasonal, local and organic. Food is an integral part of the retreat’s ethos and the more natural you eat, the more you will enjoy radiant health and happiness. Fresh fruit and vegetables are sourced from a local farm where the produce is picked while Billabong staff wait. They then return with luscious food for you to enjoy. Head chef, Tory von Bergen’s, knowledge for and love of food lends itself to an array of mouth-watering, life-giving energy recipes rich in natural probiotics. Guests can choose to be dairy-, grain-, gluten- and sugar-free, to promote a greater detoxifying effect. Coffee and tea is provided on all retreats at the guest’s discretion.

YOUR STAY Billabong Retreat promotes a welcoming, friendly environment of mutual respect, kindness and compassion and is suitable for guests travelling on their own or with friends. Alcohol and smoking are not permitted.

GETTING THERE Drive from Sydney or get the train to Vineyard Station (on the Western Line) where the retreat offers a subsidised station pick-up.

CONNECT WITH BILLABONG RETREAT W: billabongretreat.com.au P: 02 4573 6080 A: 41 McClymonts Road, Maraylya NSW 2765


BYRON BAY DETOX RETREATS Byron Bay Detox Retreats is set among 30 acres of native bushland fronting onto the turquoise waters of Tallow Beach, just south of Australia’s most easterly point, Cape Byron, on the NSW North Coast.

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he closest airport to Byron Bay Detox Retreats is Ballina Byron, about a 30-minute drive away, while Coolangatta Airport is about a one-hour drive away. Shuttle buses from both airports take clients directly to the retreat centre, or a personalised pick-up can be arranged.

THE EXPERIENCE This is a holistic detoxification retreat that works at a cellular level of purification for total mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. Retreaters are nourished beyond a mere pamper in their health-seeking journeys by a dedicated team of naturopaths and therapists. Byron Bay Detox Retreats offers both group and personalised fasting programs for a wide-ranging clientele. Clients have a choice of additional treatments, which are a range of traditional and ancient healing techniques that are tailored to suit individual needs. Therapists are hand-picked from the Northern Rivers region to ensure that the delivery of each treatment is world-class. Head facilitator, Natalie Purcell, offers the Taoist abdominal organ massage, Chi

Nei Tsang, which clears blocked internal pathways to alleviate negative emotions and sickness. A tempting taste of what else is on offer includes an integrated kinesiology and theta therapist that uses refined techniques to release emotional baggage and self-limiting beliefs; a Zen shiatsu practitioner, who combines knowledge from around the Eastern world; and Hawaiianeducated kahuna body workers, who use their own body movements during massage to synchronise heartbeat and breathing patterns. Other treatments include traditional reiki energetic healing as well as medical intuitive healing for those with an illness who might still be searching for the cause of their imbalance. Friendly bush turkeys amble around the tea tree-strewn property and kookaburras delight at the breaking waves as retreaters unwind on the timber decks of their private cottages. The rustic and more luxurious cottages, as well as studios, are all equipped with reversecycle air conditioning, living areas, adjoining bedroom, kitchenette and bathroom. The cottages offer tranquillity and solitude, and many group retreats are run

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during the year with an intimate atmosphere that offers support while detoxifying the mind, body and soul. Gatherings are held in an undercover, pyramid-like yoga Shala, equipped with bifold doors that open to the negative-ionrich environment. These group sessions include morning meditation and yoga classes, as well as the retreat’s signature sound healings that are a gentle yet powerful blend of chimes, bowls and sacred voices to create a harmonious vibration within consciousness.

ON THE MENU Retreaters fast on cold-pressed, organic juices (served three times daily), which are typically a fusion of alkalising vegetables such as kale, spinach and turmeric. An evening mineral broth is also served along with an unlimited variety of herbal teas and alkalised water. This detoxification process is accelerated by three sessions of colonic hydrotherapy and a daily infrared sauna — both of which are on-site — and, ideally, a dip in the ocean. Also included in the retreat’s package are supplements for heavy-metal, bowel, liver and parasite cleanses.


Byron Bay Detox Retreats | NEW SOUTH WALES Breaking the fast After being nurtured through the five days of fasting, retreaters are served a fastbreaking breakfast of fresh papaya with a hint of alkalising lime and mint. They are then rewarded with a raw-food cooking class from the retreat centre’s expert chef that culminates in their first lunch for many days. Retreaters not only learn how to make superfood smoothies, as well as raw sauerkrauts, pastas and desserts, but also enjoy them with the group. Raw-food cuisine is served throughout the final 24 hours of the retreat. This culinary knowledge, in addition to the knowledge and inspiration attained from seminars and consultations, is then taken away by retreaters to continue into their daily lives.

YOUR STAY Prior to attending the retreat, clients are requested to fill out a health questionnaire to assist its globally qualified team of naturopaths in devising a program to suit their needs. Clients are advised to follow pre-fast procedures in the days leading up to attending the retreat centre to aid their transition to detoxification. Also, just as important as fasting is breaking a fast and clients are given information on how to slowly ease their reset internal organs and purified mind, body and soul back into their lifestyles after their enlightening time at the seaside sanctuary. All retreaters are reminded that any impurities such as alcohol, caffeine and nicotine are not allowed during the retreat and food of any kind is to be abstained from during their stay to allow the healing process to occur.

EXTRA OPTIONS Booking one month in advance ensures first choice of cottages in the retreats that are typically fully booked. Included in the package is accommodation, colonic hydrotherapy, infrared sauna, all juices, broths, teas and meals as well as onsite supplements. Also included in the starting package are group yoga and meditation classes, sound-healing sessions, educational seminars, naturopathic consultations, rawfood cooking classes and fast-breaking meals. Retreaters can also opt for their own cottage, rather than sharing a bathroom, or a studio apartment, for extra costs. The option of a private and exclusive personalised retreat is available year-round.

CONNECT WITH BYRON BAY DETOX RETREATS W: byronbaydetoxretreats.com.au P: 0458 633 869 E: info@byronbaydetoxretreats.com.au


GAIA RETREAT & SPA Nestled amid lush green valleys and undulating hills in the fertile hinterland of Byron Bay in northern New South Wales, the multi-award-winning Gaia Retreat & Spa sits among stunning subtropical gardens on 25 acres, proudly able to boast magnificent 360-degree views of the land below. Gaia is conveniently located only a 15-minute drive from Byron Bay, 20 minutes from Ballina Airport, and an hour from Coolangatta, Gold Coast Airport in Queensland. There is a host of transfer options available, including luxurious limousine services that are either part of the retreat packages or can be arranged upon request. FACILITIES

Amenities

THE EXPERIENCE

Accommodation

At the heart of the Gaia experience is the multi-award winning Gaia Day Spa. With 13 treatment rooms, it is set in the fragrant gardens overlooking the tranquil pool and spa area. The day spa has enticed some of the finest healers and therapists in Australia and there is an extensive menu of therapeutic treatments, each one offering guests a unique and personalised experience guaranteed to enhance health and wellbeing. Treatments range from blissful full-body massages and decadent facials to nurturing half-day Gaia Retreat & Spa signature packages. The 25-acre property also offers a heated swimming pool, tennis court, spa, sauna, fitness yoga centre, naturopathic clinic, breathtaking lookouts with stunning views, walking tracks and its own fresh, organic garden.

Gaia is one of Australia’s most-awarded boutique lifestyle pamper retreats. Check in any day, select an accommodation retreat package that suits and let the Gaia team of wellness professionals and healers offer sage advice and a diverse range of inspiring, revitalising activities and services for you to enjoy. Gaia Retreat & Spa creates a space where you own the experience — a place to refocus, rebalance and truly restore. There are no set date schedules, you can check-in and check-out any day — it is your experience. There are daily activities aplenty and whether you indulge in t’ai chi, boxing, yoga, cooking classes or clay sculpture, the caring staff are there to ensure you get the most out of your mix of fun and revitalisation. Choose an educational walk around the organic vegetable garden or if you’re

Gaia boasts 23 beautifully appointed rooms, suites and villas set among lush subtropical rainforest gardens. The rooms are contemporary, spacious and elegant in style. There are several accommodation options available, depending on your budget. These range from the elegant but modest Layana Room right through to the brand-new, luxurious Komala Villas that feature their own private saltwater plunge pools, large outdoor decks with magnificent views and private treatment areas. All rooms are well appointed, and most include televisions, DVD players and sound systems. All are stocked with robes, slippers and a sample collection of Gaia’s new, all-natural, certifiedorganic skincare range, Retreatment, which is simply delicious.

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Gaia Retreat & Spa | NEW SOUTH WALES

feeling a little more active and up for a steep hike, the small township of Newrybar is a great destination for a coffee and some window shopping. Unlike some health spas, Gaia’s guests aren’t confined to quarters.

ON THE MENU Another highlight of the resort is the unique Gaia cuisine. All gourmet meals are served in Kukura House, the central meeting-room lodge where everyone gathers. The day begins with a sumptuous buffet and hot breakfast, followed by a light lunch, while the evening unfolds with a luxurious threecourse fine-dining experience. The Gaia approach to food is hearty and healthy with in-house chefs personally choosing the freshest organic produce available from the resort’s garden as well as from nearby orchards and plantations. The menu changes daily and is customised to each individual’s preferences, desires and special dietary requirements.

PACKAGES Gaia offers various all-inclusive retreat packages, ranging from two- to sevenday experiences. These packages cover everything from accommodation, gourmet meals and snacks to daily activities, morning yoga and select spa treatments. All packages are designed to be adjusted and tailored to individual guest’s needs as requested, therefore a range of spa treatments or focus addons can be added for an extra cost at any stage. Gaia Day Spa is also open for guests who’d like to enjoy the facilities for one day and indulge in the large range of 40-plus treatments on offer.

AWARD WINNING Last year marked Gaia Retreat & Spa’s 10th anniversary and was also the year in which Gaia was honoured with a staggering 12 industry awards, including World’s Best Day Spa and Oceania’s Best Day Spa at the World Spa Awards 2015, Australasia’s Leading Boutique Hotel at the World Travel Awards 2015 and Best Wellness Cuisine and Best Retreat for Solo Travellers at The Spa Traveller Awards 2015.

CONNECT WITH GAIA RETREAT & SPA W: gaiaretreat.com.au P: 02 6687 1216 E: info@gaiaretreat.com.au A: 933 Fernleigh Road, Brooklet NSW 2479


UNBLOCK AND UNLOAD While surprisingly quite different, cleansing and detoxification are both useful steps on the road to a less toxic life. Words / Anne-Marie Cook

CLEANSING First of all, what is a cleanse? Generally, it involves cutting out a lot of the stuff that’s usual in our Western diets (wheat/gluten, sugar, dairy, alcohol, caffeine are the top five on the list) and replacing them with more vegetables. However, it’s also about reducing other toxic substances — stress hormones such as adrenalin and cortisol — and increasing healing activities such as sleep, gentle exercise, mindful breathing and relaxation. Cleanses come in various forms — for example fasting from solid food and drinking only juices or perhaps even just water — but the point is that they are temporary measures, as brief as a weekend, potentially up to a month or more. Regardless of length, it can be daunting to go cold turkey on anything you’re accustomed to having in your system. If coffee is a ritual, then caffeine withdrawal can bring on headaches for 24–48 hours. Those who are accustomed to eating meat at least once a day may find a vegetable juice protocol causes rapid changes to their usual digestive functions. There’s a plethora of diets, juices and fasting combinations, but some of the options include juice fasting, water fasting, soup diets, the grapefruit diet, lemon detox diet, metabolism stimulating, alkalising, liver cleansing, elimination diets ... the list goes on. So which are fads and which work? Of course, that’s a subject for an

entire book, but there is scientific validity to many of the approaches. Some such diets are designed for very short periods of time while others can be safely and healthfully undertaken for longer. A simple and nutritionally balanced cleansing program will offer all-natural, nutrient-dense ingredients that maximise the body’s opportunity to cleanse, heal and repair.

ONGOING DETOX HABITS So, you’ve finished your cleanse; now what are the detox habits you can embrace for a lifetime? Aside from eating uncontaminated whole foods, drinking purified water and ditching alcohol and coffee as much as possible (ie introducing fewer toxins into the body), there are practices that may suit your lifestyle on an ongoing basis to help your body continue doing what it is designed to do — efficiently process and remove waste. Some examples are listed below, all of which are backed by medically based published evidence.

Photography: Getty Images

Y

ou might be heading to a spa or retreat for a detox or perhaps you are telling your friends that you need a good cleanse. But are these two terms interchangeable or are they separate processes? Both are valuable but detoxification and cleansing are actually different parts of the healing spectrum. Cleansing is about taking the load off the body for a few days while detoxifying is concerned with restoring the body to a natural, non-toxic state that of which is a long-term pursuit. A cleansing week at a retreat may be as far as most of us go toward the long-term (perhaps lifelong) process of detoxifying. So, is it possible to live a detoxified life? And while still living in a world of Friday night wines, morning teas, school fete sausage sizzles, coffee catch-ups, parabens and artificial flavours, can you take the lessons and results of your retreat time into the rest of the your life? Of course, we also live in a world of organic and biodynamic vegetables, gluten/dairy/sugar-free muffins and paraben-free cosmetics. While the ideal of living a non-toxic existence is an attractive one, the downside may be a not-so-desirable reputation of being picky amongst colleagues and friends, and a mean and unfair one with your kids. Of course, smoking, drinking and even eating meat can earn you similar outsider status, depending on your peer group. So how do you get started on your cleanse and maintain the detoxification process?


detox vs cleanse | ARTICLE Apple cider vinegar Apple cider vinegar is a famed digestion enhancer. The unique acids in the vinegar can bind to toxins and help the body eliminate them more effectively. Add a teaspoon to a glass of warm water before each meal or mix it with flaxseed oil and honey to make a salad dressing.

Exercise Daily exercise delivers a full-body service that effectively draws toxins from all the tissues. Key detoxification processes — perspiration, oxygenation, circulation, digestion — are all enhanced by exercise. Lymphatic waste removal, perhaps the body’s number-one method of detox, can’t function without external motion. During exercise, body heat rises as the circulatory system works to get more oxygen to the muscles. Rising body temperature may even convince our bodies that we are experiencing a fever and this causes it to focus on immune system enhancement — in particular, the filtering of lymph fluid to remove viruses and, at the same time, toxins.

Sweating is another natural way the body flushes out toxins and waste — as body temperature rises, the sweat glands in the skin release fluid to aid cooling through evaporation. Simultaneously, toxins collected in the fat cells just under the surface of the skin can be released through the pores during perspiration. To improve elimination through the skin, regular exercise and hydration are keys to stimulate sweating.

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loss. Neurologist Dr Dietrich Klinghardt found that the sweat of people using a conventional sauna was 95–97 per cent water while the sweat of those using an infrared sauna was 80–85 per cent water, the non-water portion being cholesterol, fatsoluble toxins, toxic heavy metals, sulphuric acid, sodium, ammonia and uric acid.

Lymphatic drainage Lymphatic drainage massage supports ongoing detoxification by increasing the capacity of the lymphatic collateral vessels. The massage can increase lymph flow up to 25 times the usual rate. Lymphatic drainage massage is a manual technique that uses a range of gentle rhythmic pumping techniques of light pressure to move the skin in the direction of the lymph flow. This stimulates the lymphatic vessels that carry substances vital to the defence of the body and removes waste products. Sometimes, aromatherapy oils such as carrot, black pepper and sweet fennel are used for their diuretic properties.

Far infrared sauna

Many types of seaweed (marine algae) are touted for their ability to detoxify and cleanse the body by binding to toxins and carrying them out of your system. Iodine, one of the key ingredients in seaweed, protects the thyroid gland from the effects of radiation and is essential for the production of thyroid hormones, which govern metabolism. Seaweed is also considered effective when used outside the body. A weekly bath laced with concentrated seaweed, often Laminaria digitata (oarweed), stimulates the lymphatic system and aids in the elimination of waste and fluids. Seaweed has been used in thalassotherapy on the Brittany coast of France (where modernday treatment protocols using seawater and sea ingredients were made popular) for more than 100 years. When having a seaweed wrap treatment, your body is first exfoliated with a scrub or brush to enhance the absorption of a creamy mask made with a seaweed concentrate. Following this, the body is cocooned in an insulating material to retain heat and induce perspiration. This gently increases blood circulation to carry nutrients to the skin and unblocks localised accumulations of cellulite caused by toxic build-up and poor circulation. So, ultimately, is the use of the term “cleanse” rather than “detox” simply a matter of semantics? No, it isn’t. The difference in the definitions provides tools for not only clarity of communication but also achievable actions that help lead the way to a healthier life.

The Journal of the American College of Cardiology reports that infrared sauna treatment significantly lowers blood sugar, increases circulation and induces weight

Anne-Marie Cook is a writer, runner and certified personal trainer. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter: @runinspo

Rapid changes in body temperature, which stimulate increased circulation of both blood and lymph, are a key attribute of a hydrotherapy circuit. Hydrotherapy Rapid changes in body temperature, which stimulate increased circulation of both blood and lymph, are a key attribute of a hydrotherapy circuit. Exposure to sessions of heat and cold is facilitated by therapies such as hot baths, cold plunge pools, highpowered jets of hot and cold water, wading pools, foot baths, steam rooms, wet sheet packs and the application of compresses and showers, to name a few. Though the concept of a bathing circuit has been around since at least Roman times (with their use of the thermarium and frigidarium), many modern hydrotherapy practices are based on the techniques

developed by Bavarian monk Father Sebastian Kneipp in the late 1890s. These techniques utilise a program of hot and cold baths, steam baths and herbal wraps. An example of the Kneipp Cure is the very simple practice of standing with your feet in a shallow bath of hot water until they are warmed through, then stepping into a cold water bath until they cool down, repeating several times.

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Photography: Getty Images

Seaweed


detox vs cleanse | ARTICLE

HOW TO CLEAN UP YOUR ACT Naturopath, herbalist and nutritionist Sarah Luck advises that, for ease of understanding, a diet and the food in it can be divided simply into acid-forming and alkalising. For long-term detoxification, the key is to reduce acid and promote alkalising foods. She offers the following rules of thumb.

Acid-forming foods to reduce or avoid:

Alkalising foods to add or increase:

     

 F  ruits and fresh fruit juices, especially bananas and apricots  Vegetables and fresh vegetable juices, especially spinach  Lemon juice and apple cider vinegar  Kefir, kombucha and tempeh (fermented foods)  Yoghurt  Nuts and seeds, especially hazelnuts  Mineral water (especially those higher in calcium)  Spirulina

   

Sugar Peanuts Bread and flour Soft drinks Noodles and pasta Hard cheeses such as parmesan Cereals Processed fruits in syrup Processed meats Excess red meats

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LIVING VALLEY SPRINGS Set amongst 145 acres of lush green hills, valleys and pristine countryside in the UNESCO-listed Noosa Biosphere Reserve, Living Valley Springs is only 30 minutes from Noosa, but a million miles from the hustle and bustle of daily life. This is a genuine lifestyle retreat and therapy centre where you will experience a health program that is second to none. THE EXPERIENCE

REGENERATE AND HEAL

The natural beauty, the feeling of safety, the flora, the views, the kangaroos, the birds and other wildlife at Living Valley Springs make this a truly unique Australian health retreat experience. Established in 1990, the Living Valley Springs team includes therapists, naturopaths, health educators, trainers, counsellors, cooks and carers who are all dedicated to providing you with the best opportunity to heal and excel. Every day, you can enjoy steam baths, bushwalks, the fully equipped gym, personal treatments, Cellerciser and stretching classes, naturopathy, lectures, fitness training (optional), counselling (optional), laughing, and socialising. You will be invited to participate in an optional climb of nearby Mount Cooroora or a sunrise walk at Noosa National Park. Most of all, you will experience real healing while learning how to enjoy life to the fullest. For your stay, you can choose from a variety of rooms all with beautiful views of the valley. You can choose single, double or queen beds and depending on your choice, you will have shared or private bathrooms and laundry facilities.

A dedicated staff of 50 enables Living Valley to deliver the highest level of personal care available. The Living Valley team offer the most up-to-date therapies, information, and clinical advice available. Living Valley Springs is so much more than a relaxation retreat; it offers a tailored approach to healing and health. A full treatment regime is included in your program. However, extra treatments can be added. On arrival, you will begin your personal journey to great health with a naturopathic consultation designed to ensure that your time at Living Valley Springs is tailored to your specific needs. This will involve an assessment of your current lifestyle and state of health including a live blood screening and a vitality, longevity and healthy ageing assessment of body fat and muscle ratios.

daily steam baths, a deluxe facial, art class, fitness and stretch class.

Seven-day Healthy Holiday If you are seeking a relaxing time out to refocus, this is it. Additions in this package include a remedial massage, healthy cooking demonstrations, steam baths and an essential oils workshop.

Seven-day Power Cleanse You’ll leave feeling cleansed, refreshed and recharged from this amazing oneweek reboot. This is a medically designed detox program that includes naturopathic consultations and personal meal planning. You can enjoy juices, detox shakes, organic meals and a variety of cleansing treatments.

14-day Pure Detox You will come away from this two-week whole-body detoxification program feeling refreshed after a serious cleansing inside and out, all supervised by a team of professional naturopaths.

YOUR STAY

14-day Total Transformation

You can choose a three-, seven-, 14-, 21- or 28-day program.

The ultimate new start to rejuvenate the system and enhance physical and mental performance. This is the ideal two week stopand-reset for your system, featuring four oneon-one sessions with a personal trainer and four one-on-one sessions with a life coach.

Three-day Rejuvenator A Sunday to Wednesday bliss escape — leave the cares of a busy, stressful life behind. Your Rejuvenator experience includes massage,

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Living Valley Springs | QUEENSLAND

21-day Absolute This package is tailored to whatever you need to achieve with your health, taking the best from the Power Cleanse and Pure Detox packages. Over three weeks, receive the benefit of 12 therapeutic treatments plus four naturopathic consultations on top of the rest of the Living Valley experience.

THE MENU The food at Living Valley Springs is organic, tasty and nutritious. You may also attend a cooking class or two and learn some great recipes, hints and tips from the kitchen team. Specific dietary needs and preferences are cheerfully catered for including vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, keto, paleoand any particular food intolerances. Living Valley is passionate about organic food and sources it from a network of suppliers and growers. However, if unavailable, the team do their best to source chemical- and pesticide-free produce.

GETTING THERE Living Valley Springs provides complimentary transfers from the Brisbane and Sunshine Coast airports every Sunday. You can meet the shuttle at the designated meeting points on the day of your arrival.

Brisbane Airport Domestic terminal — meet at the Virgin arrivals baggage carousel at 11.30am. International terminal — meet at The Coffee Club kiosk (immediately outside customs) at 11.35am.

Sunshine Coast Airport Meet at the Baggage Claim area at 1.00pm. A limousine can also be booked through the Living Valley Springs reception. Departures should be organised before 2pm the Friday before leaving the retreat.

Arriving by Car Please plan to arrive between 1pm and 2pm for the first day of your retreat. Latitude and longitude are more accurate than street address if using GPS navigation: -26.252220, 152.896294 or -26°15’7.99”, +152°53’46.66” Detailed directions are available from the Living Valley Springs website.

CONNECT WITH LIVING VALLEY SPRINGS W: lvs.com.au P: 1800 644 733 (outside Australia: +61 7 5485 4344) A: 15 Sheppersons Lane, Kin Kin Qld 4571


TEA TOO The healing, regenerative, contemplative powers of tea can be a perfect ďŹ t for some spa and retreat experiences.

Photography: Getty Images

Words / Judy Chapman


tea in the spa or retreat | ARTICLE

W

ho would have thought the exquisite tea leaf could bring so much beauty? Revered for its rejuvenating and antioxidant properties, it’s little wonder the renaissance of tea has infiltrated the world of spas and retreats. Think treatments made with freshly picked green tea and spas located in historic tea plantations. There’s often grace in the simple things — the normal activities of those who reside in rural Japan, for example: a hot spring bath, a sip of sake and the tea ceremony. Like the words that float from a Japanese haiku, it’s the subtle moments that endure.

TEA TIME OUT Drinking tea already honours the qualities of spa. From the English high tea to the green tea ceremony, the essence is about rest and time spent with others. Tea rituals also honour individualism. Indeed, no two cups are ever the same and the best spa and retreat experiences are tailor made. More and more, we desire handmade creations dreamt up by people who think for themselves with stories to share. Think of freshly harvested plants that are handpicked, hand-blended and bottled like sweet little offerings.

BEAUTIFUL TEA Tea has long been used for beautifying. In ancient India, women combined strong Indian tea with cloves to darken greying hair. In Jamaica, rum is added to tea to bring out highlights. Gypsy women are believed to have drunk nettle tea to keep their hair dark and glossy. Chamomile tea will add highlights to hair. Ginseng tea is reportedly good to add a glow to dark or grey hair. In China, experience a hot herbal compress made from ginger root and red tea dipped in warm sesame oil to relieve muscle aches and pains. Over in Thailand, try a hydrating facial made with green tea and bamboo shoot extract to help heal dull and congested complexions. Other alluring experiences include a Ceylon tea bath, a green tea and rose petal bath, and a white and hibiscus tea hydration mist. There are also body scrubs and foot baths, all containing white, green or black tea.

TEA FOR YOU Next to water, tea is the world’s most consumed beverage. With a tea history spanning more than 5000 years, India and China top the world as consumers of it. The popular story of how tea was discovered dates back to China around 3000 BC when a tea leaf accidentally fell into Emperor Shen Nung’s boiled water. Since it’s beginnings in the East, tea has travelled far and wide. Green tea is the variety that is centre stage at tea parties around the world. Most of us know that drinking green

tea regularly is reported to enhance our immune system, increase our metabolic rate, help prevent cancer, reduce heart disease and stroke risk and relieve arthritis as well as hydrate and rejuvenate the body. According to new research, treatments made with tea are also believed to be overflowing with health benefits. Of course, if you are going on retreat for a cleanse, you may not want the caffeine that comes from tea but new research has proven that tea works as an antioxidant when applied topically to the skin. The compounds in green tea, polyphenols, are high in antioxidants and recent findings demonstrate that when these are applied topically to the skin, they may help protect the skin from ultraviolet (UV) radiationinduced damage. Research conducted at the Skin Study Center at the University Hospitals of Cleveland and Case Western Reserve University in the US have found that topically applied green tea decreases the direct effects of sunburn.

There have been other findings as well. Some say tea applied topically can help prevent damage from environmental pollutants. Green tea also has anti-ageing benefits. Some believe that applying antioxidant-rich green tea protects the skin against free-radical damage. Tea also knows no boundaries. Today, there are lovely colonial-style spas being built in tea plantations in Sri Lanka, India and Malaysia. Just imagine resting on a verandah overlooking a tea plantation, the source of the ingredients for the heavenly spa treatments you are about to take. Judy Chapman is the former editor-in-chief of Spa Asia magazine and author of four bestselling books on spas. Over the past 20 years, Judy has travelled the world consulting and creating award-winning spa concepts, beauty products and treatment experiences. She is the founder of The Chapman Guides (thechapmanguides.com), a curation of the best in retreats and wellness travel.

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RETURN TO RITUAL Rituals in the spa bring you into the moment. Your heart, mind and body become centric. You are here. Words / Judy Chapman

T

he renaissance of spa rituals is one of the most sacred offerings of the 21st century. Enter a spa or retreat and you’ll hear the delicate tinkle of a bell ringing. The scent of smouldering sandalwood incense caresses your nose and the shadows from the beeswax tealight candles flickering against the latticed doors calm your soul. These are the features of many spas and retreats, designed to set you at ease and bring you into a gentle, healing space. Ritual has long been a part of our daily lives. Defined by some as a performance of a ceremonial act prescribed by tradition or sacerdotal decree, the definition of ritual continues to change and evolve. Where once, rituals were passed down over generations through different forms such as storytelling, music and literature, today this has changed. The revival of the spa has renewed an interest in ancient rituals and ceremonies. Creators of treatments are reaching back for inspiration. Throughout history, secret rituals of health, beauty and longevity have been passed down through generations of families and today this tradition continues. You can experience incredible treatments for bath, hair and skin inspired by rituals once practised in indigenous cultures, temples and palaces. Even the simple act of collecting ingredients and preparing them for treatments can be ceremonial. In some cultures, therapists will travel to the morning markets to hand-pick fruits, nuts, grains and flowers for their bathing and beauty rituals. By the ocean, you

may observe healers collecting ocean water, shells and rocks for sea-inspired treatments, while in the mountains, the drawing of spring water from sacred rivers for hair rinses and foot baths is considered ritualistic. Rituals by nature are spontaneous and free. They honour the fact that nothing is set in stone. All is energy and vibration. They do not need to be shrouded in silence or celebrated with solemnity. Rituals are evermoving and changing. According to many traditions, rituals are best practised with gratitude and joy. The beauty of spa rituals is they honour the present. Whether lighting a candle or incense stick or bathing your skin in water, rituals in the spa bring you into the moment. Your heart, mind and body become centric. You are here. Rituals also symbolise a return to earth. As we awaken to our earth’s natural treasures, we turn to her for inspiration. As the interest in preserving our environment expands, we request organic ingredients and treatments in our spas. No longer are we affected by the external. It’s having our feet in the earth that matters. Where once upon a time we were concerned only with our tribe and community, today our vision has expanded. Little wonder spa rituals are multicultural. Inside the spa walls there’s little distinction between religious and philosophical preferences. Spas today offer rituals that blend the best of East and West. Imagine Eastern water therapies blended before you take a Chinese massage or shiatsu. All is welcomed and all is celebrated. Relationships are integral to spa rituals.

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There have been numerous friendships formed against the backdrop of a spa. One of the delights about bathing in the hot springs in Japan is the people you meet. Laughter, chatter and sharing stories with strangers while immersed in healthful waters can be truly special. Our true nature emerges when we are in a harmonious space and deeper connections manifest. It’s often the intention behind the ritual that is significant. In India, therapists may pray silently to the gods to give them the strength and integrity to help heal their guest. Every morning in Bali, therapists place offerings made of flowers, fruits and burning incense outside their spas to bless the day ahead with a Sanskrit prayer and three splashes of holy water. Through rituals, we understand it is our intention that creates a meaningful experience — perhaps our thoughts are the best medicine of all. Rituals are also about self-empowerment. Increasingly, we realise that each of us has the answers to life within. If you look back to the origins of religion, medicine and other belief systems such as Ayurveda, you will discover they were created to encourage people to take wellbeing into their own hands. As ancient texts reveal, the purpose of life is to be self-sufficient. Infinite truth lies within each of us. Many say we are on the brink of global transformation. What we think, we create. Whether you receive rituals in a healing spa environment or create your own at home, ultimately, it’s the act of taking time for self that is most significant. After all, there really is nowhere else to be but here.


Photography: Getty Images

return to ritual | ARTICLE


SUKHAVATI AYURVEDIC RETREAT & SPA Sukhavati Ayurvedic Retreat & Spa is located in a local Bali village in Mengwi, about 30 minutes inland from Seminyak and 40 minutes from Denpasar international Airport. THE EXPERIENCE Sukhavati is a four-tier estate situated on the Penit River and surrounded by lush tropical jungle. There are eight villas at Sukhavati: four one-bedroom luxury villas, three onebedroom private-pool villas, and one twobedroom villa. When staying at Sukhavati, you have full access to all facilities including swimming pools, the yoga pavilion, meditation bales, the river viewing deck and Ayurvedic river spa.

INDULGE AND HEAL Ayurveda is the ancient system of healing, originating in India thousands of years ago. In Sanskrit, Ayur means “life” and Veda “knowledge”, hence Ayurveda is the “science of life”. At Sukhavati, the goal is to provide a comprehensive program of wellness using this ancient healing philosophy. At the start of your rejuvenation program at Sukhavati, you will receive a detailed consultation with an Ayurvedic

doctor who will confirm the influences of the doshas (Vata, Pitta, Kapha) on your physical, mental and emotional health to help determine the Ayurvedic treatments that are best suited to you. The Sukhavati team will create a personally designed treatment program (Panchakarma program) to rejuvenate your whole system, detoxify your body and relax your mind. Recommendations are unique to each individual and are validated by observation and deep knowledge derived from the ancient Vedic texts to ensure a long and healthy life. Your program will incorporate comprehensive spa treatments, yoga, specialised healing diets, meditation, daily health consultations and lifestyle seminars. Research shows that physiological purification treatments such as those offered at Sukhavati can produce benefits including normalisation of weight, improved sleep, stabilisation of blood sugar levels, normalisation of blood pressure,

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strengthening of the immune system and rejuvenation of the body and mind. The daily schedule includes a variety of activities for you to take part in including morning guided village walks, bike rides, yoga classes, meditation courses (not available at all times), consultations with the Ayurvedic doctor, seminars on health, lifestyle and Ayurveda, cooking classes and tours to Tanah Lot Temple. There are several spots at the retreat designed to nourish and heal your mind, body and soul:

Swimming pools The main swimming pool is located in the centre of the estate. There are also three private-pool villas.

Yoga and meditation pavilion Start and end the day with healing yoga sessions in the yoga pavilion. Looking out over the estate, the view truly sets the scene for rejuvenation. If yoga isn’t what


Sukhavati Ayurvedic Retreat & Spa | BALI

you are after, then you may wish to join the staff for a group meditation session before lunch.

River deck Sink into a daybed with a fresh juice and enjoy the panoramic views of the tropical jungle from the river deck.

The lawn The lawn is the setting for the traditional Balinese performance and gala dinner that is provided for guests once a month. Dine under the stars and interact with the dancers while enjoying a beautiful banquet cooked by wonderful chefs. All meals and spa treatments included in your package are tailored to your individual needs for either a short three-day program or a comprehensive 21-day program.

FOOD All food at Sukhavati is prepared fresh daily by gourmet chefs using as much locally grown, organic produce as possible. Depending on your health goals and body type, meals may vary from person to person. No meat is served at Sukhavati.

GETTING THERE Sukhavati is about 30 minutes inland from Seminyak and 40 minutes from Denpasar International Airport. Sukhavati has a driver on staff. All guests staying for more than one day are provided with transport to and from Sukhavati, which is included in their program price.

THINGS TO REMEMBER Sukhavati is one of the few retreats that offers check in/check out any day of the week. This allows you to stay at a time that best suits your needs. Travel costs, meals, accommodation and Ayurvedic treatments and programs are included in the one price. However, if you would like to purchase different herbs and medicines from the retreat, which have been prescribed, that will come as an additional cost, due to the fact that it can’t be assumed what you will require until your consultation.

CONNECT WITH SUKHAVATI RETREAT W: sukhavatibali.com P: 1800 759 826 E: rejuvenation@sukhavatibali.com A: Br Bebengan, Mengwi, Badung, 80351, Abianbase, Kota Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia


FOOT RITUALS Our feet are a reflection of our inner body so when our feet are relaxed, so are we. Through nurturing the “souls” of our feet, we keep our energy grounded. Our feet are the foundation for our mind and body.

I

’m sitting here with two feet plunged into an Indian copper bowl filled with warm water and floating flowers. Beside me is a pot of steaming herbal tea. The scent of aromatherapy fills the air and it occurs to me that before I’ve even received the soothing massage, I’m already feeling deeply relaxed. Such is the raison d’être of the foot ritual offered at spas around the world. Whether it’s a simple soak, a leisurely wash or a scrub and massage, the experience of having your feet attended to before treatment is certain to bring you down to earth. Not to mention help you feel incredibly soothed in mind and body.

FOOT TO HEAD According to the ancient masters, our feet are a reflection of our inner body so when our feet are relaxed, so are we. Through nurturing the “souls” of our feet, we keep our energy grounded. Our feet are the foundation for our mind and body. Just think how incredibly mind-soothing a foot massage can be. Everything in our body is connected. Step into the Orient and you’ll discover that cared-for feet are symbolic of respect and wellbeing. Eastern cultures have long valued the importance of taking care of their feet. In Thailand, for example, people will wash their feet before entering a temple and in Bali, priests are known to end their day with a ceremonial foot

wash. The Japanese always remove their shoes before entering their own abode or a ryokan. Ancient medicine systems, too, have long promoted the health values of having clean feet. In traditional folk medicine, foot care treatments involving water, massage, herbs and oils were taken to help combat cracked heels, corns, dry skin, foot odour and sores. Ayurvedic physicians have written that our feet are a map to our inner body. According to Ayurveda, dry and chapped-looking feet can reflect a vata condition, while hot and sweaty feet may reflect a pitta imbalance and fluid retention possibly indicates a kapha condition. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the principles of reflexology therapy reveal that the condition of our feet mirrors our inner body. Through self-massaging our feet on a regular basis, we can take care of our internal organs. Also, our feet are considered nature’s own detoxifying system, where we perspire and get rid of wastes, so it makes sense to soak them regularly with cleansing oils and purified water.

RELAXATION AND HEALING Father Sebastian Kneipp (1821-1997), a Bavarian monk, is well known for his “water cures” that led to the Kneipp hydrotherapy footbath we often find in spas today. This system of alternating and contrasting temperature baths is possibly one of the best-known curative

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foot treatments for stimulating circulation through the body. A cold footbath, for example, is recommended for improving circulation, lowering blood pressure and reducing sleeplessness and sweaty feet. A warmer footbath is beneficial for deepening relaxation and can help relieve pain and aches in the feet area. A little warmer, and you can help sooth stiffness caused by arthritis, joint stiffness, muscle spasms and inflammation. Hydrotherapy, practised in many cultures around the world, including ancient Rome, China and Japan, continues today. A simple foot soak can do wonders for your whole being and extraordinary experiences can be created for your feet and for you. Beautiful ingredients for a foot treatment include Epsom salts and sea salt, clay, oatmeal, shredded coconut flesh, pumice stone and refreshing oils such as peppermint and lime or relaxing choices such as lavender and sandalwood. A bit of colour therapy can be added by scattering fresh flowers on the water’s surface, or placing flat, round stones at the bottom of the bowl can provide a type of reflexology massage. Ultimately, the act of sinking your feet into a bowl of warm water is bound to bring you pleasure. After all, pleasure also needs to be part of the cure. Creating space and time to nurture your feet is an experience as beautiful as the hundreds of blossoms I’m bathing in.

Photography: Getty Images

Words / Judy Chapman


foot rituals | ARTICLE


ABOUT FACE Your face is your window to the world and a nourishing facial can help keep that window clean and clear.

THE EVOLVING FACIAL Within the spa environment in particular, a facial feels worlds away from the classic salon style. No longer is a facial only about the sequence of cleanse, steam and mask. Many include back and neck massages prior to cream and oil applications or the chiming of Tibetan bells and the scent of essential oils and incense. The journey is more often one of inner healing as well as outer beautification. Some say the face is a mirror of the inner world. According to Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine, for instance, health is linked to beauty. One does not exist without the other. Through the study of the texture, colour and condition of our skin, doctors in these disciplines can determine the state of our physical and emotional health. A radiant complexion is considered a reflection of wellbeing. Regular facial massage is highly recommended by all. It’s said you can take years off your physical appearance through regular massage, which softens the lines, releases the jaw and lifts areas that have become heavy because they are burdened

with worry. Recently, I spent time with a Chinese doctor who advised me to practise chi kung exercises on my face to maintain a youthful glow and enhance skin firmness. Another well-known facialist pointed out that regular exercise maintains tone in our body and that the same approach could be applied to our face. Regular upward strokes around the chin area and across the forehead and tapping to increase circulation is said to maintain firmness over time. Indeed, many famous French beauty brands have long blended acupressure techniques from the East into their beauty treatments to stimulate the immune, circulatory and lymphatic systems. Another trend in spas is hot and cold crystal and stone applications, massaged onto the skin to increase circulation and blood flow, which in turn creates a plumped-up appearance. Internal remedies and supplements are also recommended and sold alongside facials and skincare.

FACING FACTS The food and liquids you absorb also impact your skin, particularly sugar, which

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is believed to be your skin’s worst enemy. Adding real foods such as fresh salads, essential fatty acids, pure water, raw coconut oil and fruits can assist in producing radiant skin. Then there are spas that bestow “skin food” facials made with fresh fruits and plants including freshly mashed avocado, papaya and cucumber. But do all these all-natural facials really work? Some remain unconvinced that massage techniques and natural ingredients alone will create the ultimate facial. Millions opt for cosmetic surgery to convince themselves that ageing of the body isn’t really happening. Yet, as author Andrew Weil MD writes, “Ageing reminds us of our mortality; it can be a primary stimulus to spiritual awakening and growth.” In the end, though, we learn that there is no right and wrong way to live our lives, although a combination approach is always a win-win scenario. Less worry, good food, regular exercise, healthy relationships, intimacy, lush products and regular facials and massage are a powerful way to face the world with joy and confidence.

Photography: Getty Images

Words / Judy Chapman


facials | ARTICLE


MILLBROOK RESORT Framed by rugged mountains and set across 500 acres of beautiful Central Otago countryside, Millbrook Resort is a unique New Zealand spa destination. With an uplifting landscape of green fairways, gentle streams, rolling hills and the rustic remains of old stone barns, horse-drawn carts and wagon wheels, Millbrook is set among a backdrop that cannot be recreated. It is this combination of award-winning spa treatments and jaw-dropping scenery that makes Millbrook Resort a truly unique experience that continues to fulfil local and visitor expectations alike. THE EXPERIENCE A mere 20-minute drive from Queenstown, and two minutes from historic Arrowtown, Millbrook Resort is conveniently close to everything one needs yet feels like a world away. Queenstown itself is renowned as the adventure capital of the world, although the region is equally famous for its awardwinning wines and beautiful eateries.

INDULGE AND HEAL Millbrook’s signature spa offers a range of restorative treatments to help guests achieve optimum levels of health and ultimate relaxation. With 10 treatment rooms and a team of highly skilled therapists, The Spa at

Millbrook has something to suit all ages. The team strive to create a welcoming and tranquil space and understand the importance of consistency and professionalism to ensure their services not only meet your expectations, but exceed them. As part of this service, Millbrook incorporates Elemis products into its treatments. Elemis utilises powerful marine and plant actives in intricate blends with aromatics, to create beautiful natural products with proven transformative results. Spa manager, Michelle Batchelor, says the team “believe strongly in the benefits of Elemis products” and are proud that Elemis plays such a central role in all treatments.

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As Millbrook is a popular accommodation and wedding venue in the region, as well as one of New Zealand’s premier golfing destinations, an interesting mix of treatments makes up part of the daily services at The Spa to accommodate a whole range of guests. The Spa at Millbrook is one of only a handful of spas in New Zealand to offer Vichy treatments, where you essentially shower lying down to experience a lovely cascade of water. Utilising a stunning, exotic 150-year-old acacia wood table, this treatment is considered by many the ultimate in spa treatments. As well as a Health & Fitness Centre, indoor swimming pool and outdoor hot spas, there is also a 27-hole golf course


Millbrook Resort | NEW ZEALAND

available for all guests to use. You can make a trip to Millbrook for a half- or full-day experience. Recently named New Zealand’s Leading Spa Resort for the fourth consecutive year in the World Travel Awards, a visit to The Spa at Millbrook is definitely an experience you won’t find elsewhere.

ON THE MENU While at Millbrook, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy food and refreshments, with three dining venues on-site offering casual café meals through to contemporary cuisine. The Millhouse Restaurant still holds the original wall from the old mill house, which operated when the resort was a wheat farm during the gold rush era. The Japanese restaurant, Kobe Cuisine, offers a magnificent view of Lake Hayes and the Hole in One Café provides the perfect viewing platform to the Coronet 9 and Coronet Peak. Offering everything from freshly baked muffins and pastries to great coffee, fresh salmon, sashimi, dumplings and yakitori, each restaurant offers something different and is open daily for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

GETTING THERE Complimentary shuttle services are available from Queenstown or Arrowtown, so guests can hop on a shuttle and begin to relax right from the start of their Millbrook experience, as the shuttle guides you safely along a stunning scenic rural path to Millbrook Resort. You can also drive the 20-minute trip from Queenstown, or two minutes from the quaint neighbouring village of Arrowtown.

THINGS TO REMEMBER As more direct flights from Australia are introduced every year, Queenstown’s popularity as a holiday destination continues to grow. Therefore, special accommodation and resort credit packages are extremely popular for those looking to get away for a long weekend and revive.

CONNECT WITH MILLBROOK RESORT W: millbrook.co.nz P: 0800 800 604 (NZ), 1800 450 626 (Australia), +643 441 7000 (International) E: reservations@millbrook.co.nz or find Millbrook Resort on Facebook or Instagram A: 1124 Malaghans Road, Arrowtown


HOT STONE THERAPY The use of hot stones is an ancient therapeutic method that works on the body and the soul.

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ot stone therapy is now a revered treatment in spas around the world and works deeply on many levels to help you return to your “self”. If you suffer from muscular aches, tight shoulders, pain in the lower and upper back, poor circulation or computer tension, then treatments made from hot stones may just be what you need. The beauty of hot stone therapy is that each culture has its own variety, so no two treatments are the same.

HOT STONES: AN ANCIENT METHOD Heat therapy has long been used for healing around the world. Infrared saunas and thermal massage beds are my current favourites. More traditional treatments that use heat for healing include moxibustion, cupping, bathing in thermal springs and the application of a steaming poultice. Even a soak in a warm bath or a simple hot water bottle can be incredibly soothing for muscular pain. While the true origins of hot stone therapy are unknown, research reveals that stones have long been used as a curative by many cultures including the Native Americans, Tibetans, Koreans and Hawaiians. In Korea, for example, healers wrapped basalt stones in cotton sheets and placed them on various parts of the body to reduce stress and release any blockages.

In ancient China, heated rocks and hot sand were wrapped in tree bark and applied to the body as hot compresses to relieve aches and pains. It is believed that the Mongolians first introduced the healing stone massage into Tibet and would mix ingredients such as barley with river stones for their massages. Over in Hawaii, lava stones have long been used during their lomi lomi massages. And, according to therapists in Bali, ancient rocks are considered sacred and are collected from the seashore and placed outside under each full moon to soak up the lunar energy that, when applied during treatments, will deepen the guest’s healing experience.

UNCOVERING THE TREATMENT In most treatments, aromatic oils help the smooth heated stones to glide along the muscles of your back and to massage the lower back and shoulders to bring you down to earth. Warm stones are also placed into the palms of your hands to bring you back to centre. Hot stone therapy not only feels incredibly grounding and warming, it’s also an excellent treatment to help alleviate emotional imbalances including stress, tension, anxiety and insomnia. During a hot stone treatment, the therapist will steam rocks until they are quite warm and place them on different parts of your body. The weight and

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warmth of the stones feels incredibly comforting, particularly when the stones are placed in the palms of your hands and on the soles of your feet. The sensation of warmed stones smoothed across one’s body is incredibly nurturing too. The warmth from the stones seems to move effortlessly across the body, melting away muscular pain, dissolving tension in the mind and encouraging blood flow and circulation. Hot gems and jewels are another emerging trend in spas and are also inspired by ancient practices used in both Tibetan and Ayurvedic medicine. In Tibet, for example, jewels and stones were part of certain rituals; astrologers often selected a precious stone or metal to help rebalance and strengthen one’s energy levels. In China, jade is considered to hold the essence of life force and according to Ayurveda, the best ways to absorb the energies from gems and metals is to wear them close to your skin at all times. At the end of the day, of course, healing is not only about the ingredients — the stones, technology and instruments — but also the therapist’s and your own intention. After all, healing is a two-way street and to make the most of your spa experience, being open to receiving is also part of the journey. Releasing, letting go, trusting, believing, surrendering — these are ultimately what will return you to self and help you on your path.

Photography: Getty Images

Words / Judy Chapman


hot stone therapy | ARTICLE


SOAK IT UP There’s more to bathing than being solo and silent. Bathing is an art form that can be social and an integral part of your healing experience.

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he renaissance of spa rituals is one of the most sacred offerings of the 21st century. Enter a spa or retreat and you’ll hear the delicate tinkle of a bell ringing. The scent of smouldering sandalwood incense caresses your nose and the shadows from the beeswax tealight candles flickering against the latticed doors calm your soul. These are the features of many spas and retreats, designed to set you at ease and bring you into a gentle, healing space. Ritual has long been a part of our daily lives. Defined by some as a performance of a ceremonial act prescribed by tradition or sacerdotal decree, the definition of ritual continues to change and evolve. Where once, rituals were passed down over generations through different forms such as storytelling, music and literature, today this has changed. The revival of the spa has renewed an interest in ancient rituals and ceremonies. Creators of treatments are reaching back for inspiration. Throughout history, secret rituals of health, beauty and longevity have been passed down through generations of families and today this tradition continues. You can experience incredible treatments for bath, hair and skin inspired by rituals once practised in Indigenous cultures, temples and palaces. Even the simple act of collecting ingredients and preparing them for treatments can be ceremonial. In some cultures, therapists will travel to the morning markets to hand-pick fruits, nuts, grains and flowers for their bathing and beauty rituals. By the ocean, you may observe healers

collecting ocean water, shells and rocks for sea-inspired treatments, while in the mountains, the drawing of spring water from sacred rivers for hair rinses and foot baths is considered ritualistic. Rituals by nature are spontaneous and free. They honour the fact that nothing is set in stone. All is energy and vibration. They do not need to be shrouded in silence or celebrated with solemnity. Rituals are evermoving and changing. According to many traditions, rituals are best practised with gratitude and joy. The beauty of spa rituals is they honour the present. Whether lighting a candle or incense stick or bathing your skin in water, rituals in the spa bring you into the moment. Your heart, mind and body become centric. You are here. Rituals also symbolise a return to earth. As we awaken to our earth’s natural treasures, we turn to her for inspiration. As the interest in preserving our environment expands, we request organic ingredients and treatments in our spas. No longer are we affected by the external. It’s having our feet in the earth that matters. Where once upon a time we were concerned only with our tribe and community, today our vision has expanded. Little wonder spa rituals are multicultural. Inside the spa walls there’s little distinction between religious and philosophical preferences. Spas today offer rituals that blend the best of East and West. Imagine Eastern water therapies blended before you take a Chinese massage or shiatsu. All is welcomed and all is celebrated. Relationships are integral to spa rituals.

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There have been numerous friendships formed against the backdrop of a spa. One of the delights about bathing in the hot springs in Japan is the people you meet. Laughter, chatter and sharing stories with strangers while immersed in healthful waters can be truly special. Our true nature emerges when we are in a harmonious space and deeper connections manifest. It’s often the intention behind the ritual that is significant. In India, therapists may pray silently to the gods to give them the strength and integrity to help heal their guest. Every morning in Bali, therapists place offerings made of flowers, fruits and burning incense outside their spas to bless the day ahead with a Sanskrit prayer and three splashes of holy water. Through rituals, we understand it is our intention that creates a meaningful experience — perhaps our thoughts are the best medicine of all. Rituals are also about self-empowerment. Increasingly, we realise that each of us has the answers to life within. If you look back to the origins of religion, medicine and other belief systems such as Ayurveda, you will discover they were created to encourage people to take wellbeing into their own hands. As ancient texts reveal, the purpose of life is to be self-sufficient. Infinite truth lies within each of us. Many say we are on the brink of global transformation. What we think, we create. Whether you receive rituals in a healing spa environment or create your own at home, ultimately, it’s the act of taking time for self that is most significant. After all, there really is nowhere else to be but here.

Photography: Getty Images

Words / Judy Chapman


bathing | ARTICLE

Bathing doesn’t have to be a lonely experience. Soaking in water with friends and family has been enjoyed by men and women for centuries. In Europe, public bath houses are being restored and in Asian countries such as Japan and Taiwan, shared bathing is a strong as ever. Socialising as part of the spa experience is back in vogue.


JOURNEYS OF THE SPIRIT Journeys of the Spirit organises wellness holidays, spiritual journeys and unique travel experiences for individuals and small groups, allowing them to reconnect to their wisest and highest self. Connecting with and learning from the wisdoms of Indigenous healing elders and the world’s sacred sites, attendees are led on a journey in a range of destinations including Bhutan, India, France, Spain, Peru, Cambodia, Japan and Italy.

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ounder Julie Baker works intuitively, bringing together her 34-year career in travel, tourism, mentoring and lecturing as well as her spiritual practices — yoga, meditation, shamanic and natural healing — to create opportunities for people to step away from life’s distractions and immerse themselves into the healing traditions and energy sites of this wonderful planet.

THE JOURNEYS While all journeys are different, each is fun, safe, supportive and nourishing. All travel experiences include the luxury of stunning accommodation, pampering treatments, deliciously healthy food and activities to make your spirit soar.

Each journey is handcrafted and is designed to immerse attendees into the Indigenous healing wisdoms and sacred sites of that particular destination. Journeys of the Spirit weaves internal and external experiences throughout these experiences to create an opportunity for deep transformation. Destination selections are either intuited or received in a meditation and it can take more than a year to create the final product. Sourcing, collaborating and co-creating with the elders, healers and keepers of the ancient wisdoms, Journeys of the Spirit creates a genuine healing experience that truly reflects the jewels of these wisdoms. Possible destinations include: Kerala Ayurvedic retreat, India — the birthplace of Ayurveda, the 5000-year-

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old traditional form of healing and wisdom for complete wellbeing of your spiritual, mental, physical, emotional and physiological self. The retreat features sublime treatments for two hours every day, delicious food to heal your body, yoga, meditation, pranayama, insightful conversation, inspirational company and deep relaxation. All this occurs within this nurturing paradise, which sits on a feminine-energy healing site. Bhutan — the land of “Gross National Happiness” is a magnificent kingdom, untouched by the Western world until 1999, steeped in tradition, and a living, breathing example to the world of achieving the right balance through the thoughtful attention to their spiritual culture and sacred land. On this journey, you follow the trail of Guru


Journeys of the spirit | THE WORLD

Rinpoche, as he wandered the land in the 11th century, introducing Buddhism to Bhutan. • Camino de Santiago, Spain — take an exquisite journey along this sacred pilgrimage path where you feel the energy in your heart and soul the moment you step onto the land. Enjoy food, wine, walks, boutique rural inns and cooking classes. • Japan — for thousands of years, the isolated Kumano Kodo route has been a journey of healing and deep connection in the lush mountains of Wakayama, the spiritual heartland of Japan. Stretching across the Kii Peninsula on the island of Honshu, this pilgrimage takes you off the beaten track into a world of stunning scenery, healing onsen hot springs, delicious food and authentic ryokan inns. Walk to the grand shrines through tiny villages, along pristine mountain trails shrouded by 800-year-old giant trees, enjoying the abundance of nature in its autumn glow. Note: there are only two UNESCO World Heritage walks in the world and Journeys of the Spirit does both — the Kumano Kodo in Japan and the Camino in Spain. • Peru — experience Peru with the deep wisdom shared by a Peruvian shaman and medicine man, who shares with us the significance of the seven energy points at Machu Picchu. We also visit and experience ceremony at his favourite sites, which are hidden treasures to most. Exploring the remarkable natural wonders of this very sacred land on the autumn equinox is breathtaking. • Building Dreams in Cambodia — spend five days building a home for a family in need. No building experience necessary, just a willingness to open your heart to give one of the greatest gifts you can to another human being: your time, energy, love, safety and security. Your life will be touched forever. • Aurora Borealis in Scandinavia — come dance through wild landscapes and witness the greatest light show on earth. These are just a few of the experiences that Journeys of the Spirit makes available to you. To discover the destination of your dreams, contact Julie and the team.

CONNECT WITH JOURNEYS OF THE SPIRIT W: journeysofthespirit.com.au P: 0427 766 716

E: spirit@iinet.net.au


Your retreat experience will include plenty of opportunities to indulge in some books that will nourish your mind and soul. Here are a few suggestions that you might like to toss into your bag as you head off for some R & R. Reviews / Holly Cunneen, Kate Duncan and Danielle Kirk

FOUR WAYS TO CLICK AMY BANKS WITH LEIGH ANN HIRSCHMAN, ALLEN & UNWIN This book introduces the scientifically rooted concept that your brain is relational (aka “hardwired for close relationships”) and provides a how-to guide for rewiring your brain to create healthier, happier relationships. Four Ways to Click, by author and doctor Amy Banks in collaboration with author Leigh Ann Hirschman, contains proven techniques to strengthen the brain’s neural pathways to encourage connection, intimacy and healing. Banks shows the importance of understanding moments of isolation when they arise and how to navigate through this tough terrain. With case studies, relational assessments and exercises, Four Ways to Click gives readers the tools necessary to optimise their brains’ natural inclination to connect, accept and be calm. This easy-to-use guide will help clinicians as well as anybody wishing to create a more satisfying relationship with their partner, family member, friend or colleague. KD

THE SECRETS OF THE UNIVERSE IN 100 SYMBOLS SARAH BARTLETT, EXISLE PUBLISHING London-based scholar Sarah Bartlett’s fascinating book attempts to decipher the language of symbols and signs. Before the non-believers among you begin to question this book’s esoteric nature, you must know it’s deeply rooted in ancient wisdom, takes an objective view across all cultures and separates fact from fantasy. The Secrets of the Universe in 100 Symbols is a beautifully illustrated compendium of 100 diverse tools and writings said to hold the keys to the mysteries of the universe. From the Aztec calendar stone and the Flower of Life to the Tarot, the Fibonacci sequence, hieroglyphics and the Vitruvian Man, each depiction is presented and analysed to reveal the beliefs and rituals of past civilisations. A wonderful read for the curious, this engaging and informative book highlights how to decode signs and symbols whispered by prophets, poets, philosophers and astrologers from every age and culture. KD

THE DIGESTIVE HEALTH SOLUTION BENJAMIN I BROWN, EXISLE PUBLICATIONS Do you possess alchemic digestive powers that transform minerals into intestinal gold with ease? Is your gut so robust that intolerances manifest in vitality? If you answered yes, than you must be a superhuman with a gut of steel. But if you’re a fleshy being suffering some serious human digestive discomfort, The Digestive Health Solution could be your saviour.

It seems these days that having happy gut bacteria is like sipping from the elixir of life, but how do you truly know if your gut microbe populations — all 100 trillion of them — are cheering? Benjamin Brown investigates what makes a healthy gut and which symptoms and signs tell you so. Heavily researched yet easy to digest, his book explores topics such as gluten intolerance, sugar toxins, anxiety and fatigue, offering a five-step plan involving natural medicines and evidence-based treatments to transform your gut and overall wellbeing. KD

ART THERAPY COLOURING BOOK MICHAEL O’MARA, HARDIE GRANT BOOKS Looking for a fun, simple and stress-relieving activity to accompany your morning coffee or settle the mind before sleep? Creative art therapy could be your new hobby. Adult colouring books are the new craze and, after turning over a few pages of Art Therapy Colouring Book by Michael O’Mara, we can see why. Colouring in these beautiful mandalas, repetitive patterns and geometric shapes draws you into the present moment where you can experience calmness and allow your confidence and creativity to surge without fear of mistakes or right-or-wrong techniques. By focusing on the one task of colouring, you can meditate, relax and heal as well as feel pure joy at creating stunning art. O’Mara has created something to colour for every adult, from intricate designs of feathers, lions and owls to simple seahorses and elephants. KD

A FORCE FOR GOOD DANIEL GOLEMAN, BLOOMSBURY Who isn’t familiar with the 14th Dalai Lama? Tibet’s spiritual and political leader has been travelling the globe for decades, meeting people of every social stratum, background and viewpoint, and he has developed a huge knowledge of human nature and today’s world in the process. At 80, this devout Buddhist with a profound regard for science now shares his vision of how to change the world for the better through a movement of secular compassion, exercised by each individual. It comes to us via Daniel Goleman, bestselling author of Emotional Intelligence, who sensitively and masterfully communicates his good friend’s plan for creating a force for good to counter humanity’s tendency to repeat the tragedies of the past. As well as providing an insight into the Dalai Lama’s enquiring mind, A Force for Good presents a way forward for anyone who hopes for a better world. DK

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OPENING THE DOOR OF YOUR HEART AJAHN BRAHM, HACHETTE Born and raised in the West, Ajahn Brahm became a Buddhist monk in the forest meditation tradition of Theravada Buddhism at age 23 and spent nine years studying in northeast Thailand. He’s now the abbot of Bodhinyana Monastery in Western Australia and this new edition of Opening the Door of Your Heart, first published in 2008, shares his playful tales from 30 years of living and teaching Buddhist philosophies. For a monk, Brahm has a wicked sense of humour: for example, his parable of a monk who pulled out his own tooth with pliers, which illustrates the teaching that fear is a major ingredient of pain, is titled “TM or how to transcend-dental medication”. His aim in writing this book was to convey through story the path to inner happiness. That may come with time, but for now it certainly left us soothed — and chuckling. DK

THE SOUL SEARCHER’S HANDBOOK EMMA MILDON, ATRIA PAPERBACK If you’re new to spirituality and a more holistic way of living, you might want to read The Soul Searchers Handbook: a collation of mind-bodyspirit practices written for the modern reader. Kiwi Emma Mildon has travelled widely in search of expanding experiences to slake her own thirst for spiritual knowledge, and in this handbook she introduces fellow seekers to everything from aromatherapy and meditation to spirit guides and provides ways you can incorporate each into your life. Her book isn’t for everyone, though; Mildon’s an irreverent writer who swears occasionally, gives each teaching, practice and piece of knowledge a woo-woo rating and calls downward-facing dog “ass-in-the-air position” — but that honesty’s part of her charm. DK

I WANT TO SLEEP I WANT TO BE CALM HARRIET GRIFFEY, HARDIE GRANT BOOKS For those of us who prefer to stay away from supplements and medication, I Want to Sleep and I Want to Be Calm are full of simple yet effective remedies. In our modern lives we tend to over-complicate things and staying calm and sleeping well are no exceptions. Harriet Griffey’s pocket-sized books remind us to pare things back and slow down. Mindfulness — forging a conscious connection between the body and mind — is revisited throughout, yet what sets these books apart is how Griffey’s writing clearly explores and explains each concept, making it accessible to everyone, from the ashram fanatic to the beginner yogi. Griffey’s books are visually appealing, easy to read and great resources to refer back to. HC

PEACE AND WHERE TO FIND IT CHRISTOPHER PAPADOPOULOS, NAMASTE PUBLISHING People across the ages have yearned for peace, yet conflict, both external and internal, continues. In Peace and Where to Find it, Christopher Papadopoulos encourages you to opt out of battle mode and instead tune into the peace within by awakening to your essential self and becoming present. Judging by

Photography: Getty Images

RETREAT READS


books | ARTICLE human history, that’s not as easy as it sounds; however, writing in question-and-answer format, Papadopoulos does a great job of explaining why being peace is so important, how finding internal peace can positively impact on others and what you can do to manage daily stresses, anxieties and uncertainties. As Eckhart Tolle says in the foreword, “Peace is possible, even in the midst of turmoil. It is possible because it is inseparable from who you are in your essence.” DK

ANTI-STRESS DOT-TO-DOT EMILY WALLIS, PAN MACMILLAN Anti-Stress Dot-to-Dot is not your average dotto-dot and you’ll be amazed at how easy it is, even as an adult, to get lost in the process. As an extension of the adult colouring-in books currently flooding the market, illustrator Emily Wallis uses traditional hand-drawn techniques to fill this book and create an outlet for the childish creativity burning within us all. Just as I was, you’ll be engaged and challenged by the sophisticated illustration on each page as you count your way up to 400 to reveal majestic animals, towering buildings and scenes from nature. Allow yourself the time to relax and unwind with this simple yet creative process. HC

JOURNEY OF ME: A DAILY GUIDE AMANDA McMILLAN & MICHELLE McCARTAN, WELLINEUX Living well is a conscious thing: you choose to eat healthily, exercise and cultivate helpful thoughts. But what if you don’t know where to start, or get side-tracked or seduced by old habits? That’s where Journey of Me comes in. This life-coach-in-a-diary reminds you daily of your values, purpose and goals, helping to support and inspire you — and keep you focused. It’s divided into eight month-long sections. First, you get to know yourself and create a vision, then you progress through seven “dimensions of wellness”: nutrition, movement, rest, mind, connection, finance and growth. Fitness and nutrition planners, space to chart your progress and reflect, helpful tips and inspirational quotes and imagery all make this is a great tool. DK

NEW PERSPECTIVES ON WELLNESS SYLVIA BARRETT, ACADEMY OF MIND-BODY MEDICINE In this book, Sylvia Barrett — a trained aromatherapist, massage therapist and teacher, and a graduate of mind-body medicine from Harvard Medical School — presents the case for approaching healthcare from a holistic perspective. Disease, Barrett writes, results from an unhealthy “bodymind” and she encourages people to take responsibility for their health by looking after both aspects. Section one explains how genetic inheritance, viruses and infections are the process of disease rather than the cause, and how thoughts, feelings and lifestyle can trigger disease. Section two shows how these triggers can evolve and be interpreted through the chakra energy system, and section three suggests ways to work with these triggers to treat illness. Barrett draws on current science, traditional wisdom and clinical experience, and the result may help you better manage your own health. DK


ARTICLE | prepare for your spa or retreat

BE PREPARED You will get far more out of your spa or retreat experience if you are properly prepared and have the right gear with you. Words / Judy Chapman

ESSENTIAL PREPARATION Usually your spa retreat will not have caffeine, alcohol and high-sugar and meat meals on the menu so definitely refrain from these for one week leading up to your retreat — this will greatly reduce the potentials of detox such as caffeine withdrawal headaches. Pack some healthy snacks for the plane or car trip as well, as you don’t want to munch on nasties before your cleanse. It’s worth finding out if there are any cultural taboos in the destination you are visiting. For example, in most instances, it’s not advisable to wear short skirts and sleeves in most Asian countries — you’ll feel more comfortable if you dress accordingly. If hiking is part of your retreat, then break in your walking boots. Definitely up your exercise dose, attend a few yoga classes so that you feel fairly fit and energised by the time you arrive — otherwise you may just collapse and feel exhausted for the first few days.

WHAT TO BRING Here are a few things to have on your “mustbring” list:  An open heart and mind — you never know who you will meet and what you will experience.  A journal to note down your thoughts throughout your retreat.  Yoga mat if you prefer to use your own, although most retreats will provide one (a yoga mat spray or wipes is always good as well).  Inspiring books to read (there are some suggestions earlier in this publication).  Camera/phone and charger.  A cashmere shawl or some sort of shawl for meditation.  Comfortable and casual clothes — enough outfits for a week without the need to do laundry is advisable.  Pack comfy yoga and exercise wear including trainers and hiking shoes. You need just the right mix that you can easily add on or strip off in between yoga, spa and dinner without the need to return to your room.  Hair ties and headband.  Hand-towel for yoga.  Sandals for the day. Flip flops to use in the shower are also recommended for hygiene.  Depending on your destination and

58 | WELLBEING SPA, TRAVEL & RETREAT PLANNER 2016

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the weather then, pack items such as a raincoat, down jacket, thermals and layers, lots of layers. A water bottle is recommended so you don’t need to buy plastic water bottles. Bathers, hat, sunscreen, insect repellent and sunglasses Personal care items that do not contain strong scents or perfumes as other guests may be allergic to these. Laundry soap in case you need to handwash something. If it’s a rustic type of retreat, bring shampoo, conditioner and body wash. Sacred crystals or a meaningful something to pretty up and personalise your room. If tipping is acceptable, then small currency to leave tips for spa therapists and cleaning staff.

WHAT NOT TO BRING  If you can make digital detox part of your retreat experience, then ditch all your devices — sometimes we need to disconnect so we can reconnect again. No doubt you’ll sleep better too.  You probably don’t need heels, perfume, make-up or fancy jewellery. Remember, preparation is 90 per cent of success so prepare well and your spa and retreat experience will be so much richer.

Photography: Getty Images

W

ith more than 20 years’ experience travelling to the far corners of the earth for countless spas and retreats, I guess I have learned a thing or two about the essentials to pack for your spa or retreat experience.


Photography: Getty Images

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Spa, Travel & Retreat Planner 2016  

To help you choose the spa or retreat experience that is right for you, we have gathered some of the leading spas and retreats where you can...

Spa, Travel & Retreat Planner 2016  

To help you choose the spa or retreat experience that is right for you, we have gathered some of the leading spas and retreats where you can...

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