GET WITH THE PROGRAM
Bypass the cocktails and consider a little detox on your next break, suggests Judy Chapman
AIt will be fresh green coconut water, organic juices and raw veggies only, if you check in for a three or seven-night detox in a luxury retreat at Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui in Thailand. Stay in sea-facing luxury villas, residences or estates, each boasting an infinity pool, with classy services at one’s beck and call. Treatments, customised for each guest, are designed to improve digestion, promote healthy metabolism, stabilise sugar levels and shed excess weight. Supportive experiences include chi nei tsang ‘‘ abdominal cleansing massage’’ plus educational seminars and private daily yoga sessions.
A bonus for those who want to continue the cleansing diet at home is the take-away eight-day Eco-Diet program, which includes recipes and tips. Otherwise, splurge on organic treatments such as tangerine and black sesame facials, crystal-infused massages and indigenous coconut scrubs. www.fourseasons.com. Eco-dinners under the stars, tropical alcoholfree cocktail and fresh coconut juices at sundown at the cool 360 bar. At Phuket Pavilions, a new era in wellness retreats has been born. Consider the five-day Ultimate Purification Program while staying in a luxury villa with private infinity pool. Start the day with Puriti Super Pure Power Wheatgrass and Burdock Shake to neutralise toxins, support your liver and increase vitality, and in the afternoons receive detoxifying treatments such as cleansing salt scrubs and poolside massages.
Puriti Programs for Life, founded by Deborah Williamson, a British herbalist, and Marcus Williamson, a former banker turned wellness practitioner, enable guests to learn first hand about the benefits of juicing, body purification and wellbeing.
The retreat includes beach walks, horseriding, yoga and slow-movement exercises. www.phuketpavilions.com. Co-create your health tonics while learning about the latest trends in healthy cuisine from chefs as they work during the cleansing programs at the luxurious Como Shambhala Estate in Ubud, Bali. Set against a backdrop of lush forest and sacred rivers, the programs are designed with tissue and organ cleansing in mind and work on the lymphatic system, liver, kidney and skin. Tailor-made packages include health consultations, colonic hydrotherapy and prescribed herbal cleansers. www.comoshambhala.bz. Rustic chic meets ashram living at Funkey Forest, a mountain retreat set on 80ha in northern NSW. Accommodation is dorm style or pitch your own tent; the three-day program of pure silence set in virgin nature has guests returning year after year. A maximum of 13 guests take part in daily meditation, gentle yoga, forest walks and cleansing organic green juices hand-blended by the on-site naturopath. A team of facilitators is also on hand to ensure the experience is safe and nurturing, but be prepared for initial symptoms such as fatigue as you withdraw from coffee, tea, sugar and dairy. www.funkeyforest.com. ‘‘ After the initial 48-hour dip of caffeine and sugar withdrawal, rejuvenation kicks in and NEW breed of life-shaping detox experiences is on the menu at reputable destinations in the AsiaPacific region. Forget sterile white clinics and an air of deprivation: detox retreats are increasingly luxurious and customised. From five-star luxury hotels to eco-chic and ashram-style, pleasure and leisure are now part of the cure.
Reduce your carbon footprint at Six Senses Destination Spa, opening this month in Thailand. Everything served on your plate will be grown on the island or caught fresh from the surrounding ocean. Inside the ecosensitive villas, guests have their own herb gardens to make up teas and bath blends. Six Senses — a cluster of Chinese, Indonesian, Ayurvedic and Thai medicine huts — is being touted as the premier spa for the 21st century. For a well-rounded retreat, book the 14-night Life Passage that includes holistic diagnostics, colonic hydrotherapy and wellness treatments. There’s a secluded compound of six villas for silent retreats. www.sixsenses.com.
FIVE-STAR JUICE FAST
FAST IN SILENCE
GOLD COAST REJUVENATION
you’ll depart feeling sensational,’’ says Sharon Kokhla, general manager of Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat. The monthly Gwinganna Detox remains the most popular retreat at this Queensland property. Tailored to groups of up to 50, expect seven vigorous days of optional activities on the hour-plus sunrise bushwalks, lifestyle seminars and spa therapies. Organic meals are free of sugar, dairy, coffee and alcohol, and are served at long communal tables to encourage conversation between guests.
Holistic offerings include blood analysis and other diagnostic procedures.
Gwinganna recently unveiled its new Spa Sanctuary of two spa suites built around a spring-fed billabong with a treatment menu bursting with organic treatments. Book the signature ritual and therapist Stephen McGuiness might play the didgeridoo as part of the package. www.gwinganna.com.
Voluntourism’’ is part of the retreat experience at Shreya’s, one of India’s newest luxurious yoga retreats, where guests help others while healing themselves. Set on a tranquil estate not far from Bangalore, Shreya’s accommodation ranges from wellappointed cottages to elegant tents (all with broadband connections, but no television). Food is strictly vegetarian and no alcohol is served. It is the Corporate Social Responsibil- ity initiatives that leave guests most inspired. Learn about permaculture and the future of sustainable agriculture while you help out in the organic garden or, even better, cook and serve food to the local children. Solar heating, rainwater harvesting and organic gardens add to the eco-atmosphere. Year-round wellness retreats, daily yoga, meditation and chanting plus time-tested Ayurvedic treatments for rejuvenation of mind, body and soul. www.shreyasretreat.com.
Among India’s new crop of Ayurvedic wellness retreats, Kalari Kovilakom, set in an ancient but restored palace, offers authentic detox programs. Ayurveda, when managed correctly, does wonders for promoting health and longevity.
Most popular is the 28-day anti-ageing Rasayana Chikitsa, said to counter cellular degeneration. Two weeks of detoxification is followed by a series of rejuvenating treatments, warm oil massages and herbs. Many of the fruits and herbs are plucked from the surrounding gardens. Exercise disciplines include yoga and martial arts; many of them improve suppleness and alleviate stiffness and joint pain.
There are also therapeutic meditations and slow-movement exercises. The regal suites have four-poster beds, 1930s tiling and handpainted frescoes. www.kalarikovilakom.com.
CONVERT TO RAW
While a raw salad and juice diet is not for everyone, living food, when managed correctly, can benefit insomnia and digestive problems and boost energy levels. At the Farm at San Benito in The Philippines the philosophy is ‘‘ Let food be your medicine, medicine be your food’’, and it provides a lush environment to resolve chronic health conditions. Accommodation caters to various budgets and styles and the medical focus is supported by a landscape of holistic treatments, colon hydrotherapy and kidney, liver and gallbladder cleansing.
There’s traditional and machine-based diagnostic therapies, all geared towards prevention and cure of acute and chronic degenerative diseases. In addition, lectures by medical doctors and food preparation classes present information on how to integrate part or all of the raw food lifestyle at home. www.thefarm.com.ph.
PURE AND SIMPLE
Learn how to give time-honoured Thai massage when you check in for a fasting program at the Spa Samui resorts on Koh Samui and Koh Chang islands in Thailand. Sleep in affordable jungle bungalows or beach shacks and embark on a rigorous schedule of daily colonics, detox drinks, vegetable broths and herbal supplements. The seven-day clean-me-out program puri- fies the liver and blood and strengthens the immune system. There are also inspiring lectures on healthy living, raw food preparation, yoga, chi kung and a Thai massage school. Spa treatments, customised for deep cleansing, include herbal clay wraps and Thai herbal steam baths. Alternative healthboosting retreats include liver flush. www.spasamui.com.
Do your body good with nutritional shakes, homeopathic remedies and individually prescribed juices that reportedly work at a cellular level. Considered the next generation of retreats, Kamalaya on Koh Samui island provides a joyous atmosphere for getting well. Doctors work alongside other health practitioners and local healers to help guests achieve optimum wellbeing. The regular Essential Detox Retreat teaches participants how to release unwanted emotional patterns around food. Cures include purifying herbal scrubs, infrared saunas and supplements. ‘‘ This retreat supports you in your personal goals of losing or gaining weight,’’ reports wellness director Karina Stewart. ‘‘ Expect physical and mental rebalance, improved digestion and a sense of peace.’’ Accommodation ranges from rustic abodes to beach villas and spa facilities, include open-air hot and cold plunge pools and massage huts overlooking a small cove. www.kamalaya.com.
After a six-month refurb, Chiva Som International Health Resort at Hua Hin, south of Bangkok, has unveiled 19 additional treatment rooms. The new wellness director, Anthony Perillo, who studied with Deepak Chopra, is introducing a personalised approach that will set a new benchmark in the industry. Perillo says the future of wellness is accessing each guest through health tests, followed by a personal prescribed diet, yoga, fitness and even emotional healing. New here is a holistic health retreat with a focus on traditional Chinese medicine and tailored to those with chronic health conditions who want to investigate unexplained symptoms or seek alternatives to conventional medicine. www.chivasom.com. Judy Chapman’s most recent book is UltimateSpa (Periplus). www.judychapman.biz.
Rest and recuperate: Clockwise from main picture, Chiva Som International Health Resort; Six Senses Destination Spa; Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat; Kamalaya on Koh Samui