Prior to becoming a naturopath, Sue Davis spent many years working in the corporate environment; this experience helped her gain invaluable insights into the multi-layered health and wellness challenges faced by busy executives. It was Sue's hectic, fast paced and ultimately unhealthy lifestyle in Hong Kong that spurred her on to retrain as a naturopath for four years in Sydney. After a successful number of years helping the elite clientele of the top ranking International Health and Wellness Resort 'Chiva-Som' in Thailand, Sue is now back on her home ground in the UK.
Interview with a Naturopath
Can you explain what being a naturopath and naturopathy treatment entails?
The naturopathic philosophy is to stimulate the healing power of the body and to treat the root cause of disease. Symptoms of disease are seen as red flags highlighting improper functioning of the body. Naturopathic medicine is the fusion of modern scientific research and the timeless wisdom of nature. It is a profound healing system that encompasses all aspects of health and truly embraces the mind-body-spirit connection. The most basic premise of naturopathy is that the body has the inherent ability to heal itself if given the right tools. These could include dietary and lifestyle correction, the concept of 'food as medicine', herbs, flower essences, nutritional supplements, detoxification and exercise.
What are the most common health benefits after a naturopathy treatment?
Naturopathy is very empowering as much emphasis is placed on education so that the person has the tools to take control of their health. Once someone understands that health doesn't just happen by chance and that it is a life-long process that involves a clear understanding of the factors that affect their health then they are in a much stronger position to achieve long term health and vitality.
Some people have a whole range of symptoms that they have been unable to address on their own or with the help of other medical practitioners. With a broad understanding of the relationship between health, life and the environment naturopaths are often able to offer a new perspective and provide safe and effective ways to restore health. Naturopathic medicine is very effective in improving quality of life for those with serious and life threatening illnesses. It works very well for those patients that are looking to combine conventional and naturopathic treatments with the aim of minimising side effects to drugs and conventional treatments.
What treatments would you recommend for clients who are stressed?
In terms of spa treatments, ESPA personalised massages are a wonderful way to relax. For those requiring something more indulgent then a Hot stone back, face and scalp for the ladies and a Stress buster for the gents are highly recommended. Meditation classes are also a great way to reduce stress, especially as a private session. Other great treatments for stress are Shiatsu massage which works on balancing and releasing energetic blocks from joints and muscles to restore vitality. For those that don't like massage, Reiki is a gentle, healing process performed while fully clothed aimed at restoring balance to mind, body and spirit.
An ESPA personalised massage
What part do herbs play in Naturopathy and how can herbs work in combination with other forms of natural medicine?
Many pharmaceuticals have been formulated by isolating an active constituent in a herb. A great example is aspirin derived from Willow Bark. Nature is very clever and doesn't tend to get things wrong so herbalists traditionally use the whole herb rather than a part. Whole plants are known to synergise and potentise an active ingredient as well as ward off any side effects common in conventional medications.
Herbs are very effective in the initial stages of a naturopathic protocol and can work quickly to help alleviate a condition. Digestive health issues and hormonal imbalances respond very well to herbs. They are prescribed either as liquid blends, tinctures or as herbal teas. Herbs are also great in treatments for stress in conjunction with meditation. Reflexology can help herbs to work more quickly and efficiently and acupuncturists routinely prescribe herbs to balance and heal the body following a treatment.
If you lived on a deserted island for one year, what seven foods would you most want to take with you?
1. The first food would already be there, the humble coconut. So versatile and excellent for good fats, protein and the isotonic properties of the coconut water.
2. Dark chocolate for antioxidants and magnesium and I'm a woman so a no brainer.
3. Quinoa working on the basis it's the only grain that's a carbohydrate and a protein plus it kept the Incas going.
4. Potatoes -surprisingly a good source of vitamin C and excellent for making fat chips
5. Almonds - good for calcium
6. Extra Virgin Olive Oil - good source of omegas and needed for the fat chips
7. Red wine - for antioxidants and to relieve the inevitable boredom
Can you name a few examples of common ailments or problems that can be treated by a naturopath and how?
Digestive health issues respond particularly well to naturopathic intervention. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a common ailment with stress as the root factor. Advice will include practical ways to reduce stress levels including relaxing abdominal breathing techniques, yoga, regular massage and meditation. Inflammation of the digestive tract is often present and this is addressed through 'healing and sealing' of the digestive tract with soothing demulcent herbs such as Slippery Elm and Aloe Vera. Oily fish two to three times a week or fish oil supplementation will be recommended for the Omega 3 anti-inflammatory properties. Food intolerances may be an issue particularly if the integrity of the gut lining is compromised so a finger prick blood test may be performed in the consultation to detect for food antibodies. Probiotics to restore friendly gut bacteria and digestive enzyme supplements for the efficient breakdown of proteins, fats and carbohydrates may be necessary to help the body better assimilate nutrients and build healthier cells. Those with big coffee habits will be cajoled to switch to soothing chamomile and peppermint teas.
As a Naturopath much emphasis is placed on the digestive health as we very much believe 'you are how you digest'. You can have the best diet in the world but if your digestion is compromised you won't reap the full benefits.
Feeling tired all the time (TATT) is another common complaint that responds well to naturopathy. Some initial blood tests may be required from the person's doctor to rule out any thyroid problems or anaemia. Emphasis would again be placed on improving the overall digestive health to promote better energy production. The liver is a governing organ for energy so cleansing herbs, juices and foods such as beetroot, proven to generate nitric oxide and stamina would be prescribed. White refined carbohydrates such as bread, pizzas, baguettes, pasta, potatoes and white rice often form the bulk of a person's daily dietary habits and these can swing blood sugars causing a person to feel extremely tired. To break this cycle each meal would need to include some type of protein together with complex carbohydrates and beneficial fats. B-Complex supplementation would be prescribed as well as my favourite recommendation of supergreens powder which is a powdered blend of wheatgrass, barleygrass, chlorella, nettles, sea greens and other green dried superfoods. Both of these create more energy.
Relaxing in a hydrotherapy pool and receiving a leg massage
Tell us about a client that you most enjoyed helping any why?
My favourite client was a very busy events organiser in his mid 50's based in Hong Kong. He would regularly visit Chiva Som in Thailand for 2 weeks at a time. The first time he arrived he was very overweight, with a poor complexion, bloating, very stressed and completely burn out from flying all over Asia. He didn't have time for exercise, was an insomniac and tended to eat all the wrong things at all the wrong times due to the nature of his job. His blood pressure and cholesterol were very high.
From a practitioner's view point this was damage control at the extreme, however, it is never too late to create positive health changes especially when an individual has identified the need for help and this chap was willing to consider anything if it meant he would look and feel better.
Initially I worked on correcting his poor dietary habits providing him with tips and advice that were practical and achievable for his erratic lifestyle. He undertook a cleansing detox programme at the start of his stay to give his liver some support, normalise his digestion and create some motivational weight loss. Heavy duty exercise is not recommended during a cleanse so this provided the perfect opportunity for him to rest and recharge and normalise his sleeping patterns.
After the detox and for the rest of his stay he ate a balanced daily diet of good quality protein, fruit and vegetables. He exercised with the physiotherapist in the swimming pool in the mornings to protect his joints and back and in the afternoon either did interval training in the gym or went for long brisk walks. This combination proved to be a winner and he had lost 7kg by the time he left. His blood pressure had normalised and blood tests revealed much improved cholesterol levels.
Once home he hired a personal trainer and became more organised with his food, often taking his own snacks on planes or by simply making better choices. We had talked about the 80/20 rule meaning 80% of the time he followed the plan and 20% of the time he could relax and eat anything he fancied. This worked well as it ruled out denial and cravings, the downfall of most diets. Two years later and with regular trips to the resort I was greeted with the question 'Would you like to see my six pack?'
What's the most significant thing you've learnt about your health over the course of your career?
That my body likes routine and if I swerve away from regular good habits then I'll pay for it with poor sleep and lower energy levels.
Why do you think alternative therapies like naturopathy are becoming more popular?
I think there is a general air of disillusionment with the healthcare service and that people are becoming more wary of prescribed pharmaceuticals that often carry unwanted side effects. Articles on natural health are becoming more mainstream in popular magazines and newspapers so people know that they can take Echinacea to ward off a cold or drink more water to cure a headache. If they venture to see a naturopath they are guaranteed at least an hour to focus on themselves rather than the 3 minutes allocated by a time poor GP.
What are your top health, lifestyle and diet tips?
Start each morning with ½ lemon squeezed in warm water to cleanse, alkalise and initiate digestion. Add a thumb size piece of fresh grated ginger to improve circulation and alleviate bloating then stir in a teaspoon of manuka honey to keep the immune system happy.
If you had to recommend one simple lifestyle change we could make, what would it be?
Switch off all technological equipment before going to bed. Electro-smog from technology builds up in our bodies so it is not a good idea to use your mobile phone as alarm. Televisions should be switched off at the plug in bedrooms and Wi-Fi should be off when not in use. You will sleep better for it.
View our Luxury Spa Breaks for further inspiration.
Deniz Susever is a Watsu-Tantsu-WATA (water dance), EFT practitioner and Yoga Teacher at Kempinski Barbaros Bay. She began her journey of alternative therapies and healing energies in 1997. After being introduced to yoga as a guest she decided to go to Rishikesh (India) and became a yoga teacher, she also has studied Integrative Massage in India. Deniz has excellent charisma in Watsu (Water-Shiatsu), Tantsu (Watsu on land) and Water dance (WATA) Therapy training in India. The last six years she has been a Vipassana Meditator.
Interview with a Watsu Practitioner
What inspired you to study alternative therapies and remedies?
I started my journey of alternative therapies and healing energies with Reiki, and I discovered that everyone of us has a healing power. Being in a position to provide healing for clients and also myself has filled me with tremendous happiness. Reiki has enhanced my interest in the workings of the human body, and the energies which surround us and are also within us.
What is Watsu and how is it similar to Tantsu?
Watsu is a fusion of water and shiatsu is a form of body massage performed while floating in warm water. It combines the therapeutic benefits of warm water and Zen Shiatsu, Yoga, Alexander Technique and Meditation. Tantsu is Watsu on land. There's no set pattern to the movements and there is stretching, wavelike movement of the water, the breath and heart connection, stillness and cradling throughout the session like on Watsu.
As a waterdance therapist, do you feel water is an important element when it comes to healing?
Water is a miraculous element which transforms and heals the person physicaly, physiologicaly and psychologically. Waterdance is combined with underwater movements reminiscent of the womb and creates a tremendously healing experience. The water itself carries teachings that can actually support and nurture extraordinary relaxation by encouraging effortless insight into ourselves.
WATA (waterdance) is a unique form of bodywork, can you describe how it works?
Waterdance is a form of aquatic bodywork like Watsu, it begins on the surface. Then the receiver is given a nose clip and step by step is gently guided under the water. The session incorporates elements of massage, dolphin and snake movements, rolls, somersaults, inversions and dance. The effects are physical release such as joint mobilisation and can encourage deep states of relaxation.
The Watsu pool at Kempinski Barbaros Bay
As an EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) practitioner can you describe this technique and how it is beneficial?
EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) combines Acupressure and Affirmation Techniques which works by neutralizing disruptions in the body's electrical system, then stops the chemical chain reaction and frees the person from emotional and physical discomforts. New or old emotional upsets, life long phobias, compulsive behaviors and unhealthy patterns can often be released easily. These techniques are so gentle, rapid and startlingly effective.
Why is integrative massage so beneficial and how is it different to other massage therapies?
Integrative Massage is done by applying oil which cleanses and relaxes the body. This massage contains 3 parts: in the first part, we awaken the body by pressing the important points which we call "marma". After that, by applying oil we stimulate the lymphatic system and detoxify and strenghten the muscles, joints and ligaments. In the last part, we increase the flexibility and the energy level of the body with some passive static stretching exercises.
Can you describe Klang massage and what makes it distinctive?
Nepal's traditional sound massage (Klang Massage) is applied with special bowls produced from an alloy of 16 different materials. Before the session we determine the chakras we are going to work on and we work on every chakra with their colour one by one. The person can explore the self-regeneration and self-treatment power of the body with sound vibrations.
What is Vipassana Meditation and how is it beneficial?
Vipassana, which means to see things as they really are is one of India's most ancient techniques of meditation. It was taught in India more than 2,500 years ago as a universal remedy for universal ills, i.e., an Art of Living. In Vipassana Meditation one experiences that everything is passing away. In our life, pain or pleasure is also impermanent, so no need to generate attachment or craving for something which gives pleasure and no need to generate anger or hatred for something which makes pain. When we see things as they are, we can live life in peace and harmony.
Meditation at Kempinski Barbaros Bay
What inspired you to become a yoga teacher?
When I encountered Yoga in 2000, I was living in a small town (Kas) in Turkey. We were gathering with some friends and doing yoga asanas and some pranayama techniques. I was working as a diving instructor at that moment which is why I was very familiar about explaining the postures and some details like in the diving courses. My friends were encouraging me to become a yoga teacher and I tried some of the yoga styles like Kundalini, Ashtanga, Iyengar, Vinyasa during these years. Afterwards I visited Rishikesh (where yoga was born) and ended up learning with traditional Hatha yoga which I like a lot because each pose is like deep meditation.
Kempinski Barbaros Bay offers a wide range of treatments, with your training in yoga, massage and waterdance therapies, how well do guests respond to these?
Our guests are very lucky, because we give them all special care and try our best to offer the highest levels of satisfaction. They understand the importance of relaxation and the healing effects of holistic therapies. They are very open to try new therapies like Watsu, Waterdance or Aqua Reflexology.
Stress has become prevalent in society, what top tips do you have to reduce stress?
Practise meditation ,yoga asanas (postures), and keep your inner smile on and think positively. After work take a warm shower or bath before you sleep. Eat healthy super foods (like spirulina, wheatgrass and sprouted seeds) Drink chamomile or melissa tea, walk barefoot in the grass and listen to classical music Start the day by laughing before you get up from the bed - dance and sing!
For more information visit Kempinski Barbaros Bay.
Tim Bishop is an advanced Personal Trainer who specialises in circuit training, torso training and core stability. He's also a fire fighter in the London Fire Brigade, an excellent Boxing and Kettle bell instructor, who dedicates time to passing on his knowledge of fitness training and nutrition to others. Tim runs flexible fitness retreats and boot camps at Buccament Bay in the Caribbean. After completing his gruelling commando training, Tim went on to give sterling service of 8 years in the Royal Marines. In addition to his war fighting role he has also took part in various sporting activities and competitions, as well as taking circuits for recruits and trained soldiers.
Dr Liane Weber is a General Physician and an internationally-trained Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) doctor. She is one of the medical Consultants at Grand Park in Austria as well as at the nearby Gastein Healing Caves where she is renowned for her work with rheumatism. At Grand Park Dr Weber offers the popular "Retreat" therapy which combines Tuina massage and low-dose laser acupuncture to restore balance, improve energy and blood flow, strengthen the immune system and promote emotional wellbeing.
Dr. Manuela Figini
Dr. Manuela Figini is a highly accomplished Medical Doctor at Longevity Wellness Resort in Portugal, with an extensive knowledge in Aesthetic, preventive and ageing management. She has an impressive medical background of 40 years' experience and is the Clinical Director of the Longevity Medical Spa practice, where she is responsible for all the medical aspects of each programme and discipline, covering areas such as acupuncture, ozone therapy and aesthetic medicine. She taught pathology at the College of Nursing, was the resident doctor at Vila Real Hospital, and studied Oral and Maxillo Facial Surgery. She also holds qualifications in Acupuncture, Aesthetic Medicine, Anti- Ageing Medicine and Ozone Therapy
Toby Maguire is the Master Practitioner at The BodyHoliday in St. Lucia. He has been practicing the healing arts of the east for nearly twenty years and has spent 13 years living in south east Asia where he studied acupuncture, massage, Tai Chi, Qi Gong and meditation. In addition, he has studied an MA in Holistic Wellness, holds a diploma in nutrition and has worked as both a Health and Wellness Consultant and Practitioner at some of the top destination spas in the world including Chiva Som, Mandarin Oriental and Six Senses.
Dr. Elaine Williams
Elaine Williams is qualified in Osteopathy, Naturopathy, Acupuncture, Reflexology, Aromatherapy and Advanced Massage. She has been the recent winner of the Spa Traveller "Top UK Spa Therapist" award and was voted by the Telegraph as one of the top ten therapists in the world. Elaine is also a registered general Nurse and has a Bachelors (BSC) in Psychology. She previously taught at the International College of Aromatherapy in London and spent two years at the Osteopathic Centre for Children in London, where she specialised in Cranial Osteopathy. Elaine started at Grayshott Spa twenty years ago and is now the Director of Natural Therapies, in which she is responsible for expanding the range of holistic treatments and for the training of all therapists.
Interview with a Master Practitioner
What originally inspired you to pursue and learn about all the holistic and natural therapy treatments?
I was originally inspired to pursue Complementary Medicine therapies in order to help friends and acquaintances when Conventional Medicine had nothing of help to offer. As I learnt more I became totally fascinated, enrolled to train as an osteopath and continue to study as there is so much of interest to learn in this field.
How can reflexology pin-point imbalances in the body?
Reflexology pin-points imbalances in the body using a reflex map on the foot. Specific areas of the feet have been found to correspond to specific areas of the body. By gently palpating the foot the therapist can feel changes in the tissue texture and tension over areas where an organ or structure may not be functioning to its full potential. It is common for the client to simultaneously experience tenderness on this area of the foot as it is pressed should a problem exist.
Can you explain what Naturopathy is and what are the core benefits?
Naturopathy is using a non pharmacological approach to restore the body to health as long as this is appropriate for the presenting problem. It largely employs the modalities of correctional nutrition, hydrotherapy and structural treatments such as osteopathy and massage. The aim is to increase the vitality of the person and to remove any obstructions to recovery.
What is involved in an Osteopathy treatment and what type of problems can it help with?
An osteopathic treatment will begin with an assessment of the whole structure, particularly the spine. It is commonly used to treat back pain, whiplash, and limb problems such as tennis elbow, sprained ankle or painful hips. Additionally there is a branch of osteopathy known as visceral osteopathy, which is dedicated to the treatment of organs and can help with conditions such as asthma or digestive problems. Once a diagnosis of imbalance has been made the treatment may consist of soft tissue manipulation where muscles, tendons or ligaments may be treated. Joints may be articulated or sometimes techniques such as High Velocity Thrusts may be applied which are the techniques that people know as 'having their bones cracked'.
How can people benefit from acupuncture and can the needles hurt?
Acupuncture treatments are designed to restore functioning to the body when a health problem exists. It has been found to assist with a multitude of heath problems from digestive disturbances to skin problems, asthma, hormonal imbalances, back pain, anxiety and stress related conditions. The needles are very fine and are more like little hairs than needles. It is common not to feel any sensation from the needle at all as it is inserted, however the more acupuncture one receives and the healthier one becomes, the more likely it is that a slight ache is experience in the point after needling it.
Is there one specific therapy that you use the most when treating back problems?
For back problems I tend to favour osteopathy or acupuncture depending on the problem.
How can people benefit from a detox and what are the best treatments to use?
People can generally benefit from a detox as it enables the body to clear accumulated toxins which will in turn increase vitality. Many treatments are helpful for detox; at the spa we favour specific nutritional approaches combined with hydrotherapy baths, blitz, massages, particularly the Lymphatic Stimulation Massage, and Thai foot treatment.
For clients looking to lose weight, along with the right diet and exercise programme which spa treatments can help?
Weight loss is always more effective when combined with exercise and detoxification so the treatments listed above are effective as are the mud treatments and acupuncture.
At Grayshott Spa, which holistic therapy do you find your clients request the most for stress?
For stress Cranial Osteopathy is a popular choice as it relaxes the whole nervous system. Oriental Wisdom and holistic massage are popular choices along with Blissful Slumber, a massage designed to help overcome insomnia. Hypnotherapy is also fabulous for calming the mind.
What are the key benefits of Aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy can have a wide range of applications as the therapeutic essential oils do a lot of the work. The oil blends are applicable to a wide range of health problems including hormonal problems, insomnia, digestive disturbances and muscle strains to name a few. It is exquisitely relaxing thus fabulous for combating stress, it assists the circulation and aids lymphatic drainage and a further benefit is that the oils leave one's skin feeling fabulous.
Tell us your top 3 health and fitness tips?
- Strive for a balanced diet, including a minimum of seven portions of fruit and vegetables per day (greater than the government guidelines I know!)
- Aim for at least 15minutes of exercise per day, which can be as simple as going for a short walk or putting on some much-loved music and dancing
- Finally, be kind to yourself with your thoughts. Can you manage to get through a whole hour without criticising yourself once? Few people can. Be aware of your thoughts and replace criticism with kindness for yourself, you will become much calmer.
For more information visit Grayshott Spa.
Dr Shijoe Mathew
Dr Shijoe Mathew is the Ayurvedic Physician at Ananda in the Himalayas. He has practised and learnt Ayurveda under many eminent scholars in regions all over India, after studying its principles at Vishnu Ayurveda Medical College. During this time, he came across a traditional family practising Ayurvedic toxicology treatments from which he learnt the traditional art of Ayurvedic pulse examination. He was inspired to discover this traditional medicine growing up in the spiritual town of Kerala, and by his great-uncle, who was an Ayurvedic eye doctor.
Marco Baoia is the lead organiser and trainer of the Epic Sana Sayanna Reshape in Portugal and has a wealth of knowledge in bootcamp training, having been a part of the fitness industry since 1988. During this time he has covered many different training methods and has successfully trained in England, Ireland, Germany and Portugal. Marco works with a truly holistic approach and is always results orientated; aiming to get the best out of each and every individual he works with. His overriding wish is to provide his clients with the information they need to lead a healthier lifestyle.
Interviews from leading health and fitness professionals from around the world to explore a wealth of knowledge in their areas of expertise.