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.
Interview with a Chinese Medicine Doctor
What inspired you to become a medical doctor and specialise in complementary medicine?
As a teenager I worked in a hospital and I was really aware of the importance of the relationship between patients and nurses and doctors. It inspired me to think about how I wanted to work in my life. When I was studying to be a doctor, we did not have the option to study complementary medicine so it was not until later, and after my own personal experience with TCM, that I started to study and practise it.
Since my teenage years I have suffered from acne. I went to so many doctors, took a lot of medication and nothing really helped. Finally I went to a homeopathic doctor who told me that my acne comes from a milk protein allergy. I was sceptic, but as I stopped eating dairy my acne went away without medication. That is what sparked my interest in complementary medicine. My goal is to combine the best of both western medicine and the Traditional Chinese Medicine to treat my patients in the best possible way.
What are guests on your Retreat therapy programme looking for?
My focus is rehabilitation so most of my patients come to me with chronic pain, joint and back problems. I also get a lot of patients for which western medicine has offered limited positive results. Thus I have people with asthmatic diseases, decreased immune system, burn-out and chronic fatigue syndrome. I also see guests that want to maintain or improve their health condition. I am a huge advocate for preventive health care so I enjoying working with the patients that come for regular treatment.
Tell us the benefits of Traditional Chinese Medicine?
Traditional Chinese Medicine has been successfully treating people for over 5000 years. The approach is different to Western medicine in that it considers the whole body's condition and then recommends quite a complex treatment - from Tuina massage, acupuncture and herbs to exercise, moxibustion, cupping, nutrition and tips for lifestyle. TCM is especially good for improving chronic diseases and also in preventive medicine. I love that in ancient China people went to the doctor and paid him when they stayed healthy. If they got sick the doctor helped but did not get paid!
The spa's indoor pool and the picture scenery surrounding Grand Park
Another popular programme at Grand Park is the Healing Caves. What are the Gastein Healing Caves and who should visit them?
When they first went looking for gold in the Radhausberg Mountain, the inhabitants of Gastein weren't to know that they would find something far more valuable: naturally occurring low levels of radon gas. This 'Tauern Gold' as it is affectionately known, combined with the caves' perfect humidity and 37-41.5°c temperature, has been scientifically- proven to help restore homeostasis in the body and strengthen the immune system. The gas, taken in through the skin and lungs, helps activate the body at a cellular level. Mild alpha radiation is released, stimulating self-healing of the body.
Scientific research has shown the treatment to be particularly beneficial to patients with musculoskeletal and joint disorders, as well as respiratory and skin diseases. Even after a long day skiing in the Alps, the healing properties of the caves can help alleviate any aches and pains. Devotees of the Gastein Healing Caves report being able to live pain-free for over a year afterwards. Many get their doctors to refer them under medical insurance for regular 'top-up' visits to the Heilstollen to enable them to be less drug- dependent.
What is included in the Grand Park Healing Caves programme and what are the benefits?
The programme includes a medical consultation from a doctor at the beginning and end of programme. Each Grand Park Healing Cavesprogramme is tailored to the individual and changes according to the concern -rheumatism diseases, arthritis or Ankylosing Spondylitis but there are 4 Gastein Cave or Heilstollen treatments and 2 radon thermal baths, 1 Tuina/Acupuncture treatment and a consultation about nutrition and lifestyle recommendations, physical treatments and exercise.
The Gastein Healving Caves
What advice and guidance do you give to your clients during their consultations?
- The most important thing is everybody should try to have a healthy, seasonal, organic diet and take regular exercise, according to your age and condition, every day. It is never too late to start
- A good night's sleep (for approx. 6-8 hours prevents you for diseases and burn-out)
- Self-development - for improving your physical and mental condition. "The Way" is the key of life. The world is full of such interesting things, why not discover it by yourselves. "For never before is the history of the world has the door of opportunity been flung so wide" (Orison Swett Marden, 1850-1924)
- Healthy emotional expression, natural self discipline as well self respect and patience are also the keys for inner happiness and success. If you think about the Bamboo, for the first four years it doesn't appear to grow at all, it just develops roots. In the fifth year it grows eighty feet. Many things in the life are like that. You might not see immediate benefit or change but if you keep trying and stay patient, eventually a tremendous success or harvest will result.
- Do not forget your humour every day. Anger or sadness decreases the power of your immune system
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.
Susan d'Arcy has been writing for the Sunday Times for over 20 years, about luxurious spas and travel. As a spa expert she enjoys sharing her tips and insights about the best therapists, spas and treatments, on her very informative, yet entertaining blog, Spa Confidential.
Interviews from leading health and fitness professionals from around the world to explore a wealth of knowledge in their areas of expertise.