A qualified nurse with experience in intensive care, Sally Halstead left the world of conventional medicine to pursue healing of a different kind. She has combined her skills and compassionate nature and made a conscious shift into the wellness world, using a wide range of therapies to help people on their journey to a happier, healthier life. Sally chats with CompareRetreats.com about why she left conventional medicine to pursue alternative practices.
What drew you to wellness healing from your medical background? I had become disillusioned over time with the conventional medical world. I was still searching for wellness but I knew I didn’t want to achieve it through chemical medicines and surgical procedures.
Alternative medicine offers preventative rather than curative centric strategies, root rather than symptom-focused assessment, and natural herbal medicines and lifestyle changes which support my system rather than cause it extra issues. I still see a place for conventional medicine and I use it when needed, but for most of my wellness needs, I use natural medicine.
What are the key factors in achieving a successful detox? Eating clean and eliminating processed foods is key, as is ensuring you drink plenty of high-quality fluids (preferably spring sourced water, organic herbal teas, bone-broth from grass-fed animals, fresh-pressed juices).
During a detox, it’s important to sweat and move in a mindful way: yoga, Pilates, and qi gong are all great. Engage in treatments to facilitate lymph movement and circulation, such as a manual lymph drainage massage. Regular bowel movements, via colonic hydrotherapy or gentle and natural supplements, encourage detoxification through the large intestine. But the most important element and the one with the greatest potential impact is de-stress. Learn what techniques and tools offer you the most relief, and be unrelenting in making them a priority in your life.
What are some of your own detox tips? I try to follow intermittent fasting to keep my natural daily detox system running well. I make sure that I am not feeding all day long, and have a break from eating for at least 12 hours every day. I listen to my body and do not have any pre-determined expectations for when meal times should be. Every three months or so, I usually do a deeper cleanse. Sometimes I just need an easy cleanse, and will do a clean diet, cutting out high-allergen foods or those I know I am slightly sensitive to, but still like to eat sometimes.
What helps you hit the re-set button and recharge after a stressful situation? In my experience, the top things that help to reset from chaos to calmness are:
- Moving your body: using any form of movement helps get out or your brain.
- Moving your mind: do something you really love.
- Relaxing tired, stressed muscles with a soothing massage, yogic stretches or Pilates.
- Pranayamas are excellent, instant de-stressing tools: just 10 to 15 minutes of practice easily resets you.
What healthy habits have you integrated into your daily life? Exercise, mindful eating, sleep hygiene and an early bed time, breathing exercises, relaxation techniques, cultivating self-awareness, letting go, being more patient, gratitude, loving more, enjoying the process of life, aligning with and connecting to the universe as much as I can, accepting personal responsibility for the results of my life.
What advice do you have for people looking to adopt a healthy sleeping routine? Sleeping well directly affects your mental and physical health and the quality of your waking life. Fall short and it can take a serious toll on your daytime energy, productivity, emotional balance, and even your body weight.
Try to go to sleep and get up at the same time every day. Avoid stimulants in the evening and opt for a light, early dinner. I tend not to drink too many liquids within three hours of bedtime, and avoid bright lights from electronic devices late in the evening, staying clear of late night TV, reading, and mobile phone usage.
What makes a wellness experience at COMO Shambhala holistic? Our attention to all aspects of being of our guests. We know that symptoms are often physical, but root causes are often emotional, or stress-related. We delve deep into the emotional being of guests and ask them to face themselves. We create experiences that unlock emotions, which whilst sometimes challenging, help to process and move on.
How is Ayurveda integrated into the wellness programmes at COMO retreats? Ayurveda is one of the oldest holistic health care systems known to mankind, has a natural, all-inclusive approach towards total wellness. As opposed to just identifying the symptoms and suppressing them, Ayurveda aims at de-rooting the maladies. Its health philosophy is very much in line with the wellness concept that we follow here.
How does the environment around the estate help to promote wellness? COMO Shambhala Estate’s environment is a natural sensory delight. The immense greenery helps to stimulate relaxation and healing through the eyes. The trees and plants create the purest of air to breathe. The natural holy-water spring located in Kedara, our water gardens, provides a beautiful source of fresh, mineralised water throughout the property. Moderate intake of the glorious sunshine raises spirits and resets circadian rhythms.
Could you tell us about the health and wellness practitioners guests have access to at COMO resorts? We draw upon the talent and expertise of wellness practitioners from all fields. At COMO Shambhala, Amy Buck, our registered Pilates teacher, helps guests focus on the synergy between mind and body, while Dr Vasanth, our Ayurvedic Consultant, shares his expertise on stress management gained from more than 17 years of therapeutic yoga practice, and Nancy Kim, an oriental medicine consultant, uses acupuncture to help guests focus on preventive strategies. In our Maalifushi property in the Maldives, nutritionist Eve Persak brings her unique experience to guests in person and through her nutrition editorship of COMO’s own cookbook.