Want to know what we can expect from the world of wellness in 2020? From earthing to wardrobe edits - here's 16 top tips from our local experts...
Bear with us on this one but 2020 may just be about slipping off our (muddy) stilettos and going barefoot. Here’s the mini science lesson – did you know that when your body is in direct contact with the earth, without a barrier like shoes or carpet, (aka ‘earthing’) and you’re barefoot outside – it can have a positive impact on your health. The benefit comes from the transfer of electrons from the earth to your feet. Just a few of the recognized benefits from earthing include the regulation of cortisol (your body’s main stress hormone) and improvement of sleep. Yes, really!
Sarah Maxwell, an award-winning health and fitness coach who is based in Cranbrook with a local and international client database, is all for it, ‘I know this may sound ridiculous to some of you but I have been doing it for a while now and it really helps when anxiety hits. I stand on the grass or stone patio and breathe in and out of my nose (mouth closed) for a few minutes and I feel calmer very quickly. My son has always insisted on going bare feet whenever he can, long dog walks, putting the bins out etc, now I know why.’ sarahmaxwell.com
A wardrobe edit
Studies have proven the huge psychological power of clothing and how the right choices can influence a person’s wellbeing. We’re not saying anything as simplified as looking good makes you happy – but equally there’s lots of evidence that the effects of waking up every day to a full wardrobe and yet nothing to wear – or feeling under-confident after having children, or returning to the workplace should not be underestimated.
Personal stylist Becky, founder of Becky’s Wardrobe, says: ‘There are real tangible benefits to self-care and boosting your self-esteem. When my clients experience the clarity of having a wardrobe edit there tends to be many positive cathartic knock on effects.’ By being mindful about the things you have – and planning what you need – you are saving yourself time and money in the long-run. And there is no doubt you can get a huge mental lift as a result. beckyswardrobe.com
Mental health through movement
Today, more than 12 million people practice Pilates, which offers a number of both physical benefits when practiced regularly as an exercise routine, and now it is becoming increasingly used to combat mental health issues as practitioners help their clients release trauma that it becomes trapped in the cells and soft tissue creating aches and pains. This plays a large part in Ismini Phillips’ work, who owns her own studio in Tonbridge where she offers one-to-one Pilates classes for rehabilitation and healthcare, as well as providing support for mums-to-be, people with breast cancer, and those with neurological conditions, along with the more traditional classes.
As Ismini explains: ‘I often work with clients to release trauma, derived from physical or emotional incidents, which becomes trapped in their bodies that they might not even be aware of, and help them to release these issues by becoming more aware of themselves through movement. Sometimes, a client will share something that happened to them during their lifetime, which suddenly popped into their head whilst they are doing a specific movement; the trauma may be trapped in the part of the body that they are moving at that time and triggers a memory which they can then let go of as part of the self healing process. I am also very conscious about how the modern digital world can cause problems. I encourage my clients to be social and join in regular group classes so they can form friendships within the real world.’ isminiphillips.com
Thousands of years before western science provided evidence for a body and mind connection, the sages of India developed Ayurveda, which continues to be one of the world’s most sophisticated healing methods.
And you can find various forms of this ancient Ayurvedic therapy out here in the sticks, well at Shambala Wellness & Spa at Hever Hotel to be precise. From Abhyangam oil application massage (aimed at releasing deeply seated negativity) to Pinda massage for releasing back pain and muscle tension – this hidden gem of a spa near Tonbridge/Sevenoaks specialises in a whole host of Ayurvedic treatments that you might normally only find at London spas. Stress-busting, spa-time blissss. shambalaspa.co.uk
People are looking for more than just weight loss and toning so maintaining your wellbeing and balance continues to be a key Wellness trend for 2020. Kathryn Freeland, personal trainer to the stars and the Founder of Stede Court Private Fitness Retreat just outside Biddenden, incorporates mindfulness into every aspect of her training with clients, which is easy to do when you have seven acres to roam and explore.
‘People are aware that stress and not sleeping well also have a detrimental effect on their life, body and mind which is why meditation and daily mindfulness are becoming increasingly common within get-fit routines as people move away from the formalized gym environment. I like to use our outdoor sauna to relax or meditate in and then encourage my clients to jump into our outdoor eco-pond as an invigorating way to lift their spirits afterwards. It’s hard not to emerge from the pond without a triumphant smile on your face.’ stedecourtprivatefitnessretreat.co.uk
A study by Tenovus Cancer Care, and its network of Sing with Us Choirs, shows how much singing can benefit the brain as well as the body with the results revealing statistically significant improvements in social function, mental health and a reduction in perceived pain. It also reduced anxiety and depression among those who had previously suffered with those conditions and this trend continues to grow for 2020.
Maryann Richmond-Coggan, owner of Green Farm Spa in Shadoxhurst in Kent, identifies with this trend and has created a retreat where clients will have the chance to ‘find their voice’ through a series of small group singing workshops, to relax in the spa, to reconnect with the natural world, and to experience the beautiful song of the nightingales through a special guided nighttime walk. As Maryann says, ‘We have seen people embrace nature and the wellbeing benefits it offers and we anticipate this being a strong theme in 2020. It has been proven that time spent outdoors enhances mood, reduced stress and improves health as we believe that combining this with traditional spa treatments such as massage and activities including singing as well as yoga intensifies the effects.’ greenfarmkent.co.uk
Say what? It’s basically the movements that mimic everyday actions, incorporating multiple muscles groups at the same time, and builds strength, stability plus mobility across the body, making us more efficient human beings not only inside the gym but outside as well.
Vicki Beasley, founder of The Fitness Suite in Sutton Valence (which was specifically designed for women who would like to improve their fitness levels, health, well being and self confidence) says: ‘Not only does Functional Fitness look after balance, strength, flexibility and every day movement, but it is also a fantastic way to sort your tone and shape. Working with a Personal Trainer such as myself with specific knowledge in Postural Correction, I can analyse how an individual moves and work with them to improve any movement dysfunctions. Helping each client move more freely, gain tone and shape at the same time. Win! Win!’ thefitnesssuitesuttonvalence
Stunning and spiritual jewellery company, Silatha, was set up when Veroniek Vermeulen became deeply concerned that corporate life was leading her rather than vice versa. So she took a sabbatical and travelled to Nepal to seek inner peace. Finding meditation she went on to create Silatha, which offers guided meditation in the shape of beautiful handcrafted Dorje jewellery. The necklaces (see photo above) and bracelets, come with a gemstone that you choose via a questionnaire. ‘Dorje is an ancient symbol representing your true nature,’ Veroniek says.
Each piece of jewellery comes with an access code to the Meditation App, which offers a 21-day course of 15-minute guided meditations (find a taster on silatha.com). At £99 for a bracelet and £249 for the necklace, the jewellery is an investment but owners have reported that wearing the delicate jewellery, with its implicit reminder to pause, is comforting and calming.
To really get to know yourself, people are now immersing themselves into week retreats where you can take the time to revitalise and reinvigorate your minds – as well as body. If you are lucky enough to be able to invest the time, holistic adventures are all the rage to help people reconnect with what they really want out of life, using group rituals, workshops and solo activities designed to get you to listen to the stories you tell yourselves and to realise ‘the answers you seek lie within you’.
Executive Coach Tania Carriere organizes these retreats around the world, including ‘Radical Sabbatical’ life coaching retreats once a year at the elegant 300 year old family owned Goodnestone Park in Kent, where Tania draws on her background in psychology, coaching, theatre and travel to help clients plus they can tasty healthy food and downtime in a gorgeous environment. ‘These retreats help our clients choose their own path as there is a web of rules and beliefs that ensnares each of us and shapes who we allow ourselves to be, what direction we allow ourselves to take. With our guidance, they can shake off the “shoulds”, the patterns, the “supposed to be” and the “because it is always that way” and set their own guidelines,’ says Tania. advivumjourneys.ca/england-retreat
Heard of Nutrigenomics? It’s the science that uncovers the relationship between our genes, nutrition and our health. And this new nutritional science has even made it’s way out to the sticks – to SPN, Muddy’s favourite Tunbridge Wells boutique fitness studio. ‘DNA testing offers insights into your genetic predispositions, in other words, revealing your individual gene variations,’ explains Abir, Registered Nutritional Therapist, who oversees the program at SPN.
‘Genes don’t determine health on their own, they function only by being activated. Nutrition and lifestyle play a critical role in determining which genes, good and bad, are activated. Obtaining DNA genetic information, using a simple saliva test kit, allows for truly personalized nutrition and lifestyle advice to help you achieve your health and fitness goals.’ spn.fit
Forest Bathing and yoga
Forest Bathing (Shinrin-Yoku) is a traditional Japanese awareness meditation, proven to be a profound antidote to anxiety, depression, fear and tension and is becoming more of a feature within Wellness retreats. Unless you’ve been hiding under a mossy rock you’ll know there’s been dozens of studies proving that getting outdoors, Forest or Nature Bathing, whatever you want to call it, has real, measurable benefits to both our physical and mental health.
Helena Skoog, runs Forest Bathing sessions at Samsara Retreat & Yoga, located deep in the Kentish countryside which has been built with clients’ relaxation at the forefront of their minds, explains the benefits, ‘You will develop a sense of inner peace and stillness that will be supported and encouraged by nature’s living, ever-changing process. No experience is necessary.’ samsararetreatyoga.co.uk
Having exhausted every possible exercise trend, from bikram yoga to spin, fitness fans have gone full circle – with running recently undergoing a huge Renaissance. Peloton (best known for hi-tech exercise bikes) have expanded into the running market as well, offering a touchscreen-enabled treadmill that lets you stream live and pre-recorded fitness classes from the Peloton studio. Park Runs are so popular now and most local towns have a year-round calendar of fun runs (or more serious Triathlons) coming out of their ears.
But don’t assume that years of pounding the pavement will ensure you have an efficient running technique. ‘If you want to remain injury free and perform at your best then it’s worth investing in a Runners Full MOT,’ advises Clare Norris, co-founder of The Kent Running Coach. ‘Our mission is to help people achieve their goals. We want to help you run efficiently – did you know for example that swinging your arms when you run, versus running with restricted arm movement, can save you 3-13% in energy expenditure?’ thekentrunningcoach.co.uk
Equine Assisted Learning
It’s fascinating how these four-legged friends can provide therapeutic support but they can as they are highly social animals who read intention and energy because they are flight animals and masters in the art of non-verbal communication. They live in the present moment, which is something we as humans find increasingly difficult in our fast paced, technological world.
Emma Rourke, owner of Hephzibah Horses in Woodchurch, explains why time spent in the presence of horses can be tremendously helpful, therapeutic and educational. ‘Our amazing horses help our clients become confident, self-aware and connected. Through our sessions, they can learn to regulate and calm anxious feelings to a still and peaceful mind as well as shine a light of clarity on current emotions that enables them to connect better in your relationships and grow in confidence.’ hephzibahuk.com
Boxing has become the fashion world’s favourite workout, with models swearing by the fat-burning workout to hone lean, strong physiques. But boxing not only increases muscular stature and physical strength; it can also help balance the mind.
‘It’s a great stress reducer,’ says Personal Trainer Sarah Best, founder of FindurFit who says female clients often really enjoy it when she incorporates boxing into her workouts. ‘During the punching action your brain increases the production of endorphins, the neurotransmitters that create feel-good thoughts and you can get a “punching high”. Also this action helps to relieve muscle tension that can collect when you’re hunched over your computer or at the wheel of the car on the school run. ‘It’s also great for mindfulness and focusing on the moment’, explains Sarah. findurfit.com