Sunday, December 19, 2010

“Time for a little Stress Busting on Koh Samui.”

Christmas is coming and that’s a good time to remind ourselves of the importance of good health. After all we live in a “healthy destination” whose provenance goes back almost twenty years, when Guy and Toi Hopkins opened the “Spa Beach Resort” in Lamai. It and the Resorts that followed in its successful track focused primarily on fasting and inner cleansing, following the regime laid down by Dr. Jensen .The people who came to find health in this manner were “new age seekers. This was the backpacker brigade that discovered and later made Samui a popular destination. Today, Samui’s development, some would say over development, has brought in a new guest. Yes, many of the old Detox Resorts still flourish and regulars return time and again, but it is now the corporate client who is attracted to Samui’s fair shores

The new breed is reflected in chains like “Four Seasons” and “Sixth Senses”. These hotels embrace wellness, too and the Detox Industry has moved with the changes. Kamalaya emerged in 2003. Here the concept was to encourage the executive market with a four star hotel and wellness spa perched on the quiet sunset coast of the island. The new seekers from the corporate culture were executives eager to scramble back to wellbeing. They needed a philosophy which they could use to get into shape after long hours of work, extensive air travel and pressured meetings. These people were used to comfortable accommodation and a hut beside the beach was not for them!

Many of these business people are taking their first baby steps to self awareness Dr. Norm Shealy is a retired Harvard trained neuro-surgeon. He started looking at alternative health at a time when it was considered dangerously unfashionable! He consulted medical intuitives and made Caroline Myss famous. He spends a lot of time working as a stress reductionist now that he is retired. We can learn from him how to develop programs especially suited for the exhausted executive.

Dr Norm, as he likes to be called, ardently believes that stress is the main cause of “dis-ease”. There are four types of stress. Firstly, emotional stress which shows up as anger, frustration, fear, depression and so on. “I, personally, have yet to meet a heart attack victim who is calm and serene!” Yoga, meditation and emotional clearing are all good techniques for clearing. Visitors to Samui are principally short stay, so brief and effective interventions like EFT are required to help them on their way. Several Samui Resorts offer these life changing practices besides there are also independent practitioners available to help.

Next there is physical stress. Christmas is a time for parties so people eat and drink too much. They stop exercising and begin to put on weight. This creates physical stress. Dr Norm feels the most dangerous thing we can do to our health is to smoke cigarettes. He reckons smoking a pack a day shortens life span by 7 years. He claims being 30% overweight creates as much stress as smoking three packets of cigarettes per day! The key to physical stress has always been relaxation diet and exercise. Of course if you smoke, you can choose to stop! Resorts could offer stop smoking courses and while we are at it we could look at alcohol and recreational drugs, too!

Next there is chemical stress. Yes, there are over 600 chemical toxins in a cigarette, but we also eat food that has been sprayed with insecticides and other toxins. Genetically Modified foods contain poisonous weedkillers, like Monsanto’s “Roundup” crafted into the crop itself. People need to know how to wash produce properly and take steps to find a good organic supplier!

Finally, there is electro-stress. “Did you know there are 230 million times as many radio waves today than there were 70 years ago?” asks Dr. Norm, “We have mobile phones, Wi-Fi, microwaves all apart from radio and TV! We need to protect ourselves from these sources, too.” Indeed a good stress busting program shows ways to reduce exposure to EMFs.

There are some vital health lessons to be learned from combating stress. Some Detox Programs look at some solutions, but the busy executive needs a ‘Stress busting program” that answers his own problems. So what are we going to do about it?

This article first appeared in "Samui Gazette" Dec 17th-Jan 6th Vol 1. No 11.

Alister Bredee is a freelance author living on Koh Samui. He is a health care practitioner, trainer and a partner in The Health Ambit Consultancy. He also works as a Detox Consultant and Locum with extensive experience. He can be contacted via his website: He publishes a regular blog at: You can find him and the Health Ambit Consultancy on Facebook.

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