Country & Town House – Spa Trek

It took Mike Dickson 71 years to find his inner yogi, but now he’s a convert thanks to Sen Wellness.

I don’t ‘do’ yoga. I’m a man who, let’s say, would be in a Covid concern group and downward dog has never been part of my daily ritual. That is until I went to Sen Wellness Centre in Sri Lanka at the beginning of last year. So hooked am I that I’m hotfooting it there as soon as lockdown lifts.

It was Sam Kankanamge, founder of the Sen Wellness Centre, who persuaded me to go. An osteopath who also runs a holistic healthcare clinic in London’s Wimpole Street, he’s just one of those intuitive, gentle types with a genuine interest in people. ‘You will lose weight and it will be a wonderful way to reset your mind and body for the New Year,’ he told me. He sensed that I was stressed and knackered. I sensed I was sold.

On the first morning, I met the beautifully-sari-swathedDr Waruni for an initial medical consultation. She prescribed a bespoke programme of Ayurvedic medicine and treatments – and then the revelations began. Each day started at 5.30am with a soft whisper of ‘tea’ outside my cabana, after which I wandered sleepily down to the yoga deck to watch the sunrise and wake up my limbs and lymphatic system with some yoga flow guided by a remarkably competent teacher, who knew just how far a 71-year-old’s limbs might bend.

A breakfast of fresh coconut, fruit and salad was my reward, eaten with fellow guests. Meat, fish, coffee, a cold beer or a chilled glass of Sauvignon blanc were out of the question at mealtimes, usurped by tisanes, fresh juices, gallons of water and a nutrient-rich vegetarian regime, giving the digestive system a much-needed break.

But it was the treatments that really blew my mind. With an average of four a day – an astonishing 21 in total – these mind- and body-changing therapies were carried out by some of the loveliest therapists I have ever met. All parts of the body were massaged, from head to toe, along with herbal baths, cleanses, inhalations and such a variety of manipulations that no two treatments were ever the same.

Come evening, it was time to head to the yoga shala again, this time for guided meditation, mantra chanting and a long savasana to settle us for a sweet night of dreams. The internet is only available for two one-hour sessions a day, so there’s no chance of losing hours of your time online either (this is a good thing, my friends).

I stayed in this cocooning, nourishing place for eight days, by which time I’d lost four kilos – and felt unbelievably well, clear of eye and cool of mind. After the travails of 2020, I simply cannot wait to return and give myself over to their healing hands and happy hearts. It’s more than a present to myself now – it’s an essential.


READ Any joyful or spiritual book you’ve always meant to read.

DO Talk to all your fellow guests – they will be as fascinating as you are.

SMILE Thank and make a great fuss of all the staff, they are very special.

PLANT Fifty per cent of the mangrove trees required to offset the carbon emissions of your air travel – the Sen Wellness Foundation pledges to donate the other 50 per cent.

Written by Mike Dickson for Country & Town House magazine January/February 2021 issue.

Find the article on p. 46 of the digital issue.


Davia is our Retreat Specialist and manages enquiries and bookings for those interested in visiting us at the Sanctuary. Her in-depth knowledge of the wellness programmes we offer means she will be able to answer any questions you may have, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Davia is also Clinic Manager at Sen Wellness London, ensuring the smooth running of our holistic hub in the medical district of Harley Street, where we offer osteopathy, acupuncture, yoga, meditation and community events as well as retreats in the UK and Europe.

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Rebecca Taleb
Rebecca Taleb
An experience that changed me forever!I can't even begin to thank Sen Wellness enough. I came to this retreat with the will to change, and it is here that I learned to inhale what's good for me, exhale all the toxins and past traumas, and let my body breathe and be free. Living in a nature reserve helped me reconnect with nature and overcome my fear of animals and insects. In this place, I found the link between my body and mind and reconnected on all levels.The treatments and medicines definitely aided in the healing process, and the food was nourishing for both the body and soul. The staff were phenomenal, and I can't thank them enough. Special thanks to Francis, who listened and took care of every detail, Irina, who made me fall in love with yoga, and all the professional therapists, especially Tini, whose smile brightened my day and whose positive energy boosted me into becoming a happier person.So much love for this place.Rebecca
Ute Kostle
Ute Kostle
My recent stay at the Sen Wellness Sanctuary in Sri Lanka was an extraordinary experience that exceeded all my expectations. From the moment I arrived, I was welcomed with warm smiles and exceptional service by the friendly staff, who went above and beyond to make my stay comfortable and memorable.The Sanctuary is nestled in a beautiful natural setting, with lush greenery and a stunning beach just a stone's throw away. Each morning, I woke up to the soothing sounds of nature, feeling completely rejuvenated and at peace.The cuisine at Sen Wellness Sanctuary was a highlight of my stay. The delicious local dishes, prepared with fresh, organic ingredients, were a true delight for the senses. Every meal was a culinary adventure, showcasing the rich flavors of Sri Lankan cuisine.The personalized Ayurveda treatments were simply outstanding. The expert practitioners took the time to understand my individual needs and tailored the treatments to promote healing and wellness. The therapies were not only incredibly relaxing but also highly effective, leaving me feeling revitalized and balanced.Adding to the holistic experience were the blissful meditation sessions and professional yoga classes. The meditation sessions provided a deep sense of tranquility, helping me to connect with my inner self and achieve a state of complete relaxation. The yoga sessions, led by a highly skilled instructor, were both invigorating and restorative, accommodating all levels of experience and enhancing my overall well-being.Overall, my time at Sen Wellness Sanctuary was a perfect blend of relaxation, natural beauty, and holistic healing. I highly recommend this sanctuary to anyone seeking a transformative and blissful retreat in Sri Lanka. I can't wait to return!
Marylyn Wangai
Marylyn Wangai
I visited Sen Wellness for the spring awakening retreat in early April this year.The retreat was very rejuvenating and I got to meet amazing women who had joined the retreat.It is my second time to visit the Sanctuary and I can't begin to explain how peaceful, rejuvenating the surroundings are.The diet follows Ayurvedic principles, mainly vegan, and vegetarian lots of herbs and indigenous vegetables. Good for the digestive system. You can immediately feel the difference.The spa treatments are very good too, I specially enjoyed the herbal steam bath.A very special thank you for the manager Sanath. He was very quick to solve any problems issues that arose and always followed up to ensure that the guests were satisfied and happy.The staff in general are extremely polite, attentive and very kind. As a solo traveller, this Sanctuary will make you feel at home.Hope to be back soon.!
Claire White
Claire White
I have just completed a 10 day retreat at Sen Wellness and having researched many options, I was drawn to this but it was way beyond my expectations, it was amazing. The yoga by Frances and the monk was incredible, the doctors were kind and helpful and all the staff could not have been more helpful. Special mention to treatments from Tanisha and the manager Sanath who got me out on the beach one evening to see the mother turtles. A dream come true in so many ways, left feeling refreshed,so much healthier in body and mind!! I would highly recommend to anyone who needs a reset.
Michael B
Michael B
My stay at Sen Wellness was absolutely amazing all-round. Sen is a beautiful place, in the middle of nature with a serene atmosphere. I had a deeply relaxing,  inspiring and unforgettable stay at Sen.I stayed for three weeks in April/May 2024. The Yoga and meditation classes were great and even as a (complete) beginner, I felt very well supported. Also the therapeutic sessions were fantastic and effective. The food is delicious and rich in variety, which was very welcome for my longer stay.As I was traveling alone, I much enjoyed the close-knit group and personal feeling at Sen. Meals are enjoyed sitting together around a large communal table, allowing you to connect and meet.The staff is just fabulous - everyone, from the gardener, kitchen staff, to the therapists and managers (to mention just a few), really cares to make you feel well. Whenever you need something, they help you. Everyone greets you always with a smile.I would like to thank the whole Sen team for an amazing experience, and I am sure to be back here in the future
britta barth
britta barth
I had a wonderful stay and participated in the Signature Retreat. The resort is located in a very beautiful nature reserve. There is a beautiful beach for long nice walks and you also can see turtles.Meditation and Yoga were very also so good as were the ayurvedic treatments. I love it.The Signature Retreat led by Sam is a great, inspiring journey in itself - I can highly recommend.The ayurvedic food was delicious and the staff is great.I hope to go soon again to this wonderful place.Mandy thanks to Sam and his team at Sen Wellness Sanctuary. Britta
One of the most incredible experiences I’ve ever had in my life. The 10-day retreat is the ultimate in relaxation. They feed you all your meals (delicious homegrown/homemade food), schedule yoga and daily spa treatments and hold special ceremonies throughout the week. The staff go above and beyond to make your experience deep, meaningful and heartfelt. The sanctuary is located in a jungle so be prepared to be immersed in wildlife! Monkeys, reptiles of all kinds, turtles on the beach, eagles/birds and more! I stumbled across this place researching Sri Lanka and it was truly meant to be. The faculties are stunning, comfortable and reasonably priced. Don’t miss an opportunity to come here!
Melanie Farfel
Melanie Farfel
A wonderful stay! The staff was so incredible and thoughtful throughout. I left feeling very rejuvenated. Thank you !
I had really nice experience at Sen Wellness for 8 nights. Here is in the middle of nature, we can feel that we are a part of nature and it is very natural to live with all kinds of animals and plants. I am now mentally and physically fit.What I really appreciated is food - healthy, everyday different menu, some vegetables that I have never seen… I felt that my feeling of taste transformed through my stay and skin condition and body condition became better.All people here is really kind and peaceful.Yoga teacher, Stefania, is a wonderful teacher, she is really knowledgeable and so kind to care all participants. I had enjoyed conversations with her at breakfast, lunch and dinner.Doctors, therapists are nice, I could ask questions and request whatever I feel comfortable.There are different types of rooms, I experienced the most luxury cabana and eco-cabana with Air Conditioning, too. Luxury cabana was awesome but I liked eco-cabana as well. It was an old facility but authentic, compact and I felt cozy. I was alone in the room so the space was enough for single use. If you wish to have luxury stay, I would recommend you to go for Luxury cabana.Everyone has different purpose and expectations. My purpose was feel nature, have simple life and feel appreciation of life. And it was fulfilled. Thank you so much for all Sen wellness team.
sunil damodar
sunil damodar
Went to Sen Wellness with family for a retreat, it was a nice spiritual and healthy experience. Fantastic team who were friendly and did everything possible to make it us feel special, great doctors and therapists and of course the daily yoga and one on one interaction with Sam was icing on the cake. Would recommend this to anyone looking for a great mix of spirituality, yoga, treatment and healthy eating. Look forward to my next one at Sen Wellness.
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