Condé Nast Traveller – Supreme holistic care from a Harley Street hero

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Founded by London’s favourite spine expert, Sri Lankan osteopath Dr Sam Kankanamge, this retreat on the south coast of the island is about transformation of mind, body and spirit in one fell swoop. His big thing is the healing power of nature – and the sanctuary is surrounded by thick jungle teeming with butterflies and birds. The eight thatched cabanas are designed in the shape of a conch shell to draw up energy from the earth. Life here quickly falls into a routine. Kundalini yoga starts the day at 6am, worth it for the pastel-pink sunrise. Then it’s straight into your treatment plan (don’t go for less than a week if you want proper change). Softly spoken Dr Harshi is in charge, kicking off the programme by diagnosing your dosha. It’s all tackled here: weight loss, childhood trauma, stress, skin disorders. There are the usual indulgent massages but more important are the acupuncture, osteopathy, steam baths, fasts, cleanses and shirodhara (warm oil poured continuously onto the forehead to cure anxiety).

Ayurvedic medicine is administered morning and night, too – big play-doh-like blobs heavy in turmeric and ghee. They may be disgusting but swallow, drink a gallon of water and you’ll soon feel the difference. For something a bit more out-there, immerse yourself in a gong bath, which recharges the body through sound energy, or a cacao ceremony, an ancient ritual of drinking cacao and dancing to help release deep emotions. Meals are communal – egg hoppers and coconut curry – and it’s all very easy-going. You’ll soon be connecting with 20-somethings trying to find themselves and octogenarians letting go of the past. The doctrine is all about lasting change; come here and you’ll experience it in droves.

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