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home : health : health December 14, 2017

10/17/2017 1:39:00 PM
In pursuit of wellness
By Jim Cornelius
News Editor

"Wellness" means a lot more than just the absence of illness.

True wellness is a state of being that encompasses physical robustness, emotional well-being and overall resilience. Achieving and maintaining wellness requires attentiveness not only to avoiding sickness, but also to eating well, sleeping enough, and coping with the inevitable stresses of day-to-day living.

For most people, the pursuit of wellness requires some lifestyle changes. And that often requires something to give us a kick start.

That's what Zoe Willitts and Kendra Littrell have been trying to provide through Shibui Spa's annual detox program, held each January in Sisters. Willitts told The Nugget that health retreats were part of the original vision for the FivePine Campus in Sisters, and each year they move the detox program a little further toward the dream.

While the detox program has always focused on food, this year, Ayurvedic medicine will be part of the program. The ancient holistic practice operates on the principle that health and wellness depend on a delicate balance between the mind, body, and spirit.

"It's whole body; it's not just the food," Littrell said. "My favorite part is not the diet; it's paying attention to myself for 10 days."

Slowing down, taking stock and focusing on yourself is a critical - and often difficult - process, especially for women, who are conditioned to take care of everyone else's needs before their own.

This year's program is also adding in hikes, bringing physical activity to enhance the detoxification. And it's a great time to disconnect.

"Shut the cell phone off!" Willitts said, and Littrell notes that "it's hard to force people to detox off their phone."

The term detox can be a little intimidating to folks, Littrell allows. One of the biggest hurdles for some people to access a program like Shibui's is that "they're scared that they're going to be hungry" and that they're not going to like the food.

Detox in this context mainly means cutting out processed sugar and dairy products. The food can be delicious - organic meats and vegetables that provide real nutrients as well as flavor.

A few days of eating well and living in a more mindful manner is a good break - but something more is required if you're going to make living better a part of a new way of life.

"When you're in a program, that's great," Willitts said. "It's the going home time - how do we keep people on that trajectory to health?"

One key is desire.

"You have to want to change," Willitts said. "And you can't give that to anyone."

It's also important to realize that you can't - and don't have to - revolutionize your life instantly.

"It's not 100 percent change all at once," Littrell said.

Re-learning to shop and make good food choices is very helpful in maintaining good habits outside an organized program.

For Willitts and Littrell, the detox program at Shibui is about a journey. Some people come every year to take a bit of time to reconnect with themselves; some use it to jump start the year on better footing.

"I don't see anybody who doesn't benefit from this," Willitts said.

And it's not an arduous process of self-denial. That doesn't work in the long run. Getting to a better way of living and feeling better in mind, body and spirit should be a pleasure.

"All of this stuff," Willitts said, "is related to fun."

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