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Inner Western Courier Thursday Not Used Anymore : April 15th 2009
48 INNER-WEST WEEKLY, Thursday, April 16, 2009 MB TRAVEL www.innerwestweekly.com.au Bliss-kissed and glowing KATHY LIPARI Gwinganna Health Retreat on the Gold Coast hinterland is the perfect place to detox. The afternoons are reserved for 'dreamtime' when an army of therapists make themselves available to massage aching muscles and breathe life and energy back into tired and burnt-out souls' ' THERE are some things in life you just don't want to come to an end. The perfect summer's day, the last Harry Potter book, the football season (?) Add to this list Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat's unique ''sound and stone'' massage experience. As I'm lying on a special ''sensory couch'' that allows you to feel the vibrations of music through the massage table, I am pondering the advice of the truly bliss-kissed woman I encountered after her treatment as I waited in the spa sanctuary for my appointment - ''Just relax, don't question and go with the flow''. The equipment in the impressively decked out massage room, one of almost 40 at the Gold Coast spa, would rival the surround sound system of any home entertainment nut. But before I can think (something you are heavily encouraged not to do too much of at Gwinganna) about what lies ahead, I am being transported into the heart of an Indian Tibetan spiritual ceremony. The next hour-and-a-half are both a massage treatment and tribal performance as Craig, the sound and stone specialist, choreographs each stress relieving movement to the chiming, powerful music, some of which is his own. He is seemingly everywhere in the room at once as he plays tambourines, gongs and shakers from every corner while simultaneously easing away months of tensions and pains with the fluid strokes of hot, oil soaked stones. Sound slightly bizarre? Well it is definitely unlike anything I have ever experienced, something that literally takes you somewhere else to the depths of relaxation. I'm reminded of the advice from the woman in the spa waiting area to just ''go with the flow'' and I really don't want it to end. It's advice that is best embraced for my entire seven-day detox trip to the picturesque Gwinganna retreat located in the Gold Coast hinterland. A seven-day detox, no alcohol, no coffee, no gluten, no chocolate! What? No television either? What was I thinking? OK, that's right I remember, don't think - just go with the flow. Waking at dawn while on ''holiday'' is definitely not something I would do left to my own devices but by day three I am wide awake at 6am to hear the local kookaburra's serenade and eager to be on the Gwinganna hill to watch the sunrise over the ocean as part of our daily calming session of qi gong. After the sun is up, it's a choice of a blood-pumping walk up the hill or a session of aqua aerobics in the heated pool. Choose the hike with Gwinganna's resident botanist and charming environmentalist John for an insight into the history of just about every blade of grass, shrub and tree on the lush property, which seeds and saplings you can and can't eat and why and how the animals know when it's about to rain. Then it's time for breakfast - the best meal of the day. Gwinganna's team of chefs are simply magicians. The meals comprise fresh organic food and are nothing short of delicious. If we did not know we were all de-toxing we would be none the wiser. I don't even miss my daily coffee. On the menu today is muesli with almond milk followed by corn fritters with avocado salsa and spicy tomato sauce for breakfast, a mouth-watering seafood barbecue lunch and fish curry with wild and brown rice for dinner. Food and nutrition is a key part of the Gwinganna mantra. Every day some of the nation's top experts on health, exercise, nutrition and naturopathy are on hand to offer their views on optimal wellbeing and how to achieve it. They are convinced organic is the only way to go to obtain our full quota of disease-fighting nutrients every day. ''If it's man-made - DON'T eat it,'' comes the recurring catch-cry from senior dietician Caroline Scott, who helps formulate the food plan and menu for Gwinganna guests. Daily activities to help you work up that all-important appetite include boxing classes; belly dancing; stretch; pool sessions; tribal dancing; yoga and Pilates. But it's not like boot camp - you can participate in as many or as few sessions as you like. The afternoons are reserved for ''dreamtime'' when an army of therapists make themselves available to massage aching muscles and breathe life and energy back into tired and burnt-out souls. Apart from the sound and stone treatment, on offer are a Hawaiian massage called Ka Huna, a body bliss treatment including a soothing bath and a soul-search session involving reflexology and an intuitive therapist who conducts her own ''clairvoyant counselling'' during the experience using angel cards. Seven days, in spite of the detox, have come and gone quicker than I would have liked. I make a resolution to take home what I have learned and promise to cut back on the alcohol and caffeine. The question is how long can I make it last for. Oh well if it comes down to it and I give in at least I'll have an excuse to go back to Gwinganna for another sound and stone massage. The writer's stay was subsidised by Gwinganna. www.gwinganna.com A dult work o pportunities Kings Court Massage H HA AR RM MLLEESSS S FFU UN Nfo orr M MEEN N Great Income! NO SEX, Famous for explorers club lounge, great atmosphere and friendly customers. 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April 8th 2009
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