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Event report
Healing summit

We must look after ourselves before we can look after others was the underlying message at this year’s Healing Summit in Portugal. Lisa Starr reports


It’s been a challenging couple of years for spas, but the future is finally looking brighter. Consumers have never been more interested in wellness, although staffing in the sector is still a struggle. As we continue on the path forward, it’s an ideal time to embrace ‘the healing of everything’ which was the theme for this year’s Healing Summit.

Now in its seventh year, the summit is definitely unique among wellness industry conferences. It’s intended to provoke thought and a collective consciousness regarding the future. “The three main influences on climate change are tourism/hospitality, fashion and food – and we have to find ways for hospitality to become a change maker, I truly believe this,” says event co-founder Anne Biging. “As I evolve the Healing Summit, this will stay front of mind.

“There are lots of industry events that give people chances to do business and there is a place for these. Our aim, however, is to bring people together from different cultures to learn from and support each other and to grow. By understanding and empowering ourselves first makes us more able to manifest change in other ways.”

Over two days there are impactful speakers, panels and networking opportunities, yet no power points or handouts. Rather, sessions are mixed with meditation, breathwork and sensory guides and we’re encouraged to sit with an open mind and really listen.

Speaker highlights
The Pine Cliffs Resort in Albufeira, Portugal, a serene destination overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, provided a fitting backdrop for the 100 spa, wellness, hospitality and travel professionals who gathered in search of inspiration as well as purposeful direction. Mornings began with movement or breathwork sessions, a dip in the bracing sea and a healthy breakfast, before gathering in a sunny conference room above the tree-studded lawns.

Paul Polman, former Unilever CEO, discussed the need for healing now, framed by his latest book Net Positive. Since leaving the corporate world, he’s been heavily involved with the UN and WTTC to help advance SDGs globally. We need to understand reasons behind the ‘great resignation’ he said – people still want to work, just with more clarity of purpose. With a higher sense of awareness, we can bring more humanity to the business world, resulting in positive change. Polman also noted that through the pandemic, the most resilient companies were those with a diversified business model.

Mexican entrepreneur and educational activist Gina Diez Barroso urged us to think beyond stereotypes and work on our empathy and collaborative skills. In a panel discussion, she cited a McKinsey study which highlights the gaps in workforce skills in a post-COVID world. So-called soft skills such as empathy, leadership and adaptability have grown greatly in importance since 2019.

You can’t underestimate the passion of Barroso, who says she found her “why” – to improve educational opportunities for women – at age 42. She started CENTRO, a university for creativity in Mexico City, in 2014, when everyone told her it couldn’t be done. The entire campus is LEED platinum certified and currently enrolls 3,000 students. Her other company Dalia Empower also champions female empowerment globally.

The founder and owner of Euphoria Resort in Greece, Marina Efraimoglou, discussed an issue facing many in attendance – how to bridge the duality between being a healer and an entrepreneur. She recommended that we can reach balance by holding on to our intention for our projects and having the courage to ask for help when we need it.

Diving even deeper into mental wellness, Mahesh Natarajan, COO of Ananda in the Himalayas, explained how ayurvedic practices such as meditation and mindfulness support the healing of the mind, and the importance of the inner journey. Natarajan shared the Sanskrit term kosha, meaning layers, which represents how knowledge resides in the interlocked sheaths of our personalities. By observing these ancient practices we can become adept at controlling our minds and reach the highest state of unending bliss, a space of wisdom and clarity.

Working on yourself
“It’s obvious that our world needs healing,” concludes Elisabeth Ixmeier, who heads up the event alongside Biging. “We showcased the areas where change must occur, from economics to sustainability. We started this summit with the understanding that true change can only occur when we change ourselves and ended with the insight that when we heal ourselves, we can change everything.”

Attending this event feels less like working on your business and more like working on yourself. Because the delegation was smaller, we were able to really connect with each other. Led on a lawn overlooking the ocean, a closing ceremony by Sarah Livia Brightwood and Alex Von Bidder from Rancho La Puerta, was uplifting and left us filled with hope for a future where we can balance giving and receiving in our businesses, and in ourselves.

At a glance: Top takeaways

• Amelia Kang, founder of Ame de Lumière Holistic Consultancy in Singapore, led an engaging discussion on quantum mechanics via Zoom. “Many drops of water can penetrate a rock,” she analogised, advising us to ask for help from those around us as it makes us all stronger

• The amazing and generous Molly Melching, founder of the NGO Tostan, who’s lived and worked in Senegal for 48 years said: “In local culture, you do a good deed not to get it back, but to do something for someone else; people are people’s medicine”

• Jaya Kader founder and principal of KZ Architecture, explained permaculture as “the growth of agricultural ecosystems in a sustainable way,” and recommends blending indigenous wisdom with modern technology

• “We’re drowning in knowledge but starved of wisdom,” said Karin Bleecker, psychologist and clinical director of wellness retreat New Life Portugal. Bleecker shared some excellent suggestions for cultivating wisdom within ourselves, such as being aware of our urge to feel comfortable, rather than embracing the unknown. Others included modelling intellectual humility, asking good questions and normalising uncertainty so you don’t fear that feeling

• “Transformation drives change that doesn’t change back,” and “The stone age did not end because we ran out of stones!” These gems came from Janet Rogan, COP26 regional ambassador for the Middle East and Africa

Photo: healingsummit.org

"We’re drowning in knowledge but starved of wisdom" – PKarin Bleecker, psychologist

Photo: healingsummit.org

"Ayurvedic practices support the healing of the mind" – Mahesh Natarajan, Ananda in the Himalayas

Sessions are mixed with breathwork and meditation Credit: Photo: healingsummit.org
Rancho La Puerta’s Brightwood led the closing ceremony Credit: Photo: healingsummit.org
Delegates enjoyed each other’s company at a gala dinner Credit: Photo: healingsummit.org
Dips in the bracing sea prepare delegates for the day ahead Credit: Photo: healingsummit.org
Biging (left) with the event’s inspirational speakers Credit: Photo: healingsummit.org
FEATURED SUPPLIERS

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DIRECTORY
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DIARY

 

31 Jan - 02 Feb 2023

Spatex 2023

Coventry Building Society Arena, Coventry, United Kingdom
05-06 Mar 2023

World Spa & Wellness Conference

Excel exhibition and conference centre , London, United Kingdom
+ More diary  
 
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Event report
Healing summit

We must look after ourselves before we can look after others was the underlying message at this year’s Healing Summit in Portugal. Lisa Starr reports


It’s been a challenging couple of years for spas, but the future is finally looking brighter. Consumers have never been more interested in wellness, although staffing in the sector is still a struggle. As we continue on the path forward, it’s an ideal time to embrace ‘the healing of everything’ which was the theme for this year’s Healing Summit.

Now in its seventh year, the summit is definitely unique among wellness industry conferences. It’s intended to provoke thought and a collective consciousness regarding the future. “The three main influences on climate change are tourism/hospitality, fashion and food – and we have to find ways for hospitality to become a change maker, I truly believe this,” says event co-founder Anne Biging. “As I evolve the Healing Summit, this will stay front of mind.

“There are lots of industry events that give people chances to do business and there is a place for these. Our aim, however, is to bring people together from different cultures to learn from and support each other and to grow. By understanding and empowering ourselves first makes us more able to manifest change in other ways.”

Over two days there are impactful speakers, panels and networking opportunities, yet no power points or handouts. Rather, sessions are mixed with meditation, breathwork and sensory guides and we’re encouraged to sit with an open mind and really listen.

Speaker highlights
The Pine Cliffs Resort in Albufeira, Portugal, a serene destination overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, provided a fitting backdrop for the 100 spa, wellness, hospitality and travel professionals who gathered in search of inspiration as well as purposeful direction. Mornings began with movement or breathwork sessions, a dip in the bracing sea and a healthy breakfast, before gathering in a sunny conference room above the tree-studded lawns.

Paul Polman, former Unilever CEO, discussed the need for healing now, framed by his latest book Net Positive. Since leaving the corporate world, he’s been heavily involved with the UN and WTTC to help advance SDGs globally. We need to understand reasons behind the ‘great resignation’ he said – people still want to work, just with more clarity of purpose. With a higher sense of awareness, we can bring more humanity to the business world, resulting in positive change. Polman also noted that through the pandemic, the most resilient companies were those with a diversified business model.

Mexican entrepreneur and educational activist Gina Diez Barroso urged us to think beyond stereotypes and work on our empathy and collaborative skills. In a panel discussion, she cited a McKinsey study which highlights the gaps in workforce skills in a post-COVID world. So-called soft skills such as empathy, leadership and adaptability have grown greatly in importance since 2019.

You can’t underestimate the passion of Barroso, who says she found her “why” – to improve educational opportunities for women – at age 42. She started CENTRO, a university for creativity in Mexico City, in 2014, when everyone told her it couldn’t be done. The entire campus is LEED platinum certified and currently enrolls 3,000 students. Her other company Dalia Empower also champions female empowerment globally.

The founder and owner of Euphoria Resort in Greece, Marina Efraimoglou, discussed an issue facing many in attendance – how to bridge the duality between being a healer and an entrepreneur. She recommended that we can reach balance by holding on to our intention for our projects and having the courage to ask for help when we need it.

Diving even deeper into mental wellness, Mahesh Natarajan, COO of Ananda in the Himalayas, explained how ayurvedic practices such as meditation and mindfulness support the healing of the mind, and the importance of the inner journey. Natarajan shared the Sanskrit term kosha, meaning layers, which represents how knowledge resides in the interlocked sheaths of our personalities. By observing these ancient practices we can become adept at controlling our minds and reach the highest state of unending bliss, a space of wisdom and clarity.

Working on yourself
“It’s obvious that our world needs healing,” concludes Elisabeth Ixmeier, who heads up the event alongside Biging. “We showcased the areas where change must occur, from economics to sustainability. We started this summit with the understanding that true change can only occur when we change ourselves and ended with the insight that when we heal ourselves, we can change everything.”

Attending this event feels less like working on your business and more like working on yourself. Because the delegation was smaller, we were able to really connect with each other. Led on a lawn overlooking the ocean, a closing ceremony by Sarah Livia Brightwood and Alex Von Bidder from Rancho La Puerta, was uplifting and left us filled with hope for a future where we can balance giving and receiving in our businesses, and in ourselves.

At a glance: Top takeaways

• Amelia Kang, founder of Ame de Lumière Holistic Consultancy in Singapore, led an engaging discussion on quantum mechanics via Zoom. “Many drops of water can penetrate a rock,” she analogised, advising us to ask for help from those around us as it makes us all stronger

• The amazing and generous Molly Melching, founder of the NGO Tostan, who’s lived and worked in Senegal for 48 years said: “In local culture, you do a good deed not to get it back, but to do something for someone else; people are people’s medicine”

• Jaya Kader founder and principal of KZ Architecture, explained permaculture as “the growth of agricultural ecosystems in a sustainable way,” and recommends blending indigenous wisdom with modern technology

• “We’re drowning in knowledge but starved of wisdom,” said Karin Bleecker, psychologist and clinical director of wellness retreat New Life Portugal. Bleecker shared some excellent suggestions for cultivating wisdom within ourselves, such as being aware of our urge to feel comfortable, rather than embracing the unknown. Others included modelling intellectual humility, asking good questions and normalising uncertainty so you don’t fear that feeling

• “Transformation drives change that doesn’t change back,” and “The stone age did not end because we ran out of stones!” These gems came from Janet Rogan, COP26 regional ambassador for the Middle East and Africa

Photo: healingsummit.org

"We’re drowning in knowledge but starved of wisdom" – PKarin Bleecker, psychologist

Photo: healingsummit.org

"Ayurvedic practices support the healing of the mind" – Mahesh Natarajan, Ananda in the Himalayas

Sessions are mixed with breathwork and meditation Credit: Photo: healingsummit.org
Rancho La Puerta’s Brightwood led the closing ceremony Credit: Photo: healingsummit.org
Delegates enjoyed each other’s company at a gala dinner Credit: Photo: healingsummit.org
Dips in the bracing sea prepare delegates for the day ahead Credit: Photo: healingsummit.org
Biging (left) with the event’s inspirational speakers Credit: Photo: healingsummit.org
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FEATURED SUPPLIERS

Living Earth Crafts® - the first choice for world-class spas
Living Earth Crafts (LEC) is the world’s most recognised manufacturer of premium spa and wellness equipment. [more...]

bbspa_France channels La Dolce Vita to realise Biologique Recherche’s new Rome outpost
Inside a historical palace once owned by the Colonna family – one of the oldest and most famous Roman patrician families – premium skincare and spa company Biologique Recherche has opened the doors to a new location in Rome, Italy. [more...]
+ More featured suppliers  
COMPANY PROFILES
Phytomer

Phytomer remains an independent family business led by the founder’s son, Antoine Gédouin. We coun [more...]
+ More profiles  
CATALOGUE GALLERY
+ More catalogues  

VIDEO GALLERY

About us | J Grabner GmbH
More than 30 employees have one thing in common with the company founder Josef Grabner: Their enthusiasm for nature in all its individual facets Find out more...
+ More videos  

DIRECTORY
+ More directory  
DIARY

 

31 Jan - 02 Feb 2023

Spatex 2023

Coventry Building Society Arena, Coventry, United Kingdom
05-06 Mar 2023

World Spa & Wellness Conference

Excel exhibition and conference centre , London, United Kingdom
+ More diary  
 


ADVERTISE . CONTACT US

Leisure Media
Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

©Cybertrek 2023

ABOUT LEISURE MEDIA
LEISURE MEDIA MAGAZINES
LEISURE MEDIA HANDBOOKS
LEISURE MEDIA WEBSITES
LEISURE MEDIA PRODUCT SEARCH
PRINT SUBSCRIPTIONS
FREE DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTIONS