A high-flying career in Europe working for the rich and famous left former Sydney-sider Sandra Paino so exhausted and overweight, she reached crisis point.
“I had been living in London and working as a contractor for international floral designers,” says Sandra. “We did installations in private homes and mansions, so I was regularly travelling to Europe, sometimes Russia, Egypt and Dubai as well. I was working up to 18 hours a day, with little down time, had to eat irregularly and had absolutely no me time.”
It was during a rare trip home, Sandra says she realised she needed help. “My father had a weight problem and I always knew about the Eden retreat, I knew there was a place to go. This time I was just so unhappy, I probably hit the lowest point.”
With her size 24 clothes becoming tight, she decided to commit to an extended stay. In her first month, she lost 10kg. “I could feel an incredible energy keeping me on this property. I kept extending my stay and ended up staying six months as a guest, which is a bit embarrassing but it is the best investment I have every made in my life.”
Sandra says the retreat empowered and educated her. “It’s a way of life, before I didn’t know what a whole food was, I didn’t know what well-being meant. In my journey I dropped six dress sizes, lost 2.6 metres in measurements, dropped half a shoe size and my eyes have changed colour.”
She laughingly says she’s “the guest who never left”, after later being asked to join the Eden team as a guest co-ordinator.
“I think because I have been through the journey, I know how overwhelming the first day can be. I know what self conscious feels like for people who come with a weight issue.
“Many people come here to heal. You can find your inner strength, your inner power and the beginning of a new way of life.”
Nurture and nature
"Why is it that we don’t allow more nurturing for ourselves? I can’t believe I left it so long between visits to the best retreat imaginable. The sheer delight of driving through the valley and reaching the gates .... the week of nurturing, allowing the fantastic Eden team to take care of every detail.
The wonderful food, the planning, the pampering, the gentle acceptance and delivery of every requirement of each and every guest at the same time as making you feel you are the most important person there. I have heard the retreat described as heaven on earth - I'll take Eden every time!!! Thank you Stuart, and to your fantastic team!"
Bronwyn May, 2011
From an article in the Sunday Mail, March 2017:- The word on health retreats
A study by RMIT University in Melbourne has revealed the benefits of a seven-night visit to a health retreat can last for up to six weeks after checking out. Professor Marc Hohen, who conducted the study, says: "This research shows that health retreat experiences can produce a wide range of physical, psychological and cognitive benefits tht last way beyond the retreat itself."
Labyrinth – symbolising transformation
One of the most special places within the retreat is the labyrinth, which over the years has helped many of our guests on their personal journeys.
Labyrinths have long been used as mediation tools, symbolising sacred space and place.
The more a labyrinth is used, the more powerful it becomes as a symbol of transformation.
We are all on a path. The labyrinth is a model of that path, a meandering but purposeful path. There is one pathway from the entrance to the goal.
It is also an ancient symbol that relates to wholeness, representing a journey to our own centre and back into the world with a deepened understanding of who we are.