Photo courtesy of Granger and Co.
The London Wellness Guide
The wellness industry in London has found its feet—its soft, beautiful, callus-free feet—with a host of entrepreneurial women taking the lead. Experts like nutritional therapist Amelia Freer, meditation guru Vanessa Kandiyoti, and spiralizing queens Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley are writing books, hosting workshops, and opening businesses faster than you can say “turmeric latte and acai bowl, please.” And there are new collaborative havens dedicated to wellness, including the Bamford Haybarn Spa in Brompton Cross, Bodyism in Notting Hill, and Yogarise in South London, that are also springing up across town.
We spend a lot of time in the UK capital these days, thanks to our own well-being mecca—the now-permanent London goop store. We’ve compiled a comprehensive wellness black book for your next visit, whether you’re looking for a medical-grade facial or the chicest cryotherapy chambers in Europe or just craving a perfect smoothie and a plate of organic veggies. London, in other words, is basically Southern California with a lilt.
Xochi Balfour[email protected] | +44.77.4808.6296
Xochi Balfour is quickly becoming the face of millennial healing in London, working with clients in their twenties and thirties who need coping strategies for stress and burnout. Xochi meets with clients at her home for one to two sessions and uses a range of techniques customized to individual needs. Through anything from guided chakra meditation and sound healing to nutritional and skincare advice, she helps her clients develop their own personal toolkit for wellness and sets them on their way.
Andrea HurstUME Diagnostics, 27 Harley St., Marylebone | +44.77.7416.8812
Andrea Hurst is a specialist in reflexology based in Mayfair and Marylebone (though she also does home visits, and travels extensively). While those in need of a quick dose of intense relaxation might go to Andrea for a one hour "Reset" session, her longer "Restore" and "Regeneration" sessions offer a much more holistic experience. Through pressure points in the feet, Andrea can assess what body systems might need work—everything from eye and gum health to digestion and back pain—and zero in on those ailments. Her treatments are also highly recommended for anyone with sleep issues and severe jet-lag as she's a pro at reestablishing circadian rhythm.
Victoria YoungThe Health Partnership, 12a Thurloe St., Kensington | +44.20.7589.6414
Using a combination of methods including homeopathy, herbs, and meditation, Young helps clients gently reestablish a healthy balance of mind and body. Often, her clients come to her riddled with the stresses of modern-day life, so she's not just treating symptoms but rather looking for the underlying causes, which can often be emotional rather than physical. Consultations begin with a bioenergetic scan, which gives a reading of energetic blockages, organs that are under stress, allergies, etc. From there, Young tailors her treatment to address these ailments with recommendations ranging from diet to herbal and homeopathic remedies.
Keah Lan| +44.75.2553.4450
Keah Lan has quite a following for her at-home Pilates, yoga, and reflexology sessions, so much so that she's trained an entire staff in her methods to help satisfy demand. She's an exacting teacher and when it comes to reflexology; a session goes far beyond deep relaxation. Integrating her background in Qi Gong and traditional Chinese medicine, she can also identify vitamin deficiencies and posture problems, help with insomnia, and more—though she's probably best known for her pre- and post-natal reflexology and yoga sessions. Bring your kids, she works wonders on them, too.
Will Williams Meditation45 Hoxton Sq., Shoreditch | +44.20.7127.5008
Will Williams and Jess Cook took a two and a half year hiatus and traveled to India (and then the world) to learn everything they could about Vedic Meditation, only to return to London to bring it to the masses. Learning the technique takes place over three consecutive sessions: they'll give you a personal mantra in the first session, followed by two sessions of meditation training after that. Then, you're ready to practice on your own and reap the benefits—better sleep, less anxiety, focus, the works—or join their popular group sessions in Victoria (no lotus position required).
Chantal Freegard31 Claremont Rd., Barnet | +44.79.3905.8961
The trek out to Barnet to see reflexologist Chantal Freegard (she makes North London home visits upon request) is a worthwhile exercise for anyone dealing with stress, insomnia, back problems, and infertility. Some say the energy changes in a room the minute she walks in. Part of her success comes from her long-standing practice in reflexology, and part comes from her foray into crystal healing. At the end of each session, she incorporates sound therapy using vibrating crystals from her personal collection, which she chooses intuitively for each client.
Katie Light| +44.75.5400.3070
Trained in both the ancient art of Reiki and the modern science of neurolinguistic programming, Light combined the two to create her own approach, aptly named the Light Technique. Light generally sees patients for a course of four to six appointments and combines talk therapy with Reiki, the idea being that the Reiki relieves pain and helps you relax, while the NLP helps to change our own deeply held habits and beliefs—that's when the real breakthroughs happen. Each session is tailored to the client and Light regularly helps people with everything from stress and anxiety to weight gain, hormonal imbalance, grief, and fatigue. Her massages in and of themselves are a treat.
The Hodge Centre| +220.127.116.11.5183
Recommended to us by nutritionist Amelia Freer, Vanessa Hodge is trained in yoga, craniosacral therapy, mindfulness, and psychotherapy, making her a wholly intuitive practitioner. Her mix of healing techniques are an effective remedy for stress, as well as neck and back pain, and are incredibly relaxing for anyone, though pregnant women and babies both benefit immeasurably from a visit with Vanessa.
Diane MacLellan| +44.79.0517.1550
It's rarely a health issue that takes people to Diane MacLelllan, though her lessons in Alexander Technique can certainly help in that department, especially when it comes to back and neck pain. In addition to teaching better posture, she’s an expert in body language, presentation skills, and Neuro-Linguistic Programming, which means you can visit her for the suite. The idea is that if we train ourselves to better our language and posture, we’ll train (or program) our brains to feel better, too.
Giulia Esdaile| +44.79.5658.1632
You might go to Giulia for hay fever and be surprised by the totally non-related questions she asks—about your character, habits, how you sleep—but that's because she's looking for root causes rather than simply treating symptoms. After your first consultation, you'll receive her homeopathic remedy in the mail, which she hand blends herself. The number of sessions depends on the complexity of the issue—a hay fever remedy may just take one visit, while skin disorders, hormonal issues, back aches, arthritis, etc., will take a few. Whatever it may be, she's effective, and incredibly affordable, so it won't break the bank.
Sunita Dhokia252 Streatham High Rd., Lambeth | +44.20.8769.0065
Using a mix of yoga, herbal remedies, bodywork, and nutritional therapy, Sunita helps clients through everything from back pain to skin conditions and hormonal issues. It's no wonder she's well-versed in a variety of modalities, as she grew up helping out at her family business, Maitri, a natural food store and holistic health center in South London. Nowadays, she's the clinical director there, where in addition to practicing a variety of holistic therapies, she mixes her own custom herbal remedies for clients.
Heather MasonStratford | +44.79.8882.1323
Trained in yoga, neuroscience, psychotherapy, and medical physiology, Heather is about as expert a yoga therapist as you can find. In fact, she founded The Minded Institute in London, which uses Mason's scientific research in neuroscience to teach yoga practitioners, doctors, nurses, therapist, clinicians, etc., how to integrate yoga therapy into their practice. When she's not steeped in research and running workshops for the Minded Institute, Heather does take on private clients and can help with anything from anxiety and mental health issues to back pain and chronic disease. She recommends a minimum of six sessions, which include a general consultation followed by weekly visits which involve a mix of yoga, mindfulness and general lifestyle management according to each client’s needs. Her practice focuses on providing some immediate relief to a variety of ailments, but is also aimed at creating what she calls neurological resilience, meaning that patients learn strategies to manage their ailments on their own, while re-training their brain at the same time.
Emma Cannon15 Radnor Walk, Chelsea | +44.20.3866.8958
Fertility expert Emma Cannon specializes in helping soon-to-be and new mothers at her offices in Chelsea and the West End. A registered acupuncturist and an expert in women’s health, her techniques sit between Eastern and Western healing traditions. The Fertility Rooms are her center of gravity, where she provides nutritional advice, acupuncture, and full-body diagnostics to support couples trying to get pregnant or women recovering from postpartum depression. She also runs an IVF support clinic.
Vanessa Kandiyoti[email protected] | +44.751.542.4762
Vanessa Kandiyoti is a polymath—which alone is reason to be fascinated by her. Born in Belgium and raised in Turkey, she lived in Paris for a stint, studied law, and now resides in West London, where she designs beautiful, delicate jewelry based around the seven chakras. However, Kandiyoti’s side talent lies in meditation. She leads group sessions from her home and is available for one-on-ones. Aside from having the most calming voice and soothing manner, Kandiyoti is a fascinating and optimistic person, so whether you’re an experienced meditator or a novice, you’ll leave feeling centered and uplifted.
Estelle Bingham104 Draycott Ave., Chelsea | +44.207.259.4980
There’s only one word for Estelle Bingham’s practice: transformative. Or maybe two: utterly transformative. Her particular combination of crystal healing and guided meditation melts away the anxieties of modern life. She’s done this for twenty years, and if you choose to surrender and commit some time to exploring her methods of holistic healing, the results can be remarkable. You can book sessions either at Bamford’s sparkling new well-being haven in Brompton Cross or at home.
Nymph of Neptune| [email protected]
Astrology is one of those enthralling specialties that we can never quite figure out for ourselves, which is why we have the London-based Nymph of Neptune on speed dial. With several years of experience interpreting client’s birth charts behind her, this astrologist is an expert at illuminating the significance of planetary positions—specifically Mars, Venus, Mercury, and the moon—at the time and date of our births, and what that might mean for us personally and professionally. An hour or two with Nymph of Neptune is truly enlightening. What’s more, sessions can be conducted in English, Italian, or French, the choice—and the path—is yours.