In the serene tea hills of Sri Lanka, nestled amidst breathtaking scenery, lies SANTANI Wellness—a haven renowned for its world-leading sleep program.
With an unwavering commitment to transforming lives, SANTANI has been empowering individuals to rediscover the art of natural sleep, liberating them from the shackles of sleep aids and fostering a holistic approach to well-being.
At SANTANI, they have witnessed astounding results as individuals, who have long relied on sleeping pills, experience the miraculous restoration of their sleep patterns within a mere 10 to 14 days of the program. This innovative sleep program delves deep into the root causes of disrupted sleep, addressing the interplay of anxiety, stress, depression, and physical imbalances within the body’s intricate systems.
Guided by a philosophy that encompasses the union of body, mind, and spirit, SANTANI’s holistic approach offers a transformative journey towards rejuvenation. Through an amalgamation of physical and mental detoxification processes, coupled with expert management and minimization of mental stimulation, SANTANI delves into the core of sleep-related challenges, illuminating a path to restful nights and a revitalized existence.
SANTANI’s repertoire of specialized treatments is truly extraordinary. Guests are treated to the ancient practice of Shirodhara, where warm oil cascades rhythmically onto the third eye or prefrontal cortex, lulling the entire nervous system into a tranquil slumber. Furthermore, meditation and yoga techniques, such as yoga Nidra—an art of consciously inducing sleep in each part of the body—and Nadi shodhana, a bathing ritual that serenely calms the mind, serve as integral components of their esteemed sleep enhancement program.
A remarkable aspect of SANTANI’s holistic approach is the incorporation of panchakarma—a physical cleanse that aims to restore equilibrium within the body’s systems. This comprehensive purification process sets the stage for rejuvenation, ensuring a harmonious synergy of mind, body, and spirit.
While the ideal duration for the sleep program ranges from 10 to 14 days, the transformative power of SANTANI’s approach has been known to yield remarkable results in as little as seven days. Their unwavering dedication to assisting individuals in reclaiming their natural sleep patterns has earned them a well-deserved reputation as pioneers in the field.
We had the privilege of speaking with the visionary behind SANTANI Wellness, owner Vickum. In an exclusive interview, he shares insights into the ethos of SANTANI, the transformative power of their sleep program, and the profound impact it has had on countless lives. Join us as we delve into the world of SANTANI Wellness and uncover the secrets to unlocking the art of restful, natural sleep.
Can you tell us more about your background and how you came to open SANTANI Wellness in Sri Lanka?
I grew up in Sri Lanka and went to the USA in 2000 to pursue an MBA. I then had a 10-year career in strategy consulting in the US, which created a lot of stress and burnout and a lack of sleep. I was going to wellness resorts to help myself but I realised that non of them had a proper science or logic in what they do. I realised, they are treating symptoms, which are stress or burnout, or mental health issues and led me to think, why are we stressed more and mental health is a pandemic today and not 30 years ago?
What is the root cause that led to this pandemic and how can we treat the root causes?
The root cause was the internet and the resulting information overload.
While humans evolved to be the most dominant animal in the world, that evolution was primarily physical as the stresses we had to overcome throughout evolution were about surviving, which was physical. We never had information coming to us at the pace we are receiving today. Our brains and mind never had to process this much information on an every-second basis. This is a new situation we never had throughout evolution and now we have to adapt to it. Now the solutions should focus on evolutionary adaptation. Evolutionary adaptation is always about survival of the fittest.
However, in this case, it’s not physical but mental. But do we nourish the mind? We know how to nourish the body, which is everything we do as that was the need in the past. However, now the need is to nourish the mind but we don’t know how to do it. Santani came about to nourish the mind, spirit and body. Fitness today is 3 dimensional. It’s mental, spiritual and physical fitness.
How does your sleep enhancement program differ from traditional methods for improving sleep?
As explained above, it focuses on the root causes. Sleep disorders stem primarily from information overload and our brain trying to process all that, even during sleep. When we nourish the mind, we provide toolkits to actively manage this information processing. Like everything any process has an input, a process and an output. Traditional methods generally focus on the input not only in sleep but in all forms of wellness.
Eating well, which is now a major movement is all about input control as well, which is only 10% of the problem. if the processing engine and the output engine are working well, we can process any amount of inputs. So we focus more on the processing and output in the sleep enhancement program. It’s hard to control the input in today’s world anyway and that’s against evolution. We need to know how to manage information overload rather than limit the inputs.
Can you walk us through a typical day in your sleep enhancement program?
There are no typical days as every program is personalised to each guest. However, from an activity point of view, you start the day with morning yoga and meditation, then after breakfast, you will have a nature hike, after lunch you will have an Ayurvedic treatment and then evening yoga and meditation. Guests in the sleep program will have specific mind-nourishing activities such as yoga needra or shirodhara, or body tuning depending on the case.
How important is the role of physical and mental detoxing in achieving better sleep?
It’s actually 3 things. Physical, mental and spiritual detoxing. But detoxing is a broad word that is misinterpreted in many ways. Most places and Western methods focus on the input such as juicing or staying away from gadgets or tech. This is counter-productive and goes against time. What’s important in detoxing is focusing on improving the processing and output parts.
What are some common misconceptions about achieving better sleep that you aim to dispel with your program?
Digital detox as mentioned above. The issue is no one has thought of the current mental health and stress pandemic as an evolutionary problem. However, it is and you can’t run away from evolution. You adopt or perish. Digital detox is running away. It’s trying to manage inputs. What we work on is providing the toolkits and nourishment for the mind so that the brain and mind can manage this information overload and reduce the stress naturally, which leads to better sleep.
How does SANTANI Wellness integrate Sri Lankan culture and traditions into its programs?
Everything we do is based on Ayurveda, which is the traditional medical practice we have had for over 3000 years.
Can you tell us more about the panchakarma cleanse and how it contributes to better sleep?
Panchakarma is the Ayurvedic cleanse and has been practised for over 3000 years and is the mother of all cleanses. In fact, all the Westernised cleanses are half-baked or poorly interpreted versions of Panchakarma. Panchakarma means five (Pancha) treatments or activities (Karma). These focus on the physical output as mentioned above (input/process/output).
Detoxing is one of the most natural and essential processes in our bodies. No energy-producing engine can work without an exhaust system. We also have an exhaust system and that system takes the exhaust out or detoxes the body. This starts with the breath out. We take out the Co2 that was produced inside the body. Similarly, the urinary process, digestion process, sweating process, and the circulatory process (blood) that expels things from the body are our exhaust system.
These five systems combine to clean our whole body by expelling metabolic waste. However, when we get old, these processes slow down and some of the waste that should be out of the body does not go out. At that point, the body needs some help to get that little bit out of the system as well. Panchakarma works on these 5 systems to take out this waste in a natural way. These metabolic wastes are the root causes of chronic diseases. If we let them acculturate through the ageing process, it leads to diseases, but if we help the body to take them out once they start accumulating, then there are no root causes.
How do your yoga and meditation techniques differ from those offered in traditional yoga studios?
In most cases, yoga is now used as an exercise for the body. This is completely wrong and it’s an exercise for the mind. The poses or asana is designed in a way you have to focus so much to stay in the pose. This helps the mind. This is nourishing the mind. Meditation is not about just focusing on one thing. It’s about recognising how the mind works and managing the information coming in, processing that information, and getting rid of the rest of the information or the residue at basic levels but at higher levels it’s about expanding the mind’s capacity from a pure processing engine to creating more spiritual enhancements.
How do you ensure that guests feel comfortable and safe during their stay at SANTANI Wellness?
That’s the basics of any good hotel – from the quality of material used to attention to detail to the caring team.
How does SANTANI Wellness address the unique sleep challenges of each individual guest?
As mentioned, everything at Santani is personalised and this. is based on an Ayurvedic personalisation process. We look at 3 dimensions through a consultative process. A guest’s natural physical and mental state they are born with, the current state they are in and their goals. Personalisation happens based on all three.
How do you encourage guests to continue incorporating the practices they learn at SANTANI Wellness into their daily lives?
Santani is about science and logic. No other wellness resort provides this education to the guests. Once guests understand (as it’s an evolutionary issue) they retain most of it. We are also working on a digital app to connect the guests after they leave and have access to all the tools.
Can you tell us more about the Shirodhara treatment and how it helps improve sleep?
It’s a treatment that pours warm oil onto the frontal cortex of the brain (on the forehead or the third eye). This rhythmic pouring shuts down the whole nervous system and puts you into a state where both the mind and the body rest. This is more powerful than regular sleep where the rest of the body and now even the mind is still working whereas, with Shirodhara, the whole body stops and rests.
How do you stay current with the latest research and developments in sleep and wellness?
We believe we are the most advanced on this subject and completely different in approach. Treating symptoms vs treating root causes, which is evolutionary. However, we are subscribed to many scientific peer-reviewed journals on the subject and we compare all that with what we do all the time.
What plans do you have for the future of SANTANI Wellness?
We want to be the global leader in preventative healthcare. We want to change the ineffective curative healthcare practices we have today to preventative practice that addresses the root causes rather than the symptoms. We believe this is the biggest human need in the world and we have the best solution.