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Wellness Warrior: Wsinee S. of RAKxa Wellness, Bangkok

Wellness retreats have always been the rage, but they’ve become even more so after the global pandemic. After all, what better way to get yourself in the best shape of your life (and ward off nasty viruses) than in gilded, oft-lush environs (usually with green juice, vitamins and coconut water on tap)?

Not all wellness retreats are created equal though, as Wsinee Sukjaroenkraisri would attest. Having tried many of them firsthand, the Vice President of Business Strategy & Programmes at RAKxa Wellness & Medical Retreat in Bangkok tells us more about her most extreme retreat experience, why she believes in integrative wellness, and her go-to rituals for staying calm and grounded.

Wsinee S. (Photo: Courtesy of RAKxa)

Tell us about your personal wellness journey.

During my school days, I had a bad fall that led to disc degeneration in my spine. I didn’t actually feel anything until 10 years later when my arm would occasionally go numb, and after an MRI and X-ray, my doctor advised me to get surgery. I was only in my early 20s and didn’t want to go that route, so I started looking into alternative therapies to help ease the pain. Thanks to a combination of yoga, Reiki and massage, it’s helped a lot.

Have you been to many wellness retreats?

Yes, both for personal reasons and for work. I’ve been to Lanserhof, Clinique La Prairie and Bad Ragaz overseas. In Thailand, I’ve been to Chiva-Som, Kamalaya and so on. I was so skinny after doing Lanserhof and Clinique La Prairie together!

Wow, how was that experience?

It was really tough at Lanserhof. They believe that people become ill because of all the toxins in your body that accumulate from overeating and pollution. Everyone there has to detox by drinking four glasses of epsom salt water a day – I did a liver cleanse on top of that. We were given a piece of bread and glass of milk for three meals a day, so you definitely lose weight after a week of eating just that. There was also a strict no-phones policy to help you de-stress, and you actually don’t feel too hungry.

Is it like that at RAKxa?

Not at all. Our concept is that even if a guest is on a weight management programme, we don’t serve them bird food. Instead, we get them to understand what eating healthy means. Our detox programme is the most extreme with liquids only at the start, but if you’re on a de-stress programme, why would you want to go through more stress? Food should be promoting wellness, not stress. It should also taste as good as it looks, because it already makes your heart happy when you see something beautiful.

How else does RAKxa differ from other wellness retreats?

RAKxa’s concept is integrative wellness. Our philosophy is that there’s no one perfect medicine for anyone, because there are so many different modalities to suit each stage of your life. At times, you might need more physical work, like physio or chiro, and other days, you might need more emotional healing. At RAKxa, it’s how we integrate these different therapies together.

What does RAKxa actually mean?

“RAKxa” means to cherish, to heal and to prevent. This means that even before we need to take care of our health [issues], we have to cherish it so that we don’t get sick. That’s the key, because health is ultimately one’s own wealth.

What are the most popular programmes at RAKxa?

Definitely our Destress and Detox programmes. Thanks to the pandemic, people are experiencing more stress than ever before. Most people stay for about a week, and a lot of our guests come solo. In a world where we are constantly connected and wanting to know what’s going on outside, we often overlook ourselves and what our body needs. At RAKxa, it’s more of an inward journey – a chance to get back in touch with yourself.

What can we expect from RAKxa going forward?

We are working on the Presidential Suite and a second restaurant at RAKxa, which should open at the end of 2024. Unlike our main restaurant which has a mix of international and Thai cuisine, the new restaurant will serve fusion Asian cuisine – think Vietnamese, Thai, and Laotian food with plenty of herbs, as they’re great for anti-inflammation.

We’re also expanding overseas with a wellness spa in Aspen, Colorado and another RAKxa retreat in Italy. Both are scheduled to open in Q4 of this year, which is very exciting – and also very tiring!

How are you coping and what is your best wellness tip?

Be in the present. Everyone experiences stress, but when you are connected with yourself and being more mindful and in the present, you’re able to differentiate what is emotion and what is fact. It’s when you ‘crunch’ everything together that leads to stress.

Finally, what are your go-to health rituals?

Every morning, I take my dogs out for a walk – I have two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels who are very sweet. This has many benefits – first, it helps me connect to the earth by being on the ground and out in nature. Secondly, I get exposed to the sun for some Vitamin D, and I’m able to hit my step count for the day. Third, they make me smile and that’s emotional wellness achieved.

I also keep a plant in the office to stay connected to nature, and in the evenings, my crystal singing bowl helps me wind down for the day.

Wsinee Sukjaroenkraisri is Vice President, Business Strategy & Programmes of RAKxa Wellness & Medical Retreat, a holistic medical wellness retreat located just 45 minutes by car outside of Bangkok.

NEXT: Read our in-depth review of RAKxa

See also: 7 New Hong Kong Wellness Spots To Reset

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