ESCAPADA Retreat: Chinese Medicine & Ayurvedic retreat

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Meet the ESCAPADA Chinese Medicine & Ayurvedic Retreat Founders

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ESCAPADA: Chinese Medicine & Ayurvedic Retreat Founders Emilia Herting & Maeve O’Sullivan on health and wellbeing.

ESCAPADA is a luxury integrative health retreat based in stunning Mallorca and founded by expert practitioners and leading health experts, Emilia Herting & Maeve O’Sullivan. By combining the two synergies of Chinese Medicine & Ayurveda, they have created a health retreat led and run by the co-founders themselves focusing on the Escapada Four Pillars: nutrition, exercise, rest and alternative medicine. We caught up with Emilia and Maeve to learn more about the health benefits of Chinese Herbal Medicine, Acupuncture and Ayurveda.

LN: Can you tell us a bit more about your backgrounds and what you specialise in?

Maeve: I began my exploration of healthcare through the lens of Western Medicine. I obtained a BSc Degree in Nursing and worked worldwide within the field for 15 years. Whilst loving Western Medicine and all its wonders, my mind grew curious as to what other approaches might be out there. I couldn’t quite express what I was searching for but felt ultimately restricted within a world of diagnostics and medication that really only supported a ‘one size fits all’ approach. For me studying Chinese Medicine made sense, it was a completely natural medicine so I moved to London and completed my BSc Degree in Acupuncture. My areas of specialities are health retreats with the main areas of treatment in the clinic – Women’s Health, Obstetric Acupuncture and Cosmetic Acupuncture.

Emilia: After completing an internship at a German hospital, which was meant to simply confirm my decision to study Western Medicine, I realised something crucial and the dream of becoming a doctor in fourth-generation faded. I was disappointed in the system… for me, there had to be more to it. I knew I wanted to provide a warm, personal space where the patients’ health and wellbeing would be looked at individually rather than a ‚one size fits all‘ approach. I left Hamburg and moved to London where I obtained my BSc Degree in Acupuncture followed by a MSc in Chinese Herbal Medicine. Packed with plenty of valuable practical clinical experience in London, my specialities are clinical and retreat work with the focus on Women’s health, Cosmetic Acupuncture and Pain Management.

Chinese Medicine & Ayurvedic Retreat

LN: When did you both become interested in alternative medicine and healing?

Maeve: Inadvertently my journey into the world of health and wellbeing began during my upbringing on a dairy farm in County Kerry countryside. What we now term ‘organic nutrition’, ‘digital detox’, ‘time in nature’ was not part of some popular trend, they were simply my everyday norm. It was in my blood. In my mid-twenties I began to explore alternatives to medication being the only treatment. As part of an open day that explored varied approaches to natural medicine, I attended a lecture on Chinese Medicine that blew my mind… a complete medicine which treats the whole person. So convinced was I that within three months I had resigned from my job, relocated to London and started a BSc degree in Acupuncture.

Emilia: As one of five children I grew up in the countryside in northern Germany, surrounded by farm animals and lush nature. I’m so appreciative of having had such nourishing and grounding upbringing. I remember inquisitively observing my parents practising Qi Gongs (Chinese Martial Art) in the garden, they both already knew about the beauty and the power of Chinese medicine. My mother was a great inspiration – when I turned away from Western medicine, she opened my mind to the idea of studying Chinese medicine instead, saying it was a philosophical science with plenty of practical knowledge and a job that I could easily integrate into my life no matter what age or phase I was in. I loved the idea of a daily medicine that can be applied to generate health but also to prevent disease. My 6 months trip to Asia, travelling 7 countries, being with myself and exploring the eastern way of life only confirmed what I felt. I moved to London within no time, started my BSc degree in Integrative Chinese Medicine & Acupuncture… and my life started to unfold naturally and beautifully to where I am now!

Chinese Medicine & Ayurvedic Retreat

LN: How did the idea of Escapada come about?

We studied Chinese Medicine together in London. On a time out trip to our new retreat location in Mallorca (Ses Set Sases) we began talking about bringing our knowledge and medicine to beautiful places. We wanted to create a holistic, integrative Health Retreat where the focus was on the individual and not a one size fits all, offering natural solutions for mental and physical wellbeing. Years went by, we finished our degrees, set up our clinics in London and later in Dublin and Hamburg, our home towns. All it needed was another joint surf trip to Portugal in 2016 where we decided now is the time. The world is ready for our retreat concept and so are we. Back on the island, we got introduced to Ingrid Reygers, our now Ayurvedic chef and yoga teacher. Right away we saw the power and wisdom that would be achieved by bringing the two most ancient healing systems together and integrating them into our western lifestyle. We started doing run-throughs with family and friends and anyone who would join and officially kicked off 3 years ago. Integrating eastern medicine into our western life is more relevant today than ever, as it is looking at the human being in its entirety and offers natural solutions for a stronger body and mind.

Escapada Retreat

LN: What are the overall benefits of Chinese Medicine?

Traditional Chinese Medicine is one of the oldest continuous systems of medicine in history, with recorded instances dating as far back as two thousand years. While acupuncture is the most often practised component of Traditional Chinese Medicine, one should know that it is only one important piece of a much larger toolbox. Traditional Chinese Medicine encompasses several methods designed to help people achieve and maintain health. Along with acupuncture, TCM incorporates adjunctive techniques such as acupressure and moxibustion; manipulative and massage techniques such as tuina, cupping and gua sha; herbal medicine; diet and lifestyle changes; meditation; and exercise (often in the form of qigong or tai chi). The benefits of Chinese Medicine in your daily life gives you a solid timeless structure to a healthy lifestyle. There havembeen many changes over the past 10 years within the health and wellness world, good and not so good ones. As a society, there is an increase in curiosity and awareness of health and what wellness means which is wonderful to witness. But we do feel society has adapted quite extremist views to health, giving a lot of yo-yo adaptions to health behaviours and an unsteadiness to health information that is available. There is so much information out there and people are paralysed with trying to figure out what is good for them. The more we move forward with our career, the more we gain respect for the long-standing and solid nature of Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda. They don’t chop and change information, they live on solid principles and when adapted they give individuals a life long individualised health care system.

Escapada Retreat

LN: How can acupuncture be incorporated in daily life and what are the health benefits?

The benefits of acupuncture are sometimes difficult to measure and are different from person to person. Acupuncture aims to treat a wide variety of dis-ease or imbalances by empowering your own body. Your body is an amazing self-healing organism. By bypassing its natural self-repair process and handing all your power over to a doctor, you might be ignoring the very thing you need to heal. Our bodies are brilliantly equipped with natural self-repair mechanisms that kill the cancer cells we produce every day, fight infectious agents, repair broken proteins, keep our coronary arteries open and naturally fight the ageing process. Patients often say that the experience of acupuncture is relaxing mainly because, in treatment, it is important to shut off the stress response. The autonomic nervous system has two major operating systems — the sympathetic nervous system, which produces the body’s stress response, also known as “fight or flight”; and the parasympathetic nervous system, which produces the body’s relaxation response, also known as “rest and digest.” This is our homeostatic state, when the body is in equilibrium. The body’s natural self-repair mechanisms only fully function when the nervous system is in the relaxation response.

Chinese Medicine & Ayurvedic Retreat

LN: What can guests expect to experience at your retreats?

At Escapada we want to strip all confusion, overwhelmed feelings and unnecessary trends away and find out what you as an individual need and what is going to work for you. In order to find this out, everyone will have an extensive consultation with us the expert team to allow us to get to know each guests – that will form the basis of the retreat. The relevant information will flow through the expert team which allows us to advise each individual on all levels. We will work through four pillars here – Holistic Treatments, Mindful Movement, Nourishing Nutrition and Ultimate Me Time.

LN: Can you tell us a bit more about your upcoming retreats in 2020?

We have a number of exciting retreats planned for 2020. We will be doing our seasonal retreats focusing on a “New Year, New You”, Spring Cleanse and Gentle Autumn Cleanse. We will also be running our annual Women’s Health Retreat which is a topic that the Escapada Team are very passionate about. We will also be taking Escapada on Tour this year. We have two exciting collaborations planned with two amazing hotels. On March 18th – 22nd, 2020, we will be running a Spring Cleanse with Hotel Valldemossa, Mallorca. Then on May 28th – June 1st, we will be collaborating with Carlisle Bay, Antigua for an Integrative Health Retreat.

8. What is your core motto/ethos when it comes to wellness and healthy living?

Our core motto/ethos/message that runs through our work, consistently, is an empowered individualised approach to your health. If individuals tune into their own body and start listening to what it wants/needs – this is the key to health and well being.


ESCAPADA is a luxury integrative health retreat based in stunning Mallorca and founded by expert practitioners and leading health experts, Emilia Herting & Maeve O’Sullivan. By combining the two synergies of Chinese Medicine & Ayurveda, they have created a health retreat which focuses on individuals and strictly stays clear of the “one size fits all” package. Led and run by the co-founders themselves, these retreats are based on a shared passion for the medicine and belief that integrative medicine should be apart of your everyday lifestyle. 

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