To live a healthy and holistic lifestyle means living in harmony with your body, mind and spiritual beliefs as well as the environment and realising that everything is connected.
Suzanne Morgan takes you on a holistic journey around Penang to find out where you can nourish body, mind and spirit.
Balancing Body, Mind and Spirit
In Pulau Tikus there are two holistic centres, Lifeworks Holistic Centre and KQ Naturopathic Medicare Centre. Lifeworks Holistic Centre is a space of learning, creativity and transformation. Here you can find intuitive readings, channelling and healing services, coaching and counselling sessions as well as yoga, dance and meditation classes. The ground floor has a retail shop where you can indulge in a bit of retail therapy. Choose from a variety of healing crystals, incense, tarot and oracle decks, chants, mantra and meditation CD’s, candles, essential oils and new age books. The first floor has treatments rooms and space for workshops and classes. Address: 27 Jalan Brother James, Pulau Tikus. Tel: 04-228-8771.
Just around the corner from Lifeworks is KQ Naturopathic Medicare Centre. Naturopathy uses a variety of natural therapies to support the body’s own self- healing abilities. The belief is that every illness has a root cause, often related to diet and lifestyle. A naturopathic practitioner is trained to identify the problem and help the patient find the best way to heal. Treatments available include lymphatic drainage and meridian massage, detoxification therapy, homeopathy and thermotherapy. Address: 37 Lengkok Berjaya, Pulau Tikus. Tel: 04-228-6650.
If you are suffering with any type of pain you might want to consider seeing an osteopath or chiropractor. Even though osteopathy and chiropractic seem very similar therapies, there are some differences. Chiropractors focus more on the treatment of the spine and joints using quick spinal adjustments and mechanical devices to reduce pain and relax muscles. Osteopaths also focus on spine and joints but also the rest of the body that may not seem related to the spine such as digestive or respiratory system. Osteopaths are much more hands on and spend time stretching and massaging the muscles.
At Vantage, next to Tesco at Tanjung Tokong, there is an osteopathy clinic and a chiropractic clinic. For osteopathy contact Dr Sergei Krainuchenko at Step 2 Health, Tel: 04-899- 6377. For chiropractic contact Dr. Chin at ElitCare Chiropractic Tel: 012-415-8153.
If you want a gentler treatment, you can try craniosacral therapy. Craniosacral therapy is a subtle, non-invasive and non-intrusive therapy. It is more about listening to the body’s own wisdom or intelligence and facilitating the body in adjusting and healing itself. If you are used to more active therapies such as massage, osteopathy or chiropractic, it may seem like the therapist is not doing very much. Whilst being one of least invasive therapies, it may surprise you just how powerful this therapy can be. Craniosacral therapy can treat conditions such as stress, depression, anxiety, fatigue, jaw problems and headaches.
The only craniosacral therapist in Penang as far as I know is Mian Joo who is located in Tanjung Bungah. She trained at the College of Cranio-Sacral Therapy in London for two years, qualifying at the end of 2009. She can be contacted on 017-200-8176.
Exercising the Eastern Way
There are many opportunities to try the more traditional forms of health and fitness that originated in Asia such as qigong and yoga.
Qigong is a mind-body healing method that originates from China. It’s one of the oldest aspects of Chinese medicine. Qi (pronounced “chee”) means “life energy” and Gong means “skill” or “work”. Qigong means the practice of absorbing, circulating and refining life energy for health of body and mind. It is common to see groups of people practicing qigong in the open air. If you want to join a class you can contact Mr Ooi Kean Hin who runs Zhineng Qigong classes in Air Itam as well as offering online seminars and healing sessions. Tel: 016 451 1103. There is also the Penang Qigong Association teaching Zhineng Qigong classes in Pulau Tikus and Butterworth (see poster below).
Yoga in its true form is a complete system of self-transformation which has been practiced in India for thousands of years. One aspect of yoga is called hatha-yoga which literally means “forceful yoga”. The practice of hatha-yoga traditionally involves physical postures called asanas, purification practices called kriyas, hand gestures called mudras, breathing exercises called pranayama and meditation.
There are quite a few yoga centres and studios in Penang offering a variety of classes. Not only do these places offer regular yoga classes, but some offer events, workshops and retreats as well as certified teacher training courses.
In Tanjung Bungah you can try Elaine Stewart-Ng’s classes. Elaine is originally from the UK and teaches Iyengar style and Kundalini Yoga. She has also trained in childbirth education and runs pre- and post-natal yoga classes. She teaches kids classes as well as classes for adults from her well-equipped studio close to the beach at 21 Seahome, Tanjung Bungah. Tel: 012-447-0072.
Step into a little oasis of peace and calm at Yoga Space which is located at 98-3-39B Prima Tanjung Business Centre, Jalan Fettes, Tanjung Tokong. Run by Ken and Suzanne Morgan, they offer traditional Hatha yoga classes which are ideal for beginners to more experienced practitioners. There is also a Chakra Yoga class with Sarah-Joy on Mondays. Check out their website for further details.
Located in Love Lane in Georgetown there is Sunalini Yoga. Sunalini teaches beginners to advanced level Iyengar yoga classes. On the ground floor is a retail shop selling organic teas, books props, mats and accessories with the studio on the first floor. Healthy food, including vegetarian options, is available at lunch time on Thursday and Fridays. Address is 92 Love Lane, Georgetown.Tel: 016-405-5409.
If you live near Bayan Lepas you can visit Yoga Plus a yoga studio that offers a variety of classes including Iyengar and vinyasa flow. They also offer teacher training courses. Located at 70-3-28 D’Piazza Mall, Jalan Mahsuri, Bayan Baru (opposite PISA back entrance). Tel: 016-458-3131.
For other yoga classes in Penang, click here.
Eat Yourself Healthy
For a small island, Penang has a surprising number of organic health food stores s. Even more surprising is that quite a few are centred around Pulau Tikus and Tanjung Tokon offering a variety of organic fruit, vegetables, groceries, personal and household products.
On Jalan Pasar there is IE Organic which sells a large range of fresh fruits and vegetables, frozen foods, groceries, personal care, skin care and cosmetics items. Shelves after shelves abound with everything you need for healthy eating. They are also a distributor of Nukleus clothing. Nukleus is a Malaysian company specializing in underwear and basic clothing made from eco-friendly materials such as organic cotton.
In the wet market also on Jalan Pasar, there is LSY Health and Organic Products. This small store not only sells a range of healthy organic veggies and grocery items, but if you are feeling thirsty you can have a freshly made juice.
At Prima Tanjung Business Centre in Tanjung Tokong is Zenxin Organic Food that sells a range of fresh organic produce, organic health foods, tofu, sourdough bread, baby food, health food snacks and much more. Facebook.
Opposite Zenxin Organic Food on Jalan Fettes is Baba Green Cottage which specialises in house plants, fresh herbs, organic produce and household and food products.
For details of these and other health food stores in Penang, click here.
If you live close to Straits Quay, you can visit the organic farmers market held on the third Sunday of the month from 4pm to 7pm. At the moment, the market is small-scale with about half a dozen stalls, but the hope is to expand and include not only organic produce and food, but home-made, natural or recycled products.
If you prefer to eat out then there are quite a few restaurants that serve healthy, meat free food. A few favourites are Idealite Wholesome Dining Place at Gurney Plaza, Gottlieb Road and Queensbay Mall; The Leaf Healthy House at Penang Street; Real Food at Straits Quay; Seed Natural Food Cafe at Abu Siti Lane; Sushi Kitchen at Gat Lebuh Aceh and Sungai Ara as well as Cloud Dreaming Vegan Cake House at Sungai Ara. For more details of these and other vegetarian eateries, click here.
To live a healthy and holistic lifestyle is a personal choice where you have to take responsibility for your own health and well-being. Take a tour around Penang Spirit to find where you can start or continue on your journey to a happy and harmonious life.