Health And Family

LIST: 5 ways to find healing from Lent and beyond

Deni Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo - Philstar.com
LIST: 5 ways to find healing from Lent and beyond
"Seeing green itself is healing." Clockwise: Pink Sisters Convent; nourishing greens from farm-to-table restaurant Farmer's Table; Nurture Wellness Village
Philstar.com/Deni Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo

MANILA, Philippines — While the COVID-19 pandemic has killed over six million people and has scarred and scared millions more worldwide, many people seemed to have overlooked about what Science has called “the biggest killer of the 21st century” – Stress.

A doctor told wellness expert Cathy Brillantes-Turvill recently that we’re so busy with COVID that our lifestyle diseases have gone up – as proven by latest Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) data that showed heart diseases, not COVID-19, were the top causes of death among Filipinos in 2021, with 136,575 or 17.8% of total deaths. This is also 29.7% higher than the 105,281 deaths in 2020, which accounted for 17.1%.

According to the PSA report, cerebrovascular diseases that include stroke and aneurysms were the second leading causes of death in the country, with 74,262 deaths or 9.7% of the total cases for the year — a 15.3% jump from 64,381 cases or 10.5% of total deaths in 2020.

COVID-19 deaths came in third with 9.7% of the cases or 74,008 deaths in the country last year, a climb from 9,316 deaths or 1.5% of the total in 2020.

These statistics show that although the safety protocols worldwide made people wary of the coronavirus, the anxiety and stress brought about by the pandemic and the lockdowns took a toll on many Filipinos. According to Turvill, some people’s dependency on heavily processed delivered or takeout food during these times also add up as studies show a diet high in salt and sugar can also lead to cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases.

“Stress is the world’s biggest killer because just like in a car, it corrodes your system, parang nag-ra-rust ‘yung system mo,” Turvill expounded.

Thus, this summer and Lenten season, as many people take time off from work to reflect and to heal, Turvill invites everyone to visit Tagaytay, which is now made more accessible and with less traffic thanks to the opening of more and more expressways and shortcuts connecting the popular summer getaway to Metro Manila.

May it be for preventing diseases or recovery, here are some ways to find holistic healing all year round:


Due to its cool weather and scenery marked by the Taal Volcano and lake, Tagaytay has been a famed go-to place for retreats. Among its most popular destinations is the Pink Sisters Convent in Pulong Sagingan, Barangay Maitim II West Cavite, Tagaytay.

Known for its serene church and tranquil Stations of the Cross courtyard, the convent run by the pink-clad Sister-Servants of the Holy Spirit of Perpetual Adoration is open from early morning until night for everyone who want to pray, attend Mass, or write prayer petitions.

Meditate and relax

A few minutes away from the Pink Sisters Convent is Nurture Wellness Village in Pulong Sagingan, Barangay Maitim II West Cavite, Tagaytay. The village has walking paths and lush gardens for meditation.

“Relaxation – it’s so important to just chill and walk around the garden. I would encourage you to breathe in and breathe out,” enthused Turvill, who underwent training on The Revolutionary Practice of Mind-Body Medicine conducted at the Harvard Medical School in Boston.

She egged one to try walking around the reflexology path barefoot while enjoying somebody’s company and nature. This, she said, provides social and spiritual support.
“Count one to five as you breathe in, then breathe out for five seconds… breathing exercises could help when you find it hard to sleep at night,” she assured.

To address sleeping problems, she recommended trying to sleep early with all lights off and with aromatherapy filling the air. Cathy’s husband, Dr. Michael Turvill, is a doctor of Chemistry and specializes in concocting the wellness village’s natural aromatherapy oils.


According to Turvill, studies show that journaling moves the stress from self to paper.

To start journaling, she suggested looking back and reflecting on what is good about today, then jotting down how to make it better for the next day.

“Journaling enhances self-awareness and you're not in auto-pilot. Even if it’s a terrible day – write down three things you’re grateful for. Studies show that a grateful heart is a healthy heart. If you’re unforgiving and angry, you’re prone to cancer and heart problems,” Turvill warned. 

Improve blood circulation

“We always talk about circulation because circulation is life. If there’s no circulation, it’s death,” Turvill said.

“When people got stuck in their homes, their body and blood circulation became as stuck as their cars in their garage… Kung mahina circulation natin, parang clogged up tayo, parang sa kusina… Our cells look clogged under a microscope due to poor circulation... When you remove the clog, things, cells flow.”

Among Nurture’s wellness programs that could help increase one’s blood circulation is the Stress Buster program, “designed to give you healing through nature and touch, which is massage,” said Turvill.

Apart from exercises like Tai-Chi, the program also includes the Filipino signature massage Hilot and Dagdagay foot reflexology. For added beauty benefits, she recommended capping off the massages with a 30-to-45-minute San Sage natural facial for improving blood flow in the face and head.

“A massage moves your blood, boosts your blood so all the good stuff you’re taking in will go to your cells. It’s a traditional medicine that is actually scientific and enhances the system,” Turvill ensured.

Detox and nourish

Apart from massages, the Stress Buster program is composed of early morning colon-cleanse or “Labatiba” without colonics that could stress the heart, said Turvill. 

It also includes using infrared sauna, which, according to Turvill, will improve blood circulation while pulling out toxins. 

It is important, she said, that after detoxing, that the body is replenished with “super juices” chockfull in nutrients. Among the greens included in the program’s juices is kale, a cousin of broccoli and so called “queen of greens.”

Related: LIST: Summer juice recipes for weight loss

“We give you these juices so that when we removed your toxins, we’re filling naman your body with good stuff. So nag-che-change oil ka, bale. Pero hindi lang ordinary oil ang papasok sa’yo – super clean and super charged oil,” Turvill vouched.

Detoxing and nourishment, she said, apply not only in changing your body, but also your mind.

Hence, instead of watching a social media video that could make you angry, she suggested finding a video that makes you laugh. If you could help it, go on a social media detox and escape to a piece of paradise.

“Research has shown that going to nature really takes out the stress,” Turvill attested.

“In fact, by just seeing green or having something like that in your desk or the sound of nature is very healing.”

According to her, to live life to the fullest, all aspects of the wellbeing should also be fully addressed and that means healthy eating, hydration, movement, cleansing, sleep, and most importantly, social and spiritual support.

RELATED: Women’s Month: Investing in ‘nanays’ helps Tagaytay business grow despite pandemic






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