by Kaye Estoista-Koo
Today’s lifestyle, compared to 10 years ago, has changed drastically. More and more people work at night or stay up all night to finish requirements. This has resulted in a lot of unhealthy eating habits and patterns.
Everyone also has more disposable money to spend on the latest cake, dessert, ice cream, or trendy junk food. It doesn’t help that the Philippines is a cost-sensitive market. In order to bring costs down and volume production up, the meat in the country is pumped full of growth hormones in order to meet the demand.
MIND, BODY, AND SOUL
All these changes have resulted in more and more people getting sick. It is no wonder that cancer is the fastest-growing disease in the Philippines. Health and well-being advocate Sanaiyah Gurnamal noted that hospitals have picked up on the trend, building newer, more advanced cancer wings as a result.
“Fourteen-year-olds have cancer. Why would a fourteen-year-old have cancer? People get sicker and more and more are stressed. Everyone is always looking for ways to heal,” says Sanaiyah, who started the Third Eye Wellness Center with all these lifestyle changes in mind. “I created the center as a place where I could come to work, read the books I wanted to read, chill and have good organic food, have my nails done, and have treatments that target mind, body, and soul.”
Unlike her Dubai facility, Sanaiyah says she expanded the all-healing facility to a lifestyle center targeting health and wellbeing here in the Philippines: “I did my research and, being market-centric, I saw that a lifestyle center was needed. This trend is already the norm elsewhere. When I arrived in Dubai, I saw it transform from a desert to a cosmopolitan city, I was there when the first Buddha Bar was born! I lived in Japan for 16 years before moving to the US then Dubai. I have always been at the beginning of things. When I arrived in Manila in 2012, the lifestyle trend didn’t exist yet. But now, it’s gaining.” This wellness trend here, according to her, is on its way to where it is in the rest of the world.
She says that a couple of years back, yoga classes were hard to come by. Today, the classes are full and people are not balking at the costs of minimum R750 per class. “People are putting money in themselves,” she beams.
“The best investment really is yourself. That’s why gyms, anything fitness, even vegan restaurants are doing well.”
Since she opened the center in 2012, Sanaiyah has relied heavily on word of mouth, as that is how most clients found their way to the sixth floor of the 20th Drive Corporate Center in BGC.
She has a Ph.D. in Alternative Medicine, but she’s chosen to be called by her first name.
“I think alternative medicine is perceived as ‘quacky’ stuff, like a scary older woman with a crystal ball, and there is a lot of negative perception and impression.”
Even the name Third Eye Wellness has no religious intention, but it does focus on spirituality. “Third eye is about meditation, going inward,” she explains. “It is supposed to mean healing and spirituality, and does not promote any religion and it doesn’t mean you can see ghosts, a common belief in the Philippines.”
In the Philippines, Sanaiyah sees herself at the forefront of “bridging the gap between spirituality and lifestyle. Dubai, which was completely healing oriented, is different. Here, it’s about taking pride in who you are and your lifestyle and the right space to move forward.”
She is also a professor at the Ateneo Graduate School of Business. She finished her Masters in Entrepreneurship from the same school. She now teaches Creative Thinking and Intuition Management, which is part of the business courses. Teaching classes that she used to take feels significant for her. “That’s my classic example of bridging the gap, when I teach a class that I took. It was in my coursework that I was reminded my clients wanted to live a certain lifestyle and that has been my business model,” she says.
DOWN TO THE ROOT CAUSE
Theta Healing is one of the core services offered at Third Eye Wellness. “I am the only teacher with a Certificate of Science who has taught and healed in all courses,” she says. “I have taught most of those who ended up becoming Theta healers whether here or elsewhere in Manila as most people who start here have learned from me. I am also the Philippine representative to the Theta Healing Institute of Knowledge or THInK USA, taught by founder Vianna Stibal. I am the first to bring it in, so there are 20 but maybe closer to 10 teachers. We do have several hundreds of Theta healers though.”
Theta Healing is a technique both spiritual and psychotherapeutic, founded by Vianna who was healed from cancer through this, 20 years ago, making it a point to spread awareness of it from the US. Now, according to Sanaiyah, every country has Theta healers. “In Japan alone, there are more than 10,000 healers! There, the hospitals are hiring healers to work alongside doctors,” says she, who considers this also part of the reason she doesn’t use her title Doctor. “I don’t use Dr. because it’s very formal, very intimidating, and what I do well with people is building rapport and making them feel comfortable, safe, able to discuss what is going on in their lives.”
Theta Healing essentially starts with a session where the healer scans, connects with clients, and helps them work through their issues that seem hopeless and desperate. Sanaiyah has dealt with babies, little children, even people in comas. “I had clients who were making a choice to come back from a coma or move on,” she says. “As I scanned them, and we discussed their options, some come back, but some would say, if they came back, their physical body would undergo months of therapy, and it was not something they were willing to do. I have to respect what they want, it’s their choice.”
She has many clients who come in with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome or PCOS cases, which end up being related to former hurts and betrayal in the lives of her clients and two months later, having worked through those issues, they come back with their ultrasounds, showing no more PCOS in the ovaries. Sanaiyah has also worked with clients with stage 4 cancer, and some don’t want to continue when they hit a certain issue, hitting a block or hindrance that would flush out the negativity. She respects when clients decide they don’t want to address their issues.
With Theta Healing, she is able to go to the root of any problem—someone who comes in with a desperate situation careerwise has an unresolved childhood trauma. Or someone who is very sickly ends up with so much hate and bitterness in life and relationships.
Theta Healing begins in the mind, helping a patient pick up positive learning from even the most traumatic event and letting go of the negative experience, taking responsibility for oneself, and feeling empowered.
THE ROOT OF PROBLEMS
Sanaiyah reports that of the clients who come in, 90 to 95 percent have healed from both their prevalent and underlying issues. She hopes to chronicle into a database all those who have been healed from a medical diagnosis, meaning they came in with a condition, with a medical test to prove it, and after a session or two, she reports that the condition has been healed.
She says that they bring in their X-rays or scans to prove that the medical condition has indeed been healed. So far, she has about 30 of those cases. There have so far been hundreds of non-medical cases.
Because many of her clients are also doctors or related to doctors, Sanaiyah has the chance to forge informal partnerships with certain medical disciplines like Neuroscience and Oncology.
“With St. Luke’s, I have a partnership as a lot of my clients are doctors or related to doctors,” she says. “I get a lot of support. They are open and have attended my talks. I gave a talk for all the neurosurgeons who wanted to know about Theta Healing. One of the doctors sent her niece, late 20s. She was exhibiting jittery behavior, paranoia while in session, and they did not give me a diagnosis but as I started to talk to her, I realized she was taking anti-hallucinatory medicines. We dealt with painful experiences, which happened before she had a reality break. By next session, she had calmed down. By that third and last session she was completely, totally normal.”
Unlike Japan, where Theta Healing is done inside the hospitals, the Philippine climate is still exploring it. Sanaiyah has doctors who are Theta healers and one of them, a cardiologist, “used Theta Healing to save a patient’s life, without being in the hospital.” The doctor was able to scan her patient remotely and advise the attending doctors what to look for.
Sanaiyah believes that Theta Healing will soon be more mainstream. “We are getting there, but not there yet,” she says. “I have been working to integrate and St. Luke’s Neuroscience, they asked if I could do a healing clinic for them. Doctors now are talking more about the power of positive thinking and stress management. If you have a heart condition, your doctor is not just telling you to take medicine but he is telling you to exercise, to do yoga.”
There is a shift in perspective and Sanaiyah prefers to use the word complementary rather than alternative. “I keep telling my clients, keep going to your doctor,” she says. “We have a strict policy that we never take them off medication but instead, we tell them, after a session or two with us, to ask if they could reduce. If okay, then go ahead. So we have had patients who got healed from anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, dissociative identity disorder, reality breaks, schizophrenia, etc.”
Sanaiyah’s had clients come in with suicidal tendencies, those who have dealt with abortions but, the majority, like one in every three, come in with issues of cheating and betrayal. “It was really relationships that damaged or hurt them,” she says. “It’s very common and it shocked me at first.”
Since Third Eye isn’t about religion, what the center achieves through Theta Healing, Transcend Spa, the Chakra Café, and all the other services, is to help clients deal with the real issues. “There are a lot of hindrances and I help them take the best of their religions instead of living with the fear,” she says. “What I do is not a religion, it’s for everybody and we don’t even talk about religion here.” Admittedly, however, they have to deal with religion as these ideas from whatever religion come up during sessions, which, as Sanaiyah puts it, is something called “group consciousness and I help people release guilt, neutralizing the negative energy, and I help them receive the love from God, which is what religion is about, along with learning to be a better person and living out of love.”
Many of Sanaiyah’s clients have said that they have been able to connect with their religion better after even just one session.
“We carry a lot of fear in religion, when it is supposed to give us strength so what I am doing is helping people rediscover and reconnect with their idea of God,” she says.