top of page

What About Vietnam - 2-13

A special kind of retreat that focuses on Skin Wellness, Part 2

Kerry Newsome: xin chào and welcome to what about Vietnam? Today we're going to be talking a little bit further about health retreats and on Wellbeing in Vietnam, & the focus is

going to be on skin wellness. 

And I've asked Kim La Sambolec to come on because she is an expert in this field and she is running retreats in Hoi An in Vietnam. She is founder of the Skin Wellness Academy, and

she's clearly ahead of the game in this area. Now, when you start looking at retreats and finding locations for them and looking for destinations which can offer you a range of experiences, you probably can't go past Vietnam as a location to do that. And certainly, the focus could be on a place called Hoi An, because Hoi An offers just such a beautiful range of experiences to add to whatever retreat you might choose to do.

Today, Kim's going to take us and quite deeply into skin wellness. We're going to learn lots about what she offers in her retreats. And so lots of lessons to take away from today. Skin

wellness is a specialty. It is quite unique. And it's absolutely fabulous that you can find a retreat such as this in Vietnam. I hope you're welcome Kim to the program, Kim. Welcome to

the show. It's lovely to have you on. And I'm so excited to be talking about retreats in Vietnam and what you do in the skin wellness space.

Kim La Sambolec: Thank you Kerry for having me on here, and I'm really, really excited to be talking about that with you and everyone who is listening as well.

Kerry Newsome: Great. Look, You know, we hear a lot about wellness retreats in Vietnam. I mean, what for? For a person looking to come to Vietnam, especially post COVID. What

should they be looking for in a wellness retreat in Vietnam especially, in the post COVID environment?

Kim La Sambolec: Yeah. There's two separate questions there I can hear Kerry, one is like what to look for in a wellness retreat in Vietnam. I could tell you for that question alone that there's not many of them here. At all, and I, in fact, like skin wellness, you know, there's not really that many in the world at all. I'm actually quite happy to say that I host one of the world's first skin wellness retreats, and it just so happens to be in Vietnam's. I guess that's why I was on your radar and then for yeah, and then the second question; What could they look out for here? Is that correct?

Kerry Newsome: Yes.

Kim La Sambolec: My retreats are held currently only in Hoi An which is near Danang in Vietnam. It's a UNESCO heritage site, and it has a beautiful old town and rice paddies and, you know the beach and the mountains all in one.

And it's actually a very unique place because there are not really many places in the world that has all of those four elements in the one place within literally five kilometers from one end to the other, like mountain to beach kind of thing. And so, when I have the skin wellness retreat here, it really, is complimentary to what we offer in the retreat because it really has that holistic and healing and added relaxation benefits to it as well to help to restore, recharge and relax a person that may have been in lock down for multiple times in COVID.

And so, when you come to look for retreats after COVID, then you probably want to, you know, get away to a place that maybe has a lot of elements that your town or city, the place that you're coming from doesn't have. And so, I feel like Vietnam’s got food, it's got nature, it’s got beaches. It's got beautiful tourist destinations and scenic things, and it has beautiful retreats and stuff here to choose from as well. So why not?

Kerry Newsome: Yes, definitely. I mean, you're right, you couldn't get a better setting than Hoi An. And I think the thing that I really want to hone in on with you in this episode is

around the difference in I guess what we read in Brochure, and what we see on Google and all the kinds of promotions around wellness.

You know, it's kind of the hip word to use to describe retreats and eco and all of those words kind of get mixed up a little bit, I think or confused. The good thing about yours for me and in understanding yours was that it's really centered and focused around your skin. And, the wellness retreat that your offering is all around looking at the barriers to poor treatment off your skin or you know, any information and things like that.

I have been listening, and I think what I'd like you to tell us a little bit more about is just what that means for the person who's booking a tour like that to experience that with you. Because

you know, there's products to talk about this. You know what? What do they do there? What do they do with you? That kind of gives them this wellness?

Kim La Sambolec: Yeah. Great question Kerry, thank you for that. Skin wellness okay, like skin alone is generally something that you know. We often think it’s separate, its superficial.

It's on the surface and everyone sees and everyone touches it., you know, and it's protecting us. It's meant to be protecting us from the environment, right and holding us together like,

well, without our skin and functioning and body intact. You know, we would be a blahmess.

What I mean by skin wellness is that well, you need to be well and have wellness and have health and have vitality from within before your skin can then look and feel amazing and radiate literally your glow from the inside out. So that's why I've made it skin wellness rather than just a blanket term off general wellness. Because, yes, there are plenty of retreats out there all over the world., that a wellness treats like yoga retreats or exercise retreat or boot camp. It treats. Yeah, but this is very specific in skin wellness treats and how I have merged my skills and what I love to do and how I transform my client’s skin into a skin wellness retreat is basically incorporating all the elements of my skin transformation system into three days.

And so, you probably want to know like, Well, okay, what is that system? Right. The system, in order to get your skin to be glowing and healthy and radiate; for it to age gracefully and

also not even just the more superficial side of it. But what about the comfort side of it? There are people that you know, have itchiness and redness and rash and stuff, and they kind of are uncomfortable in their own skin. It is hard to sleep. They've scratched themselves until they bleed at night and stuff. I'm talking about, you know, a whole general wellness level, that will transform into a healthy, beautiful, resilient organ which is the largest organ in our body. And that's our skin, right? And so, my skin transformation system, when we incorporate all of the elements of that into a wellness retreat, is the fact that you will get all the tools that you need to rebuild your skin by rebuilding your health at the same time, which then equal being well. What if we talk Post COVID in particular? Well, what is happening

during COVID?

Okay, there's a lot of stress. There's a lot of anxiety. All of a sudden, moms and parents and stuff find that they're doing now, like 50 jobs rather than 20 and a lot of roles and

responsibilities. I just before this podcast started, like, you know, you saw that I have to message multiple people to keep the kids that they, you know, so that they come here and don’t make noise and stuff. It's really challenging for the world right now, and we're in COVID right now, so we're really, definitely, projecting that Post COVID.

It will be soon on what? You know, you are going to think about what you are dealing with right now during COVID and then what? What do you want at the end of COVID? The Skin

Wellness Retreat gives you, then you know, tools and elements that you need, in your pocket to just reach in and manage to feel well, to feel balance, you know? It's got meditation techniques, mindfulness techniques.

You learn different things, different breathing techniques, like there are multiple different kinds of breathing techniques. I simplify everything to make it suitable for the most beginner

as well. And then we do yoga to move the body, and then we eat amazing food. And what better product that there in Vietnam, like all of the food we get from the organic three organic

fields in Hoi An. And the chef that I work with. He's a Vietnamese American chef who has so much flair in his

food. And so, he personalizes everything. And so all of the ingredients and the food are high with nutrients that are known to regenerate skin and give energy for a person; he helped

me incorporate that into the menu. So basically, moms or parents and stuff who come to the retreat, they don't have to think about everyone else for once, they can be taken care of.

So, I think that's really important for Post COVID. It is that Yeah, you go. You're kind of like, hitting quite a few birds with one stone, right? Learn something that you could take back, and it'll last forever.

Treat yourself so then you can show yourself some care, some care, some love, some respect and actually recharge your batteries. Because otherwise, if you keep going and going, going, going like an energy bunny, doing everything for everyone else, when is your battery going run flat? And when your battery runs flat it’s much harder to recharge. And then you're talking about a health condition. You're talking about disease. You're talking about cancer you're talking about, you know, like lots of things. Like, I mean, I ran into that myself, So I

don't want that to happen, um, to anyone else, because it's really not pleasant, I tell you.

Kerry Newsome: No, definitely not on. I think, we’re not really aware of the pressures or the impact of COVID until we start to see evidence of it in things like our skin. And, you know, as skin is one of those things, I think that, you know, it's something that everybody can see. So, you know, if its kind of, you can't hide from it. So, you know, if you're not well or you are feeling anxiety or whatever. It's very easy for the skin to show that up. And I love the fact that you take responsibility and you want to encourage the people who join you at your retreat, to look at the inside and to look at you know, your mental attitude and your mindfulness around it because, as you say, they're all very, very connected.

I think one of the things I just want to add, which is, is possibly something that comes up for people that I engage with in my role as a foreigner. They kind of see Vietnam is, um oh, gosh, you know, we're going to get all this pampering and they're going to, use locally made products and there's, you know, there's going be Citrus oils and, uh, you know, alot theseddifferent kinds of skin rubs and masks, and I'm going tell you I've had some disasters where people have tried this with every good intention I might add, as they tell me that are you will feel so much better with this, and your skin will love this and only to walk out with my skin totally gone berserk and uh, me walking away thinking No, I will not be doing that again.

Can you talk a little bit about how that happens and, like, what can people do to avoid that?

Kim La Sambolec: Yes. But it all comes down. Kerry to having an awareness of what your body needs and what your body is capable of handling. So, if you think all of these lotions and potions and rubs and Citrus this and that that you locally made of Vietnam, and you know you had disasters when you were here last time, think back off. Say, for example, when you were 10 or 12 and you had these lotions and potions put on you.

Do you think that you would have reacted the same back then, as you did previously? Like just recently?

Kerry Newsome: I don't know. Probably not.

Kim La Sambolec: Exactly. I mean, what is that?

Kerry Newsome: I mean, I think you know, if you have skin that has a highly allergic aspect to it, then it's pretty difficult to not hit that note, I guess. But I just find that in Vietnam because there is a a propensity of the Vietnamese to want to lather you in locally made oils. And coconut oil especially, because it’s kind of the standard, but it's not of the same standard as a foreigner would be used to applying to their skin so often, I'm not the only one. Our skin can react quite violently.

Kim La Sambolec: Totally. I totally get that. And most of my clients who come to me their skin has reacted violently due to the fact of using incorrect products. You know, because our

skin is the largest organ in the body and it's designed. It's designed to protect us, and so when it's weak and it’s down and it's not strong, as strong as it used to be, um, then it's going to be highly sensitive to reacting to anything so and then. So that's one factor. But the other factor is like, “What is it that you're putting on your skin?” 

You know? How is it made? What is the formulation? What is the ingredient inside? It's all really important, too. Being able, understand where you're at, and also what are you being

exposed to, so I'm very, very careful about that. Like in my skin consultations and stuff. When I look at every single product a person is using, analyze every single ingredient in each of those products to find the root cause of what is aggravating their skin. Because if we don't find the root cause of why the skin is breaking down, why the skin is not being as resilience a it should be. Then, of course, we're going to, we're not going to get the outcome that we want. Does that make sense?

Kerry Newsome: Yes, yes. No, definitely. And I think I guess what I’m trying to hit the note on is in Vietnam. There's such a great, uh, opportunity for people to experiment in the sense

with food, with different oils with different experiences of oils, as in pampering. And there are different processes that are offered at various different locations around Vietnam. And you would know this. I just would love to give some guidance to travelers around the experience on skin wellness. And, maybe, between you and I, we can give some tips to people to avoid those reactions, those negative negative reactions. Because I don't want anyone going to Vietnam after they've been listening. to my podcast about wellness and going Oh, we were told that we could do anything. Well, that's not right. So yeah, I just think it's great that you have been able to focus on what's most important from an ingredient perspective and not fall into the “You know, it's organic and it's made locally” and lets not

fall down that route and that that's not what your retreats based on them. A little bit more scientific, I think. What I'm what I'm trying to get to;-

Kim La Sambolec: Yeah, no, we definitely want, you know, scientific elements, clinical aspect, holistic aspect. And if, after all of that, then whatever could be organic and, you know, no chemicals and preservatives like nasty preservatives and stuff, then great, right, because then we get the best of both worlds then. But where, where we're getting out, we don't want the listeners to, you know, we want to actually guide the listeners to get to Vietnam and be able to have a bit of a bit of knowledge on what they can do to protect them from getting reactions from these treatments that are available on every street corner.


Kerry Newsome: Yes. And I think definitely. Yes.

Kim La Sambolec: Well, I have never had a facial or treatment in Vietnam or many countries. Actually, um, if it's not in a clinic like a proper, clinical, well established environment where I can see that, people are well trained and the hygiene standards, uh, there and everything, you know, like a massage. Okay, I'm a little bit more liberal about massage. But I also asked them to change the towels right in front of me, you know? When I walk into the room, I will ask him, “Can you please change the towels in front of me?” Because if I put my face on those towels, what if the previous person to me has some skin rash or infection or something? on so that is something that I always do, but otherwise carry, facials and letting them rub stuff on my face. No, that does not ever happen in Vietnam. I've been to places like, the Intercontinental. . And I've had a facial there but then they're just, like, therapeutic. Relaxation kind of facials. They're not. They're not, like, skin transformed, regenerating, you know, rebuilding skin health kind of stuff that I'm me into. Because for me, all of my stuff is like, it goes deep, all the ingredients. Everything you use literally goes into yourselves, right into cells. If you have superficial treatments that they just lather oils and stuff on top, then if you have an acne skin.

If this comes thento having awareness of what your skin needs on what your skin is able to take is that, say, for example, you already have sensitive and acne skin on you. Allow them to rub like essential oils on you. It doesn't matter how it's made. really or oils. Then it's going

clog your pores, it is going irritate it more. And then afterwards you break out more and also the creams and the cleanses and stuff like how can you be sure that you know the ingredients in there is not going to strip your skin; is not going leave it susceptible to bacteria invasion.

As soon as you step out the door and it's hard, it's human. It's dusty and sunny, all of those things, I question. But of course, thats the reason why I don't have treatments. And I miss out probably because I know too much? Yeah. And it comes in a paranoia comes with knowing all these things and being out to see it. Where to a person that doesn't maybe doesn't know as much, then they don't notice these things. Then you just go in and hope for the best, right? So…

Kerry Newsome: Yeah, I think there's a difference. Yeah, you're so right. I think you know that aspect of going in and having an expectation that you're going to have all these local, locally made and produced oils. And it's organic this and. that?? You're going to walk out with, a fully restored skin, from a cellular level, as you say is too high. That expectation is too high. And I think what I'm trying to warn people about is to not go in there and just be, mindless in the sense off. You know, saying yes to everything, instead be a bit more inquisitive, as you say, ask about the towels. You know, what oils are they using? You want to know what specific method or treatments are they going to apply. Really do a

little bit of homework rather than just going in, because you can walk out; not the same as the way you walked in, and not for the better.

And I think there's a different cost to that to that scenario as well. You're thinking about that, and it will be, you know, I don't know about $500,000 dong, or whatever it is for, you know, a couple of hours treatment, etc in mask and face mask and things like that. Where, as

you say, you could even go to the intercontinental Danang where it'll cost you, 3 times as much, you know? And arm and a leg., and it's still a therapeutic treatment for relaxation.

So and yours is kind of that next step over again, isn't it? It's like, Well, this isn't just like a short buzz. You're going to walk out in a half an hour and you're an hour's time and, you know, totally refreshed. This is a treatment isn't it's three days of applying a process. So maybe walk us through just very scantily. Maybe just that three days. So the person arrives. What's the first thing they do?

Kim La Sambolec: Well, the first thing you do is relax by the pool and get a head and shoulder massage, and you can choose your location to get the massage. So underneath the coconut tree by the lake. Or, you know, like underneath a little chalet over the ponds that lily ponds and then Just settle into your room and just be like in awe. I've got my own space. Finally, no kids screaming, no one asking me to do anything except to come and have my nails painted and get a massage and then get my program for when my yoga and meditation classes will be. And when my next meal is going to be. That's already cooked for me, and it's already planned out that it's going be good for my skin and my body

and for my digestion on. Then all these next three days. It's just about me. And then people have an option. Like we advise people just to be on your phone as little as possible, because you want to be here. You want to be immersing yourself and you want to immerse in the experience here for three whole days, right? Not 1 foot in, 1 foot out and the other foot is at home worrying about whether the kids they're going to survive or the husband is going to survive with kids or the nanny or whatever. You're right. They can deal with it.

And I mean, I've had a lot of moms who come, and it's their first time leaving their kids at home. And really, it was not easy for them to say yes to themselves and to come. But once they did now, they're like, Wow, everyone can live without me. It's awesome because that's the pressure that moms and women put on ourselves as well. We tend to think we're so used to doing everything for everyone else that we tend to think that the world can't function without us, and so that's the pressure. And that's the guilt as well, because we think if we're out doing something for ourselves, then we're being selfish. And what about everyone else suffering at home? Well, you know what? You've kind of been suffering

slowly every single day since you had that. Not to say that children aren’t a blessing in disguise and, they teach us lots of lessons and kids are amazing. I've got two myself and you know, no regrets there, but it's really hard work. It's definitely one of the hardest challenges that I have ever yet overcome, you know?

Kerry Newsome: I think you're right Kim, I think it’s about us entitling ourselves to that kind of gift isn’t? It's a self gift and a gift that we want to say. Look, we deserve this. We do deserve this and, you know, guilt free. Absolutely.

Kim La Sambolec: So even just once a year. You know, once a year, just go for a week on your own, with your girlfriends or somewhere you can just relax, and then just be pampered and just I mean, do it for me. I always like to do things I don't usually do. I tend to choose one thing, that one reason. I like to make sure that I get multiple benefits out of one decision. I feel like this skin wellness is to “treat” it like that because, you know, you're going in and you're treating your skin, you're going to look better. You're going to feel better and you're going to blow everyone away when you leave. And so, when you go home, people are going to be like, WOW,.... Yeah. People do leave with just a glow and then guess what? You've now got the tools to be able to maintain that glow because you get a full, thorough consultation with me to analyze. You know what's going on in your body. You get a treatment as well, like a clinical treatment that I have never had anyone had reactions to.

Because, you know, when you know and understand the skin to the level that I do, then you know how to treat it. So then there is no reaction. And if there is a reaction or response, I wanted to use the word reaction. Okay, there's a response within the skin. And guess what. If you want to age gracefully and for your skin to be strong, you need to do things that your skin will respond to say, for example, you go and want to build a six pack. You're not going build a six-pack sitting, lying back. Relax on the couch. You know you're going be lifting weights and jumping around for a long time and your muscles are going to hurt quite a bit, but you're guided. If you're guided by a personal trainer to then lift things correctly and move things correctly, then you're going to get the results faster. So that's the exact same thing of me, that I often refer to myself as like a skin cell trainer.

Kerry Newsome: I'm going to write that down skin cell trainer.

Kim La Sambolec: I whip yourself. I whipped your skin cells into shape.

Kerry Newsome: In three days.

Kim La Sambolec: Well, it's the start of the journey, but usually my retreat. Kerry uh, I mean, I I've only ever had two people I ran two last year and one from each group that have never actually had had exposure to my work before, But otherwise these retreats are kind of

like an upgrade to my existing clients who know my work already. And I've started on this journey of skin transformation with me already.

They used the products I've prescribed. They follow my meal plans. They do basically everything I tell them to, and they literally have the results pretty much already. And they don't want to get back to that place where it felt horrible. and so they know that with the tools that you need, like breathing and yoga and meditation and eating right that it is necessary if they want to maintain their glow. And so, if they want to continue showing their glow to the world and to themselves when they look in the mirror forever, then they've got to learn some new skills. Because isn't it the definition of insanity to, you know, do the same things over and over again, expecting a different result.

Kerry Newsome: Exactly, I think you know, if there's a place to do it that you can achieve results like you are talking about, but also get a holiday out of it, in a beautiful environment, in a country that offers the most amazing food, beautiful beaches, weather, and people. I think people is a big factor; the staff and the people that do the massages and things like that, they are just so lovely.

Kim La Sambolec: Yes, bingo,

Kerry Newsome: Bingo, Kim, I just want to say thank you for coming on the show and its been great to delve a little bit deeper to what your perspective is around wellness treats and the focus being skin for you. Really loved getting your insights.

Kim La Sambolec: Well, thank you much for having me.

bottom of page