The super trendy gurus guiding the stars to health
You’re a celebrity in need of a life overhaul — who do you turn to? One of London’s top gurus, that’s who. From Liz Hurley’s healer to Kate Moss’s yogi, meet the New Age saviours some of our best-known VIPs have on speed dial
THE HIGH-CLASS HEALER: Alla Svirinskaya
Alla Svirinskaya says: "Don't become your diagnosis. There are three people in each of my sessions: you, your problem, and me." The 34-year-old energy healer's A-list clientele includes Sarah Ferguson, who wrote the foreword to her book, Energy Secrets: The Ultimate Well-Being Plan, while Kylie Minogue has reportedly dropped in and Elizabeth Hurley and Cherie Blair are rumoured to be fans. In fact, so in demand is Moscow-born Svirinskaya that she has a seven-month waiting list for the £100-an-hour consultations at her Notting Hill studio.
What's her secret? She says she can 'sense people's energy' - a 'gift' all the women in her family inherit. "You know how blind people sense Braille? I sense with the tips of my fingers, I sense that human energy field." Healing happens in two stages.
Svirinskaya will move her hands through the air surrounding her client in order to "shift" energy fields and rebalance their "aura". She then prescribes "life changes" such as advising patients to "cleanse" their homes with bell-ringing, take up bee-keeping and detox by alternating their breathing between nostrils.
After training in medicine in Moscow, Svirinskaya was headhunted to work at London's first centre for alternative medicine, The Life Centre, in 2005. "I've got a no-nonsense approach. You won't find crystals in my studio." Nor will you find antiques, which Svirinskaya finds distracting as she can sense previous owners. Londoners, she's noticed, are most affected by stress, which impacts 'our emotional health and fertility'.
But she has noticed a shift in attitudes since she first moved here aged 23. "We listen to ourselves more. Before, we weren't asking: 'How am I feeling? Am I depressed?' It was a very English thing to just get on with it." Svirinskaya's clients who are at the top of the corporate ladder no longer measure themselves by their "yachts and jets", she says. Instead, they're more mindful about quality time with their families, and with themselves. It's not just high-fliers who can benefit from Svirinskaya's wisdom. She's bringing her healing to the public in a one-off workshop at the University of London in November. 'This is a chance for Londoners to design a bespoke aura,' she says. 'They say: "Shoes by Manolo, bag by Prada, and aura by Alla." Only bespoke auras can shine.'
THE PRIMROSE HILL SET’S YOGI: Nadia Narain
Yoga teacher Nadia Narain always sets her alarm clock half an hour fast so she can get more done. There are classes to teach, one-to-ones with private clients such as Kate Moss and Reese Witherspoon, as well as merchandising to oversee, including perfume, bags, scented candles and DVDs featuring glowing reviews from Sienna Miller and Rachel Weisz. Yet face to face over peppermint tea at her local Cowshed spa in Primrose Hill, Narain, (43) seems refreshingly down to earth.
Elfin with olive-skin and toned arms, she grew up in Hong Kong, the daughter of a South African ballet dancer and an Indian fashion buyer.
"We shopped in the markets to buy food, not supermarkets. If you were ill, you went to the acupuncturist. I've always had that alternative kind of life."
When she's not coaching actors on film sets, Narain teaches five times a week at Triyoga. Busy young urbanites flock to her Tuesday night Soho class (£16).
"It's not about doing fancy poses, but getting them to breathe, move their bodies and have a nice deep relaxation," she says. On Saturday mornings in Camden, the neighbourhood's boho mums-to-be follow in the footsteps of Sam Taylor-Johnson, Lara Stone and Jools Oliver - a regular on Narain's Instagram feed - at her pregnancy classes (£16). Narain has even taught Arsenal players the benefits of the downward dog, as attested to by a testimonial from Theo Walcott on her website.
"Maybe they don't 'om' at the end, but they learn how to breathe and relax their bodies," she says.
She has also seen clients through marriage, divorce and bereavement. "People send me emails about all kinds of personal things and I think it's my responsibility as a yoga teacher to try and support them the best I can," she says.
"Famous or not, rich or poor, if your child is sick, your husband leaves or your mum dies, everyone suffers in the same way."
She believes yoga can provide emotional resilience: "A little bit every day is like putting savings in the bank, so when stuff happens, you have a little bit more to support you."
THE MEDITATION MOGUL: Sandy C Newbigging
Mind coach Sandy C says: "This is where life is happening, right here, right now." We are in a café at the bottom of Sadie Frost's road, in Belsize Park.
Frost, who attended his retreat in Bodrum, Turkey, for her 50th - and raved about it on Instagram - now has him come to her home, which is where Newbigging has been known to treat Liv Tyler.
How often he sees a client depends on if they have a particular issue to "fire-fight".
"With Liv, when we first met, it was every day for a week because we were working through something," he says. "Whereas with Sadie, it's once-a-month maintenance."
Nearly three quarters of his clients are women. He offers a standard package of four 60 to 90-minute Skype sessions, over the course of six weeks, for £995.
The boyish 37-year-old believes we all spend too much time in our heads. Meditation is the remedy, but too many of us are daunted by the thought of having to empty our minds to do it. This is where Newbigging's "modern meditation" methods come in.
He tells me to focus on an object in front of me and then become aware of my peripheral vision. This is what he calls "GAAWO" - "gently alert with awareness wide open". "What are you thinking?" he asks. "Nothing," I reply. "Exactly."
I am now to focus on a body part while imagining an accompanying 'om' and a positive intention.
In his book Mind Calm, Newbigging has mapped the body with 10 intentions. Each part of the body is assigned a relevant "om" word, so the forehead is "om clarity", the heart is "om love", the navel is "om joy". Doing all 10 only takes 15 minutes or so - the Newbigging masterstroke.
Newbigging overcame bullying and dyslexia to take a degree in international management before getting together, romantically and professionally, with the nutritionist Amanda Hamilton with whom he wrote the book, Life Detox.
"I went from being in debt, single, and feeling I wasn't achieving anything with my life to earning more money than I ever imagined," he says. But he wasn't happy.
When his relationship with Hamilton broke down, he enrolled on a six month meditation course in Greece and Mexico. He emerged a qualified monk.
Does he ever get stressed? "Just because I meditate doesn't mean I'm never stressed, I just let go of it quicker."
THE ACUPUNCTURE ACE: Gerad Kite
Gerad Kite tells me: "Yourself and myself are the same self." I'm nodding, practically hypnotised by his deep voice and unflinching stare, until I realise what he's saying.
"Hang on, no we're not!" But then Kite, who divides his time between his London HQ and training academy near Montpellier in France, is nothing short of a human whisperer - meeting him, even the harshest cynic will be laid bare. As he explains why he and I are one - something to do with Daoism and the universality of love - I begin to understand why celebrities from Chris Evans to Kate Winslet to Radiohead's Ed O'Brien are in his thrall.
Kite's clients tend to be high-powered and over-busy. He also claims to have helped women struggling to get pregnant, as outlined in his book, The Art of Baby-Making - The Holistic Approach to Fertility. Clients wait up to six weeks for an appointment (£295 for an initial session, and £195 after that).
An expert in the ancient practice of Five Element acupuncture, he claims he can detect which element - earth, fire, water, metal or wood - is off-kilter by sniffing it out.
"Part of an acupuncturist's training is to develop a heightened sense of smell," he says. "When someone is left alone in a room and you re-enter it, the odour will have filled the room. For example, someone with an imbalance in the wood element will emit a 'rancid' odour." Along with your smell, Kite assesses the skin colour around your temples, and your general demeanour. He then applies acupuncture needles accordingly.
Through treating the great and the good, from Mel C, Fearne Cotton and Will Young to a Labour peer, Kite exerts a quiet influence on public life. He says one client, Greg James, presenter of Radio 1 Drivetime, talks more authentically to his 11 million-strong audience thanks to him. And politicians "come back to themselves and develop policy from that place".
Now 55, he credits his twenty-something wilderness years in pre-dotcom San Francisco with setting him on the road to enlightenment. His celebrity client base grew organically. "Famous people hang out together so once they trust you, they will refer each other," he says.