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How routine wellness rituals can change your life

We chat with iKOU founder Naomi Whitfeld about the life-changing power of wellness rituals.

Born from a quest for healing and wellness for the skin, mind and body as a whole, what is the story behind iKOU?

iKOU is based on everything we love and believe in for our own wellbeing — the things that have made our own lives healthier and happier.
The inspiration for iKOU is two-part: the first part is based on our own wellness journey, and the second on our personal love of global spa traditions, home spa rituals and travel!

My partner (in life and work) Paul and I met young — I was 18, Paul was 23. We were both eczema sufferers when we met, mine on my face since I was 11, Paul’s on his body his whole life. Our wellness journey started as a quest to heal our own skin. For more than a decade we tried everything, from specialist doctors, to diet, to “miracle solutions”, but nothing worked for us permanently. We found switching to natural and organic products that were nourishing and protective really helped, but the condition always came back — quite noticeably in times of stress.

Finally on a holiday in Ubud, Bali, we discovered the last missing piece for us. We had just experienced a relaxing outdoor day spa treatment that ended in a three-tiered flower petal bath overlooking the Campuan Gorge.

We asked ourselves, “Why is it that when we are on holidays we take time to care for ourselves, but when we get home we say we don’t have time?”
It was that moment that changed our lives forever. I reawakened my teenage love for sensory experiences, home spa and intuitive aromatherapy. We began combining rituals of rest and relaxation with pure, natural and organic ingredients. We discovered ways to break the cycle of stress not only for our skin, but also for our minds. This led to a passion for spa travel — extensively throughout Asia in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Ayurvedic regions such as Sri Lanka. Everywhere we went, I absorbed the local cuisine and spa and wellness traditions, products and techniques.
Several years later, we were inspired to create iKOU — sharing the message of “rest, relax and restore”, (which is the meaning of the iKOU name) and our love of this wonderful world of spa rituals and wellbeing with the world.

Please share a bit of information about iKOU products and services.

iKOU is a complete spa and wellness lifestyle brand — we’re not just a product house, we are a way of living. Our ranges cover everything from organic skincare, bath and body products, essential oils and herbal teas to natural wax candles.

We design our ranges in “Rituals”, created to bridge the gap between how you are feeling and how you would like to feel. We have rituals to de-stress, to boost energy, get a better night’s sleep or connect with your soft, feminine side. Our philosophy is that you receive the best results when you treat skin, mind and body as a whole. We’ve made these rituals accessible to incorporate into everyday life. You can even take a “Ritual Quiz” on our website to find your perfect ritual to balance your needs!

Why are wellness rituals so healing?

Rituals are consistent patterns. They are conscious and intentional.

Wellness rituals, to me, mean the regular things we do — the daily patterns that nourish our mind, body and soul. These incorporate food, gratitude, movement, rest and relaxation. Our bodies are designed to heal themselves, and wellness rituals support every part of our body, giving it what it needs to function optimally.

iKOU products feature organic and wild-harvested Australian-grown ingredients that are ethically harvested to maintain potency and sustainability. Why are these qualities so important?

The quality of the ingredients used in our skincare is one of the main reasons you see results so quickly when you start using our products.
Australia has one of the harshest environments on the planet, and the phytonutrients derived from our Australian fruits and flowers have remarkable protective and healing benefits. I love wild-harvested ingredients because they are the purest ingredients you can get.
We work with amazing natural chemists who extract the ingredients without using any heat, so all the vitamins and active components of the plant remain potent and pure.

You could actually say iKOU is the “raw food movement” for skincare!

Running our business in the World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains means the environment is important to us. We offset our production with solar and wind power. We also use eco-ethical practice with harvesting by indigenous communities to ensure sustainability.

Please share a bit of information about your beautiful book.

I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to write and publish a book called iKOU — Energise Your Life. I love writing, and I was inspired to share the full story behind our journey, which is actually three books in one — part biography, part wellness tools and there’s even a whole section with nourishing recipes and meal planning for busy people!

It covers how we built our brand from our Blue Mountains kitchen in 2007 to the international brand it is today, and the life tools I’ve learned along the way to destress and make the most of every precious day of life, no matter what happens. I’ve kept it very real and relatable, sharing things openly about my own highs and lows in life and the things that have helped keep me on track with feeling great. There are so many things in life that drain our energy — stress and the pace of life particularly.

My hope in sharing my book is to inspire others in their own wellness journey, and to remind everyone that every positive step you take in caring for your wellbeing is a step in the right direction. The power of wellbeing rituals truly is life-changing!

Discover the range of iKOU products and more in-store at Blue Mountains, Sydney, Byron Bay and online at iKOU.com.au.

WellBeing Team

WellBeing Team

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